[Rice] explains, “if Cory had to tell a story or two and mix details up for Newark to get the funding for it, I see that as something that’s taking tragedy and doing something productive for it.”
The T-Bone tale never sat right with Rutgers University history professor Clement Price, a Booker supporter who tells National Review Online he found the mayor’s story offensive because it “pandered to a stereotype of inner-city black men.” T-Bone, Price says, “is a southern-inflected name. You would expect to run into something or somebody named T-Bone in Memphis, not Newark.”
Price considers himself a mentor and friend to Booker and says Booker conceded to him in 2008 that T-Bone was a “composite” of several people he’d met while living in Newark. The professor describes a “tough conversation” in which he told Booker “that I disapproved of his inventing such a person.” “If you’re going to create a composite of a man along High Street,” he says he asked Booker, “why don’t you make it W. E. B. DuBois?” From Booker, he says, “There was no pushback. He agreed that was a mistake.” Since then, references to T-Bone have been conspicuously absent from Booker’s speeches.
Booker has never publicly said that T-Bone does not exist. In fact, he has done quite the opposite….
Lying for a good cause?
Note that Obama also made up “composite characters” for his autobiography. But I doubt either of them will get the James Frey treatment.