Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Obama’s Harvard Years: Questions Swirl
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 6:11
PM By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
How exactly did Barack Obama pay for his Harvard Law School education?
The way the Obama campaign has answered the question was simply hard work and student loans.
But new questions have been raised about Obama’s student loans and Obama’s ties to a radical Muslim activist who reportedly was raising money for Obama’s Harvard studies during the years 1988 to 1991.
The allegations first surfaced in late March, when former Manhattan Borough president Percy Sutton told a New York cable channel that a former business partner who was “raising money” for Obama had approached him in 1988 to help Obama get into Harvard Law School.
In the interview, Sutton says he first heard of Obama about twenty years ago from Khalid Al-Mansour, a Black Muslim and Black Nationalist who was a “mentor” to the founders of the Black Panther party at the time the party was founded in the early 1960s. Sutton described al-Mansour as advisor to “one of the world’s richest men,” Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
Prince Alwaleed catapulted to fame in the United States after the September 11 attacks, when New York mayor Rudy Guiliani refused his $10 million check to help rebuild Manhattan, because the Saudi prince hinted publicly that America’s pro-Israel policies were to blame for the attacks.
Sutton knew Al-Mansour well, since the two men had been business partners and served on several corporate boards together. As Sutton remembered, Al-Mansour was raising money for Obama’s education and seeking recommendations for him to attend Harvard Law School.
“I was introduced to (Obama) by a friend who was raising money for him,” Sutton told NY1 city hall reporter Dominic Carter. “The friend’s name is Dr. Khalid al-Mansour, from Texas.”
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt told Newsmax that Sutton’s account was “bogus” and a “fabrication that has been retracted” by a spokesman for the Sutton family.
He referred Newsmax to a pro-Obama blog published on Politico.com by reporter Ben Smith.
In a September 3 blog entry, Smith wrote that “a spokesman for Sutton’s family, Kevin Wardally” said that Sutton had been mistaken when he made those comments about Obama and Khalid Al-Mansour.
Smith suggested the retraction “put the [Obama/Al-Mansour] story to rest for good.”
Wardally told Smith that the “information Mr. Percy Sutton imported [sic] on March 25 in a NY1 News interview regarding his connection to Barack Obama is inaccurate. As best as our family and the Chairman’s closest friends can tell, Mr. Sutton, now 86 years of age, misspoke in describing certain details and events in that television interview.”
Asked which parts of Percy Sutton’s statements were a “fabrication,” LaBolt said “all of it. Al Mansour doesn’t know Obama. And Sutton’s spokesman retracted the story. The letter [to Harvard, which Percy Sutton says he wrote on behalf of Obama], the ‘payments for loans’ — all of it, not true,” he added.
Newsmax contacted the Sutton family and they categorically denied Wardally’s claims to Smith and the Politico.com.
So there was no retraction of Sutton’s original interview, during which he revealed that Khalid Al-Mansour was “raising money” for Obama and had asked Sutton to write a letter of recommendation for Obama to help him get accepted at Harvard Law School.
Sutton’s personal assistant told Newsmax that neither Mr. Sutton or his family had ever heard of Kevin Wardally. ”Who is this person?” asked Sutton’s assistant, Karen Malone.
When told that he portrayed himself as a “spokesman” for the family, Malone told Newsmax, “Well, he’s not.”
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