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Originally published Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Conservative authors attack Obama

Two hot-selling conservative books slam Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Two hot-selling conservative books slam Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

"The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality" collects false rumors and distortions to portray Obama as a sort of secret radical who can't be trusted.

The other book rejects such attacks and instead focuses on Obama's record in office, albeit with some errors.

"The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate" argues he's an inexperienced "stealth liberal" who has done little to stand up against government corruption, not a different sort of politician.

Neither book alleges any major scandal in Obama's record, but both books try to smear Obama for his associates: his former minister, a 1960s radical, a corrupt businessman, a friend of his grandfather's who may have been a communist.

"Obama is not a Marxist or a radical. ... Yet it is clear that radicals have influenced his judgment," David Freddoso, a reporter for National Review Online, writes in "The Case Against Barack Obama."

Obama's campaign says the books distort the candidate's record and life story. And it notes that Jerome Corsi, author of "The Obama Nation," has a record of making offensive comments about the pope, Muslims and Democratic politicians, as well as promoting fringe theories about plots to merge the United States, Canada and Mexico into one country.

"These books are cut from the same cloth, made up of the same old debunked smears that have been floating around the Internet for months," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

The Obama camp responded especially aggressively to Corsi's book, releasing on Thursday a 41-page, point-by-point rebuttal of the key charges, titled "Unfit for Publication."

Four years ago, Corsi co-wrote with John O'Neill, co-founder of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the book "Unfit for Command," which raised questions about Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military record.

Corsi, who earned a doctorate from Harvard University in political science, has said he plans to vote this year for Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party's presidential candidate.

The Obama campaign says conservative groups and talk radio are promoting the books heavily, inflating their sales by buying them in bulk.

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The New York Times ranking of sales includes a note that some booksellers report getting bulk orders for "Obama Nation," which sits atop the Times' hardcover nonfiction best-seller list.

"The Obama Nation" is No. 12 on USA Today's list and No. 3 in sales on Amazon.com.

"The Case Against Barack Obama" is No. 47 on USA Today and No. 12 at Amazon.

Distortions and false rumors about Obama have circulated again and again on the Internet, prompting Obama to launch www.fightthesmears.com, a Web site that fights back. Most of those rumors show up in Corsi's "The Obama Nation."

Corsi wrongly writes that Obama received extensive Muslim education as a boy, for instance.

"The Obama Nation" emphasizes race and suggests Obama, whose father was black and mother was white, is full of anger that could boil over. "Obama wants to will all the white blood out of himself so he can become pure black," Corsi claims.

Obama's campaign calls Corsi "a discredited, fringe bigot."

"The Case Against Barack Obama" concludes that Obama's record in Illinois and Washington is that of a liberal Democrat but one so unknown that he could create an undeserved reputation as a bipartisan reformer.

Freddoso also lists the misdeeds of Illinois politicians such as Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and scolds Obama for not standing up to them.

Material from McClatchy Newspapers is included in this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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