Just How 'Candid' Was Obama's Autobiography?

In his Tuesday pre-State of the Union column, "Pushing the Presidential Message Into the Broadband Age," Matt Bai compared President Obama to that other heroic liberal president and master of a new medium John F. Kennedy, and described Obama as "probably the most talented writer" of the television age.

Mr. Obama is probably the most talented writer to occupy the office in the television age; his political career was made possible, in large part, by the candid memoir he wrote as a younger man. So it is hard to understand why he hasn't tried to use that talent the way Kennedy capitalized on his personal charm.

But Obama's (first!) autobiography, the 1995 "Dreams from My Father," (the subject of unreserved praise in the Times) was not wholly "candid" in the sense of being factual.

In his book on Obama, "The Bridge," journalist David Remnick described Obama's 1995 memoir as "a mixture of verifiable fact, recollection, recreation, invention and artful shaping."

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