Classmate: Obama Sr. Was Soviet Symp

'Viewed communism as a savior'

A former classmate of President Barack Obama’s father claims that as a student, the Presidential sire viewed the Soviet Union as a "liberating force."

The recollections of Naranhkiri Tith are published in Barack Obama: The Story, a new biography by Washington Post reporter David Maraniss released today.

Tith, the son of a former Cambodian Prime Minister, was a close friend of Barack Obama Sr. in the early 1960s, when as classmates the two carried on what Maraniss describes as "a debating road show on communism."

Tith tells Maraniss, "I never was a rightist person, but I definitely did not believe in any kind of too-strong propaganda, so that saved me from the communist movement." Maraniss goes on:

On the other hand, BARE-ick, as he called Obama, seemed taken by the anticolonialist stance of the Soviet Bloc and ‘saw it as a liberating force.’

Tith tells Maraniss he does not "think [Obama Sr.] ever belonged to the Communist Party, but he definitely had a hopeful view of communism….And we shouldn’t forget that he was a minority Luo in Kenya, so he felt a double fight, also with the Kikuyu. It was double jeopardy for him. In any case he felt oppressed twice over."

President Obama’s father was born in Kenya.

Tith explains Obama’s communist sympathies as a product of the continued British colonization of Kenya. Because Cambodia had achieved independence a decade earlier in 1953, Tith says he "did not feel that kind of pressing issue [Obama Sr.] still felt."

"So therefore [Obama Sr.] viewed communism as a savior," Tith tells Maraniss, "whereas my view of communism was totally the opposite of what his was."