Sweet: Obama, in Kansas, does roots thing talking about moms' family. Picture.

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Barack Obama poses for a picture with a cousin; summer, 2006 at an Illinois Breakfast in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington (Photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--In El Dorado, Kansas on Tuesday, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), talked about his maternal grandparents--a reminder that when race comes up in the campaign, Obama has a complex story to tell.

Fox News' Bonney Kapp has a terrific video with an interview of one of Obama's grandmother's cousins at the El Dorado event. LINK

As for El Dorado, " I never went there as a kid. It was where my grandfather was born and this will be my first visit to El Dorado," Obama told reporters.

His grandmother, Obama said, "was from Augusta, Kansas which I believe is fairly close by."

His maternal grandparents "were high school sweethearts. They got married and I believe moved to Wichita. My grandfather then went off to fight in the war. My grandmother stayed back. She had the baby. She worked on an assembly line during the war effort and then she came back or he came back and they moved from Wichita to they might have stayed in Oklahoma for a while and then Texas before they finally ended up in Seattle which is where my mother went to high school.

"They were interesting characters. My grandmother is still alive. My grandfather was raised by his grandparents and was sort of a rowdy kid.

... Wild child exactly and had a lot of sort of before the war had a lot of odd jobs, travelled a lot. My grandmother came from a more conventional family I think her father worked as a manager for one of the oil companies and I am not sure they entirely approved of her romance with my grandfather. That’s the story."


And how are they related to Cheney?


"I don’t remember which side it is on, but I think that goes back to like the 1700’s or 1800’s."


Do you still have family in the area? Do you still have family in Kansas?


" We do we have sisters who are cousins on grandfathers side and they pop up once in a while and stop by the office. It has been fun actually meeting them. You wouldn’t spot them out of a crowd as my cousins."

8 Comments

Where were his cousin's when he was running to win the black vote in South Carolina? Now the he's running in a predominally white state, he brings out he white cousin's.

Again, who is playing the race card?

I was interested in Barack Obama's maternal relalatives.Does he see them and socialize with them. Barack is dual heritage and so why his wife is so militant is beyond me. Mrs Obama should embrace all humans not just "African Americans". We are all God's children.

Clintons get blamed that they used the race card, Obama conviniently is using his WHITE cousin as Tuesday's primary nears.....soo much for blaming the other while doing the same.

HILLARY 08

Mr. Obama’s mother must be turning in her grave. Mr. Obama is now using the white portion of his family to help him win. This is a guy who calls himself African American. At no time did he ever say to the racist press, I am a human being, I am neither African nor white. (When the press tried to put Tiger Woods in the black column, he made it absolutely clear he was not black. If he chose black his mother would be left out, and by the way Mr. Woods father was there for him 24/7) Mr. Obama never made this distinction. It was very easy for Mr. Obama to leave his white mother out and family behind. Actually, in his book he spoke about a young lady who said to him, I am not going to call myself black, because I would be leaving out my mother. Yet, he chose to refer to himself as African America or black. I am a mother of racially mixed children (black and white) if my children were to choose their white father over me I would be very hurt and if they were to chose me over their father (who is there for them 24/7) I would be very hurt. Mr. Obama wrote a book about his absent father and then said in the last chapter, if he knew his mother was not going to last he would have written more about her. What a laugh ha ha ha. YOU UNGRATEFUL SON. PLEASE NOTE MY HUSBAND'S FAMILY IS FROM KANSAS.

Obama's mother was a truly great woman and it is really sad that he doesn't say more about her. In truth, I think whole books could be written solely on her and her life works as an activist and promoter of social change and racial acceptance. It is a shame that Obama only now is acknowledging his white side, now that the stakes are high. Where was this young white cousin in Iowa?

I'm glad I don't live in Kansas.What the hell was with that DEM response to the state of the union.Couldn't be more boring and teatering on "stupid"."Now that the newly elected DEM congress has us on the right track" What world is she living on? The only thing the DEN congress has done is change the approval rating from 15% to about 8 and no bills passed and nothing getting done.We need to get the GOP back in there and make some changes and vote for a govenor for President MITT ROMNEY

State laws have said for years if a person was 1/32 black at all, that their race is officially black, and no mixed person chooses to shun either side -- but other's attitudes?

Since society tends to treat you how you look--unless you go to tiring lengths to remind them of whatever, at which point you exhaust yourself and risk offending one ethnicity or another--society's reacting to you as white or black can be too daunting and time-consuming to deal with.

So to think Barack Obama has "used" any family member is not right at all, especially after seeing the material with him and his 2 white grandparents. There was a whole story on her alone shortly after his first major speech, pictures, awesome.

As a mixed person, I get tired of having to fit in whatever box the person in front of me thinks I should be in, and do not have to "prove" any allegiences to any race. All sides of my family love each other and that's that.

It's only very recently that mixed people have been able to embrace just being human.

Good for him. He got a little bit of both worlds

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Lynn Sweet

<Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 29, 2008 9:55 PM.

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