NEW YORK (Reuters) - The author who put Democratic Sen. John Kerry on the defensive over his military record during his 2004 presidential run has turned his attention to 2008 White House hopeful Barack Obama with a new bestseller.
“The Obama Nation” tops The New York Times bestseller list amid accusations that some of author Jerome Corsi’s assertions are lies designed to damage Obama politically.
Corsi co-wrote “Unfit for Command,” which questioned accounts of an attack on Kerry’s boat during the Vietnam War, and his actions in the subsequent skirmish for which he received a Silver Star medal. The book sparked a political attack on Kerry.
In “The Obama Nation,” which Corsi says is a play on the word abomination, the author questions whether Obama could still be using marijuana and cocaine and insinuates Obama is Muslim despite the candidate’s insistence he is a Christian.
Obama’s campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement the book is nothing more than “a series of lies that were long ago discredited.”
“The reality is that there are many lie-filled books like this in the works, cobbled together from the Internet to make money off of a presidential campaign. We will respond to these smears forcefully with all means necessary,” Vietor said.
Corsi told Reuters “The Obama Nation” is his bid to stop the Democratic senator from winning the White House on November 4. But he insists he does not support Republican candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain and instead backs the Constitution Party.
“I have pointed out many lies,” Corsi said. “I’m saying there’s been this fictionalized ... life story put out by Obama in his autobiography that has been magnified ... during the campaign and the truth is dramatically different in many instances from what Obama represents.”
‘RIFE WITH INACCURACIES’ - PAPER
The Independent newspaper said the book “smells like a Republican hit job,” while the Washington Post said it “is rife with inaccuracies and innuendo.”
“If the fundamental smear of ‘Unfit for Command’ was that John Kerry was no war hero, the insinuation of Mr. Corsi’s latest is that Mr. Obama is a closet Muslim and militant, black activist drug-user,” the Post said in an editorial on Friday.
Brian Darling, director of Senate Relations at Washington conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, said Corsi’s book serves an important role in helping educate the American people about Obama.
“It will spur debate and I think Sen. Obama should get used to a very critical examination of his history and his tenure in the (U.S.) Senate ... the same thing is also going to happen to Sen. McCain,” Darling said.
Media Matters, a nonprofit Web site run by former conservative journalist David Brock, has deemed Corsi’s book “unfit for publication.”
“Just as ‘Unfit for Command’ contains false attacks on Sen. John Kerry’s military service ... ‘The Obama Nation’ similarly contains numerous falsehoods about Sen. Barack Obama,” the group wrote on its Web site, www.mediamatters.org, where it lists inaccuracies in the book.
The New York Times reported that “several of the book’s accusations are unsubstantiated, misleading or inaccurate,” including claims that Obama had “yet to answer” whether he had stopped using marijuana and cocaine.
In his memoir, Obama said he “stopped getting high” in the early 1980s.
“The Obama Nation” is published by Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions, which is run by Mary Matalin, a former aide to Republican President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The New York Times has pointed out on its bestseller list that “The Obama Nation” has been a popular bulk buy. Some Obama defenders have questioned whether conservative groups bought it in bulk to inflate sales — a claim Corsi denies.