On 18 January 2008, a Mr. Larry Sinclair of Duluth, Minnesota posted to YouTube a video statement entitled “OBAMA’S LIMO SEX & DRUG PARTY” in which he made sensational allegations against Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and challenged him to a polygraph showdown. Mr. Sinclair has to date presented no evidence to corroborate his claims. An archived copy of the video is linked below and followed by a full transcript:
Hi. My name is Larry Sinclair. I’m making this video and posting it on YouTube because of an incident involving myself and Senator Barack Obama between November 3rd and November 8th of 1999 in the Chicago, Illinois area. The mainstream media and Obama himself has done greatly [sic] to prevent this story from becoming public.
During those time periods in 1999, I met Obama at an upscale lounge in Chicago, Illinois. After having a few drinks, Obama and I left in my limo, began to drink. Mr. Obama acquired powdered cocaine for my use, crack cocaine for his use. I performed oral sex on Senator Obama who at the time was a state representative for the state of Illinois.
Mr. Obama knows these allegations to be true. I’m challenging Mr. Obama to come forth, be honest, stop claiming that his drug use is limited to his teenage years. In 1999, you weren’t a teenager. In 1999, you were a state representative for the people of the state of Illinois. In 1999, I performed oral sex on you in the back of my limo, as well as in my hotel room in Gurnee, Illinois, two days later.
If you challenge this — the authenticity of this allegation — I challenge you to take a polygraph test, as I will submit to as well. These allegations are true and need to be told to the public. Let the public decide whether Mr. Obama is being forthright and honest. Thank you.
Mr. Sinclair soon became the darling of a number of right-of-center political blogs, and he has been interviewed by conspiracy theorist Jeff Rense (download MP3) and New York shortwave talk radio show “The Right Perspective” (download MP3).
On 11 February, Mr. Sinclair filed, pro se, a federal lawsuit against Barack Obama, his campaign manager, and the Democratic National Committee in which he repeated his allegations but again offered nothing to substantiate them.
Then on 15 February, sometime Internet pornographer Dan Parisi, who runs the website WhiteHouse.com, made his own polygraph challenge to Mr. Sinclair, offering him $10,000 to submit to a lie detector test and an additional $90,000 if he passes. Two days later, Parisi reported that Sinclair had accepted his challenge, and on Monday, 18 February, Parisi announced that the “test” will be administered by a “renowned” but as-yet-unnamed polygraph examiner on Tuesday, 26 February 2008. Parisi promises, “Since the outcome of the test will be vital interest [sic] to the voting public, our findings will be made available before the presidential primaries in Texas and Ohio slated for March 4.”
Actually, the results of Mr. Sinclair’s polygraph examination will shed no light on the question of whether he has spoken the truth, and the voting public should attach no weight to the results. Polygraph “testing” has no scientific basis: it’s fundamentally dependent on trickery, inherently biased against the truthful, and yet easily passed by liars using simple countermeasures that polygraphers have no demonstrated ability to detect. See AntiPolygraph.org’s e-book The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF) for a thorough debunking of polygraphy and details on how anyone can fool the lie detector.
While polygraph challenges may make for titillating political theater and publicity stunts, they are a poor substitute for honest investigation.