By Douglas J. Hagmann

If you watch and listen carefully to the 20-minute, 14 April 2011 interview of Barack Hussein Obama by George Stephanopoulos, you will notice something very telling that takes place during that interview when the discussion shifts to the issue of Donald Trump and ultimately, the “birther conspiracy.” Veteran investigators who are experienced in interviewing and interrogating suspects, witnesses, criminals, and non-criminals have undoubtedly identified numerous big red flags of deception precisely when expected, and in textbook fashion. To observe this in action, begin watching the video at about the 13:25 minute mark, when Stephanopoulos lobs the following softball, leading question to Obama and receives his answer[ii]:

George Stephanopoulos: I wonder how you size up your potential opponents?  I mean all of us have been struck by Donald Trump rising to the top of the Republican field by feeding fantasies about your background.  What do you make of that?

First, note that Stephanopoulos sets a friendly tone for easy rebuttal by Obama to anyone believing that anything might be amiss with regard to Obama’s eligibility. He asks a leading question that automatically suggests that any reference to the “birther issue” as raised by Donald Trump is a “fantasy.” Accordingly, Obama should be able to handle the question without any obvious stress or difficulty. But here’s exactly where the difficult-to-control verbal and non-verbal clues of deception take over. First, read his response:

President Obama: Well you know, I think that over the last two and a half years there’s been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans.  But creates, I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii.  (LAUGHS) He—he doesn’t have horns.  We may disagree with him on some issues and we may wish that you know, the unemployment rate was coming down faster and we want him to know his plan on gas prices.  But we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or—or birth certificates.  And so—I—I think it presents a problem for them.  But, look I right now have such a big day job that I am not yet focused on what’s happening on the other side.  There’ll be a time where I’m—I’m very focused on it. [emphasis added]

Verbal deception indicator 1

In this answer alone, notice how Obama shifts from speaking in the first person to suddenly referring to himself in the third person or as “the President.”  Naysayers, apologists, and supporters of all types will undoubtedly refute or even mock this investigator’s observations and the premise that switching from talking in the first person (i.e., using “I”) to the third person is meaningless. Alone, it might very well be, but now watch the entire interview or consult the transcript and note the number of times Obama answers a question by referring to himself in the first person. Now compare your findings with the above paragraph.

Recently, pundits at Fox News actually counted the number of times Barack Obama used the word “I” in a recent speech about Libya. It was excessive, they opined, and typical of Obama. The number of times Obama referred to himself in the first person in this interview appeared consistent with the subject matter and the questions asked until the issue of his birth certificate was raised.

Verbal deception indicator 2

One of the best indicators of deception is one’s evasiveness of answers or simply not fully addressing the crux of the matter or answering the question posed. Obama knows very well that the issue in this instance, “bracketed” by this question, is his refusal to release his long-form birth certificate, which Trump is known for demanding. Admittedly, Stephanopoulos did not directly ask Obama about his birth certificate and used the general term “background” instead.

Nonetheless, instead of addressing that issue head-on, even in this friendly environment, Obama reverts to the use of a non-sequitur by adding that “…he doesn’t have horns.”  He then reverts back to addressing the entire issue as a “conspiracy theory,” specifically mentioning his birth certificate out of the context of the question. His evasiveness is smooth but obvious. Now note that Obama continues to refer to himself as “he” or in the third person for the remainder of the question.

Non-verbal deception indicators

Notice when Obama answers the above question, there is excessive eye blinking, which is an involuntary stress indicator. When answering this question, one can count over sixty-(60) eye blinks during his short answer on this specific topic.

Additionally, note that Obama laughs directly in the middle of his answer and at a critical point in delivering his response, which is also a non-verbal sign of deception. Further analysis of his facial expression, including micro-expressions, indicates a false or forced laugh or one that is not genuine and does not involve all of his facial muscles.

What it means

As I’ve previously indicated in various CFP radio segments[iii] and on the nationally syndicated “The Roth Show,” I’ve interviewed a wide range of individuals, from prisoners in Attica State Penitentiary to the residents of some of the most expensive homes in the country during my 26-year career as a professional investigator. I also hold multiple law-enforcement-related certifications, including those involving interviewing and interrogation techniques, the identification of verbal and non-verbal deception, and certifications in numerous other related subjects related to behavioral analysis and the identification of micro-expressions in lie and stress detection.

As the title of this article indicates, it is my professional analysis that the verbal and non-verbal indicators of deception are not only present in this interview but are “off the charts” and offer a classic textbook example of the same. Obviously, Obama did not take this opportunity to clear up this matter when provided the opportunity, even in this non-hostile venue. Clearly then, we should expect nothing different should he ever be compelled to prove his constitutional eligibility in a not-so-friendly venue.

Note to the reader: The basis of my conclusions arise from a complete review of the entire 19-minute, 25-second video, isolating the clips where the camera was pointed directly at Obama and not at the interviewer. Additionally, various clips from Obama’s campaign speeches and candid interviews about general matters were used as a baseline for this analysis.

[ii] Transcript credit ABC News, “George’s Bottom Line”, page two
[iii] CFP Radio, The Hagmann & Hagmann Reportblogtalkradio.com/cfp-radio

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