It is a claim the president has repeated in his books, on the speech-making circuit and in countless media interviews. By his account, he grew up in a broken home with a single mom, struggled for years as a child in an impoverished Third World country and then was raised by his grandparents in difficult circumstances.
The facts aren't nearly so clear-cut.
In 1971, his mother sent young Obama back to Hawaii, where his grandmother, Madelyn, known as Toots, would become one of the first female vice presidents of a Honolulu bank. His grandfather was in sales.
Obama's grandparents moved the same year into Punahou Circle Apartments, a sleek new 10-story apartment building just five blocks from the private Punahou School, which Obama would attend from 1971 to 1979.
Obama explains in "Dreams from My Father" that his admission to Punahou began "the start of something grand, an elevation in the family status that they took great pains to let everyone know."
To his credit, Obama did not downplay Punahou's upscale status, noting in his autobiography that it "had grown into a prestigious prep school, an incubator for island elites. Its reputation had helped sway my mother in her decision to send me back to the States."
Obama also admitted in the book that his grandfather pulled strings to get him into the school. "There was a long waiting list, and I was considered only because of the intervention of Gramps's boss, who was an alumnus."
In his recent book "Barack Obama: The Story," Washington Post reporter David Maraniss said the future chief executive often smoked marijuana with prep school friends, rolling up the car windows to seek "total absorption," or "TA." They called themselves the "Choom Gang."
Edward Shanahan, a retired newspaper journalist who now edits downstreet.net and makes no effort to conceal his admiration for Obama, retraced his Hawaii years shortly after the president was elected.
Shanahan wrote that Obama lived in a "well-off neighborhood near the University of Hawaii where Barry, as he was known, resided in a comfortable home with his mother and her parents before she took him to Indonesia."
Sanahan said "our tour ended up on the lush, exquisitely maintained and altogether inviting campus of Punahou School, which we can imagine was a place of great comfort for Obama."
Tellingly, Obama has never lived in a black neighborhood. ... Reporting for this special report by Richard Pollock, Examiner staff writer.
Next: Chapter II: The myth of the rock-star professor
The cult of personality is all Obama and his campaign is living off of. That, and every kind of attack possible against Romney, Ryan and anyone who disagrees with Obama or his policies as president. A telling bit from the Examiner story is this:
"In Indonesia, the family's circumstances improved dramatically. According to Obama in his autobiography "Dreams from My Father," Lolo's brother-in-law was "making millions as a high official in the national oil company." It was through this brother-in-law that Obama's stepfather got a coveted job as a government relations officer with the Union Oil Co. "
It is no surprise to me, but to Obama supporters, or any who oppose conservative views, this has got to be a shock. Those who see, by virtue of the evidence, Obama to be the ultra-Progressive, Constitution-marginalizing, far left change agent that he engages the worlds as, this is useful information. Calmly, sincerely remind those who think Obama is from simple roots, and meager means that he isn't, and since they ought to wonder why he was portrayed as such by his own wife, tell them why: he is not a leader for all, but a leader for change we don't need. And he'll mislead anyone he can to achieve the ends of hard ideologues such as himself. Such as his father.