Introducing the Obama Statue

In Jakarta, that is...

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    A man searches for proof.

    Oh, the hope. Oh, the inspiration. Oh ... the birthers should have a field day with this.

    A statue of President Barack Obama as a 10-year-old wearing shorts and a T-shirt has been erected -- not in any of Washington, D.C.'s historic parks or traffic circles, but in Jakarta, Indonesia, where he lived as a boy.

    The statue was built at a park there to inspire children in the country, officials said Wednesday.

    The almost life-sized bronze statue, to be unveiled Thursday by Jakarta's governor, shows the young Obama smiling at a butterfly that has landed on his upheld left thumb.

    No word on whether it also includes a bronze copy of his birth certificate.

    It stands in Taman Menteng Park, near where Obama lived from 1967 until 1971 with his American mother, his Indonesian stepfather and his half-sister. The park was previously an athletic field near Obama's elementary school.

    "We welcome the statue, which is designed to give Indonesian children the spirit to reach their dreams," Central Jakarta Mayor Sylviana Murni said.

    "There is a message through the young Obama statue that any child and anyone from any background can reach their dreams if they fight for it persistently," she added.

    Money for the bronze statue, which cost more than $10,000, was donated by eight Indonesian patrons, a television station and a charity that helps Indonesia's urban poor, said the chairman of the nonprofit Friends of Obama Foundation, Ron Mullers. The Indonesia-based foundation came up with the idea of the statue and found the donors.

    Obama has described his Indonesian experience as both exotic and enlightening.

    He had a pet monkey, and baby crocodiles swam in a pond behind his house. But he also saw Third World poverty and disease.

    The statue's pedestal carries an paraphrased quote from former U.S. first lady Eleanor Roosevelt reading, "The future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams."

    Or was that Orly Taitz?