Before the Obama people start jumping up and down screaming that this is just another “unfounded attack”, let me remind them that it was none other than Obama himself who injected the issue of drug use into this campaign. As an aspiring, young politician, Obama openly admitted his drug use in his 1995 book, “Dreams From My Father.” "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though,” he wrote. He talks about “smoking reefer” in “the dorm room of some brother” and “getting high.” As a candidate for the state legislature or the U.S. Senate in Illinois, Obama didn’t have to answer questions about his past drug use according to Sun-Times political columnist Lynn Sweet. As a candidate for president, Obama has answered few questions about his past drug use.
“Mr. Obama, of Illinois, has never quantified his illicit drug use or provided many details,” wrote the New York Times’ Serge Kovaleski earlier this year. Kovaleski endeavored in a February 11 feature story in the Times to learn more about Obama’s past drug use by interviewing more than three dozen classmates and acquaintances of Obama’s from high school and college. Obama’s account of his drug use in his book differed significantly from the recollection of others Kovaleski interviewed. They couldn’t recall drug use by Obama. “That could suggest he was so private about his usage that few people were aware of it, that the memories of those who knew him decades ago are fuzzy or rosier out of a desire to protect him, or that he added some writerly touches in his memoir to make the challenges he overcame seem more dramatic,” Kovaleski concluded.
While the memories of Obama’s school chums may be a little fuzzy or rosy after all these years as Kovaleski suggests, a 46-year-old Duluth, Minnesota man says he has a very vivid memory of a chance encounter he had with Obama during a trip to Chicago nine years ago. Lawrence "Larry" Sinclair, shown in the photo above taken during his memorable Chicago trip, paints a picture of Obama using drugs and having sex with men on the “down low” after he entered politics. The New York Times interviewed Larry Sinclair at length about his encounter with Obama during the 1990s but has not reported on his allegations since its February 11 story, which essentially left readers to believe Obama may have been exaggerating the extent of his past drug use in his 1995 book.
In a YouTube video clip released earlier this year, Larry Sinclair recounts how he was introduced to Obama by a limousine driver for Five Star Limousine Service while he was visiting the Chicago area to attend a graduation ceremony for his god son from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center on November 6, 1999. After sharing drinks with Obama in a Rush Street neighborhood bar for about an hour, Sinclair says he told Obama he “could really use a couple of lines [of cocaine] to wake up", Obama offered to get some cocaine for him. According to Sinclair, Obama made a quick cell phone call, the two returned to Sinclair’s limousine, and the driver drove to another location at Obama’s instruction. Obama left the car with $250 cash he requested from Sinclair and returned to the limo five minutes later Sinclair said. Obama next handed Sinclair a packet containing the white powder. Sinclair then goes on to describe how he snorted cocaine while Obama smoked it using a glass cylinder he pulled from his pocket. Adding to the sensationalistic nature of his story, Sinclair claims Obama lowered his pants and allowed Sinclair to perform oral sex on him. After Sinclair’s limo driver dropped him off at his Gurnee, Illinois hotel that evening, Sinclair claims Obama returned to his hotel once during his short trip unexpectedly. Sinclair says he again performed oral sex on Obama. And Sinclair has recovered hotel records confirming his stay at the hotel on the dates in question.
Although Obama had identified himself to Sinclair as being involved in public service, Sinclair says Obama didn’t disclose to him that he was a state senator at the time of his encounter. Sinclair says he discovered Obama’s political position after seeing him on TV delivering a speech at the 2004 Democratic convention as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, a widely applauded appearance which propelled Obama’s eventual run for president this year. Sinclair says he began contacting Obama’s Chicago campaign office in September, 2007, leaving messages with campaign advisors, including David Axelrod. Sinclair insists his story is not about money. He says his messages urged Obama to come clean and tell the truth about his drug use with him. Voters have been left with the impression that Obama’s drug use was confined to his earlier years. Sinclair wants Obama to acknowledge his drug use with him in the late 1990s after he became a practicing attorney in Illinois and after his election to the Illinois Senate.
After Obama’s campaign ignored his messages and attempts he made to contact the media about his story went unanswered, Sinclair finally got the attention of some in the media after he self-produced a video which he uploaded to YouTube on January 18, 2008. The video clip has been viewed more than 777,000 times over the last 75 days. At the end of February, Sinclair started his own blog to tell his story and respond to critics. A meter on the blog registers more than 136,000 hits over the past month. Sinclair has also gotten the attention of the mainstream media. In addition to the NY Times, Sinclair has given lengthy interviews to the New York Post and the Chicago Tribune. Sinclair says he even provided personal medical records to the Tribune at their request. Still, nobody will touch the story, although a number of interviews with Sinclair have aired on talk radio, including Bill Cunningham and The Right Perspective.
To be sure, Sinclair has had many problems in his life which are enough to give any serious investigative reporter pause. He had a troubled childhood and admits to running away from home. He’s used drugs. He’s trafficked in drugs. He has a criminal record. He changed his legal name three times. He has a host of medical problems too lengthy to discuss here which have rendered him disabled. And if that isn’t enough, Sinclair consented to a polygraph examination offered by Whitehouse.com in consideration for $20,000. The reported results didn’t help Sinclair’s cause with inconclusive results or deception indicated, depending on whose interpretation you choose to rely. Given the sheer weight of his baggage, it would be easy enough for the Obama campaign simply to ignore Sinclair’s existence. But it has not, at least according to Sinclair.
Sinclair complains in a defamation lawsuit he filed in the federal district court in the District of Columbia that several anonymous bloggers set out in a series of posts after his YouTube video clip appeared to discredit him by accusing him of fabricating his entire story about his sex and drug romp with Obama, claiming Sinclair was in a mental institution at the time he claims his encounter with Obama occurred in 1999. Sinclair’s lawsuit was filed by Blair Sibley, a controversial attorney who also represents Deborah Jean Palfrey, the D.C. Madam, against federal racketeering charges arising out of a prostitution business she allegedly ran.
Court documents show that Sibley filed a motion with District Court Judge Henry Kennedy, a Clinton appointee, on March 13 to initiate discovery to learn the identities of three anonymous bloggers who allegedly posted defamatory comments about Sinclair at YouTube, Democraticunderground.com and Digg.com. Sinclair believes the attacks on him are being orchestrated by persons acting on behalf of Obama. Judge Kennedy has not yet acted on Sibley’s motion. A self-identified Obama supporter, Paul Tarlow, has also registered the domain name, larrysinclair.com. This is the same tactic blogger and Indiana Democratic Party spokesperson Jen Wagner recently deployed against Republican 7th district congressional candidate Jon Elrod.
The “nuts and sluts” defense against Sinclair’s claims are not unexpected. Political operatives for Bill Clinton used such tactics very effectively against sexual claims made by Jennifer Flowers and Paula Jones in the early going. As Clinton political advisor James Carville was fond of saying, “Drag $100 through a trailer park and there’s no telling what you’ll find.” Admittedly, neither Flowers nor Jones appeared credible at first. After a brief media frenzy early in the 1992 presidential primary season, concerns about Clinton’s womanizing faded away as an issue. After the Monica Lewinsky scandal erupted in Clinton’s second term, which resulted in his impeachment by the House of Representatives and his eventual acquittal in the Senate, the American public finally learned that the claims by Flowers, Jones, et al were largely true, but only after Clinton perjured himself while testifying. An acquittal in the Senate, however, didn’t save him from the loss of his license to practice law for that transgression.
In early January, the Hillary Clinton campaign tried unsuccessfully to focus attention on Obama’s past drug use. The co-chair of Clinton’s campaign, Bill Shaheen, warned that Republicans would have a field day with Obama’s past drug use. In an interview with the Washington Post, Shaheen was quoted as saying: "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" he said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome." Sen. Clinton later apologized to Obama for Shaheen’s statements and accepted his resignation from her campaign after his comments were negatively received in Democratic circles. Sinclair, for his part, denies working on behalf or with the assistance of either the Clinton campaign or Republicans.
Obama, himself, owes his own political success to public inquiry into his political opponent’s personal sex lives. When he ran for the Senate in 2004, his leading Democratic rival, Blair Hull, saw his campaign unravel when David Axelrod and Obama succeeded in getting the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times to report on the contents of previously sealed divorce records of Hull's, which recounted incidents of domestic violence by Hull during his former marriage. A short time later, at the instigation of the Chicago Tribune, divorce records for Obama’s Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, became fodder for public consumption, sinking his campaign to the point where he was forced to drop out of the race. The Tribune, coincidentally, is the former employer of David Axelrod. Obama wasn’t heard to complain about the media delving into the personal lives of his opponents for a much lesser important office than president of the United States. Instead, he was encouraging it. If the Chicago Tribune thought the voters of Illinois should know all about the sex lives of Blair Hull and Jack Ryan, then it should be equally concerned that voters know all there is to know about Obama’s past drug use. Why isn’t it?
There is also a late-developing twist in Larry Sinclair’s story. Sinclair claims that he believes Donald Young, a gay choir director at Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ for nearly 20 years, is a man who initiated several telephone calls to him late last year prior to the airing of Sinclair’s video on the Internet. Sinclair does not know how Young learned of Sinclair’s identity or his telephone number, but he notes he had given several phone numbers to Obama's campaign. Sinclair reveals that during those telephone conversations a man identifying himself as Mr. Young revealed to him he had an intimate, personal relationship with Obama. He says Young told him that Obama was concerned about whether Sinclair had publicly disclosed their sexual encounter. According to Sinclair's account, Young had told him Obama had talked to his minister and planned to publicly address his past drug use. Sinclair says he didn’t learn until weeks ago that Young was found murdered in his south side Chicago apartment on December 23, 2007. Chicago’s gay community expressed concern that Young’s death was just another in a string of hate crime killings being committed against gays in Chicago. The case remains unsolved, although limited press accounts of Young’s murder suggested robbery as a possible motive. Young has detailed his telephone contacts with Young in an affidavit addressed to Chicago Police.
It all sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It’s about as crazy as Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broderick and Monica Lewinsky. If the New York Times can devote a lengthy, front-page story in late February discussing Sen. John McCain’s supposed romantic link to a female D.C. lobbyist based on innuendo and speculation by anonymous sources, surely it can find some column space to get to the bottom of the Larry Sinclair story. To many, it no doubt seems unlikely that the Harvard graduate, attorney and state senator, Obama, would be hanging with someone like Larry Sinclair. Some people in Illinois are asking why Obama would have kept such close company with political fixer Tony Rezko, who is currently on trial for corrupt influence peddling involving the Illinois governor's office. Rezko, who raised nearly $250,000 for Obama's past campaigns, helped Obama out in the purchase of an adjoinig lot for his south side Chicago mansion in 2006 after it had been publicly revealed that Rezko was under investigation by federal prosecutors. Interestingly, the prosecution's star witness to date has been sleazebag extraordinaire Stuart Levine, a political associate of Rezko. He explained to jurors yesterday how he regularly hosted all-night drug parties in Springfield and Chicago.