Last week, just before Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) big speech, Tim Cavanaugh and I attended a small fundraiser for Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee Wayne Allyn Root. The chatty Vegas sports bettor, memorably profiled by David Weigel two months back, was in a mind to talk about a fellow classmate of his at Columbia University back in the early 1980s, a guy by the name of Barack Obama.
Root is no fan of the Democratic nominee: "A vote for Obama is four years of Karl Marx, and no one should be happy about that," he told us and a few genial young libertarian activists over cocktails. "He's a communist! I don't care what anybody says. The guy's a communist.... And his mother was a card-carrying communist, and he says she's the most important person in his entire life; he learned everything from her."
But the thing Root really wanted to talk about was Obama's grades. Specifically, he was willing to bet a million dollars that he earned a better grade point average at Columbia than his old classmate, and that the only reason Obama went on to Harvard Law School was the color of his skin.
Some excerpts from the conversation:
Matt Welch: So tell us what we should know about Barack Obama that we don't?
Wayne Allyn Root: I think the most dangerous thing you should know about Barack Obama is that I don't know a single person at Columbia that knows him, and they all know me. I don't have a classmate who ever knew Barack Obama at Columbia. Ever!
Welch: Yeah, but you were like selling, you know, Amway in college or something, weren't you?
Root: Is that what you think of me! And the best damned Amway salesman ever!
Welch: No, I'm sure that you were an outgoing young man, I'm just guessing.
Root: I am! That's my point. Where was Obama? He wasn't an outgoing young man, no one ever heard of him.
Tim Cavanaugh: Maybe he was a late bloomer.
Root: Maybe. Or maybe he was involved in some sort of black radical politics.
Root: Maybe he was too busy smoking pot in his dorm room to ever show up for class. I don't know what he was doing!
Welch: Wait, you weren't smoking pot in your dorm room?