As the media turns over every rock in the past of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, there has been shockingly little vetting of Barack Obama’s background.
Although candidates should not be judged solely by their behavior as adolescents, an examination of their overall past is fair and important, especially as we pick our next president. And former schoolmates can help provide character clues, such as the former Obama schoolmate who told Newsmax that she is surprised he is running for president.
“I remember he didn’t hang out with a group I thought was the right group to hang out with,” said the woman who attended Punahou High School in Honolulu with Obama. “It was the group known as the Bingham benches, the druggies’ group.”
Obama has admitted taking drugs in high school, but the fact that he kept company with others who were known to take drugs has not been reported previously. That appears to be part of a pattern of associating with questionable people, raising questions about his character and judgment. Among those people are William Ayers, who has admitted bombing buildings; convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko; and the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whom Obama considered his mentor and who gave an award for lifetime achievement to Louis Farrakhan.
“I would say Obama didn’t show great character about choosing who he hung out with,” said the former schoolmate, who did not want to be quoted by name. “I think he behaved well and wasn’t getting into trouble, but he didn’t seem to hang out with the right people.”
The “druggie” group was called the Bingham benches because they tended to congregate around benches at a hall at the prep school named for the Rev. Hiram Bingham, the first Christian missionary in Hawaii.
“There were probably 15 or 20 in the group,” she said. “I hung out with theater people. He hung out with the Bingham benches, which were the ones that were more known as smoking dope.”