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Turns out Dwaine Webber is unemployed as he told Obama, but it was voluntary

Dwaine Webber an unemployed worker addressing President Barack Obama March 18, 2009 at a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa-- photo by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times


Get your facts straight before you stand up.

Apparently Dwaine Webber was not paying attention last year when someone named Joe the Wurzelbacher addressed candidate Barack Obama on a Toledo cul-de-sac. And was featured on national TV worrying about the Democrat's tax plans, which Obama's Republican opponent happened then to mention a gazillion times in a later debate.

And ultimately more came out about Joseph's life than Joseph probably preferred, although he's milking the fame for all it's worth nowadays.

Anyway, so yesterday Dwaine was at Obama's town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, as The Ticket and many others reported. And he was recognized by the president and read off his carefully-prepared index card about being laid off after 13 years of good work with Toyota but now was having trouble finding a new job to support his family because of a past felony conviction. And what could he do?

And the president was very sympathetic and said he was surprised and would have expected the layoff from an American car company because Toyota had done so well.

Well, it turns out the burly, 45-year-old Norwalk resident wasn't exactly laid off. He and Toyota agreed today that he took a voluntary buyout. His choice. He's still looking, if you're hiring. But how he got where he is turns out to be a little different than he first described on national TV.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (10)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Don't play the race card on us Dwaine!!!!!

I am sure he wanted to get the same "cheap popularity" that many people do anything to get. Too bad we know how the real truth. Others should be cautious about saying things on national tv that can be verified false. Thanks for sharing this.

When my ex was laid off by the Times after 26 years, he got a buyout.

You would think this would be something someone who gets a paycheck from the Times would be particularly sensitive to.

"Voluntary"? More like "take it now or get dumped later" - a situation you would think an employee of a newspaper would be all too aware of. Of course, as long as Mr. Malcolm continues toeing his corporate masters' line, his job is safe.

Perhaps Mr. Malcolm doesn't understand what "taking a buyout" means. Perhaps he should ask some of his friends in the newspaper business. It means, "volunteer, and get a good deal," or "don't volunteer and get no deal at all." Either way, we are shedding lots of employees.

With everything that's going wrong in the world, do you really have nothing better to write about than picking on some guy who's out of a job, because you don't approve of the particular circumstances of his termination?

I've often wondered whether it is lack of intelligence or lack of empathy that makes someone a conservative. In this case I'd say both.

Right on Andrew! It's about time someone stood up to these leaches and called them out. Please don't give up the good fight to expose wrongdoing.

Get your facts straight before you stand up.

I agree. Now go look up "buyout," you hack.

Shame you never had a actual real job, you just wrote about them from the outside and carried Laura's purse.

HERES A NEWSFLASH there is no such thing as a "voluntary" buyout.

Management says they are clearing the payroll, you can go early and get paid out upfront or you can stay and get less, either way your going to be unemployed.

Shame you never analyzed George W. Bush like you do this poor unemployed man struggling for his family.

But thats what your here for right? Protect the powerful and to stomp on the little guy!

I'm sure he looked at the economy and said "gosh it looks like a great time to switch jobs".

Elitist Moron.

Tell me again how that homeless guy was faking it b/c he had a $30 cellphone w/ a camera when Mrs. Obama visited the shelter?


Mr. Malcolm,

My previous employer had an enhanced retirement program in 1994 for those who were at least 54 years old. All but three eligible participants took advantage of it. The three who did not needed the jobs and the health insurance coverage that came with the job.

Within a year after the eligibility period ended, the three who declined the buyout were terminated.

That's how the real world works, Mr. Malcolm, not the world of insulated dilettantes.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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