October 17th, 2007
09:53 AM ET
5 years ago

All in the family: Cheney and Obama related

Obama is sworn into the Senate by his eighth cousin, Vice President Cheney.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Go back far enough, the saying goes, and everyone's related.

But could it be possible that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Vice President Dick Cheney share a common ancestor?

Cheney's wife Lynne says yes.

In an interview on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Cheney said that in the course of researching her husband's genealogy for her new book, "Blue Skies, No Fences," she discovered that the two public figures share an ancestor eight generations ago.

"Think about this," Mrs. Cheney said. "This is such an amazing American story that one ancestor, a man that came to Maryland, could be responsible down the family line for lives that have taken such different and varied paths as Dick's and Barack Obama's."

Mrs. Cheney's spokeswoman Ginny Justice gave CNN's Ed Henry more details, saying the two unlikely relatives are related through a French Huguenot named Mareen Duvall. Cheney and Obama are both descendants of her.

According to Justice, the vice president is related to her through "the first" Richard Cheney, who came to America in the 1650's. His granddaughter married Samuel Duvall, son of Mareen Duvall.

But is blood thicker than the partisan waters of Washington? Apparently not.

Even though Obama is related to her husband, Mrs. Cheney said she is not supporting the Illinois Democrat's White House bid.

Reacting to the news, Obama's campaign spokesman Bill Burton told CNN's Dana Bash with tongue in cheek, "Obviously, Dick Cheney is sort of the black sheep of the family."

But Obama's family ties to the Bush administration don't stop with Cheney. According to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times last September, Obama is also an 11th cousin of the president himself. The two share a 17th century Massachusetts relative.

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

– CNN's Alexander Mooney and Lauren Kornreich


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Dick Cheney
soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. RJ, AZ

    Whoops, in my comment I meant to say "take a stab at Obama." Sorry.

    October 17, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    I wonder how heated the dinner table arguments between these cousins will be over the Thanksgiving feast at the Cheney's household this year.

    Seriously, this is what Obama needs to to spice up his "lack of soundbite" debating style. He should start the answer to a question with: "On this issue, I repsectfully disagree with my dear cousin, Vice-President Cheney...." That will grab the next day's headlines.

    October 17, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    So many people here are coming up with that old saw that we're all related. Well, I suppose that if you believe all that mythological claptrap in Genesis you may believe that. But then you must also believe that we're all products of incestuous relationships which is clearly frowned upon in the Old and New Testaments.
    Sorry folks you can't have it both ways.

    And for those of you who proclaim that this information will be a deciding factor in whoyou vote for, please, do us all a favor: DON'T VOTE.

    October 17, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. sue, ca

    oh come on, i can't believe any of these commentators would actually let the fact that cheney's confederate anscestors raped their slaves and multiply acutally imply that barack is somehow as evil as dick cheney.

    October 17, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Will Portland OR

    wow!never would of thought...

    October 17, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. tm

    Ah, the royal bloodline of America. No surprise really, goes hand in hand with our bank of england, er I mean federal reserve.

    October 17, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. TC in LV

    CNN, your unprofessional behavior never ceases to amaze me. Just when I think you can't get any slimier, you post this hoping it will hurt Senator Obama. For those Americans that can think, this article, the hate-filed posters and CNN aren't worthy of the bottom of a bird cage.

    Where is your large print article concerning Hillary's LEAD in the REFUND of donations. She is triple all democratic candidates combined in having to refund political donations and you bury it.

    The Clinton money machine that has been honing is sources for decades looks pretty lame compared to Senator Obama's 10-month old organization.

    Now that is news.

    October 17, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Renee Jackson New York, NY

    Barack Obama does not look anything like that greedy money hungry man. That amazing that Mrs. Cheney said without hesitation that they still will not be supporting Barack! Clearly money is more important than family.... be we already knew that about Cheney.

    October 17, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Makeba, Newark, NJ

    well...all i have to say is that Obama cannot be happy to know that!

    October 17, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Kei, Los Angeles, CA

    So, what Mrs. Cheney is admitting is that this is another Sally Hemings tale. Please people don't be surprised. Most African-American's are related if you check our DNA.

    October 17, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. Steve, Sumter SC

    First the Al Sharpton/Strom Thurmond relationship and now this!

    October 17, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. HipHopHustler, Los Angeles CA

    I just read about this on globalgrind.com. This is hilarious, Dick Cheney probably almost had a heart attack when he heard that one..!

    October 17, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Genealogist NY

    EVERYBODY knows that Obama is the son of an African father and a white American mother, and even if they didn't know it before, it has been pointed out numerous times in the comments here. There is NO legacy of slavery in his ancestry and the relationship to Cheney is through his mother. Can you please try to look at the facts instead of immediately using your preconceptions to jump to false conclusions?

    And Jim Brewer- the fact that someone was named after a Muslim ancestor doesn't make them Muslim. Obama was brought up a Christian and is still one. Do you think everyone with the middle name David is Jewish?

    October 17, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Genealogist

    Kei in Los Angeles, CA- Sally Hemmings tale??? Do you really think Cheney's ancestor sailed all the way over to Kenya and raped one of Obama's African ancestors? Come on, stick to the facts- the relationship is through his mother's side. Why is it that Americans (of all races and political views) shut off their brains when it comes to racial issues.

    October 17, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Political porn at its best. The establishment must be quaking in their boots to run an article that actually compares Obama to Cheney. What will they think of next? They're getting desperate that's for sure.

    October 17, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. Jack, Detroit MI

    The Muslim Congressman that swore on the Koran is actually from Minnesota by way of Michigan. Name is Keith Ellison. He's an alum of my high school. Also, Barack Obama is a Christian. Lets get our facts straight folks.

    October 17, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    This story is proof positive of the "melting pot" and "six degrees" theory and also a veritable Soap Opera in American politics. When you have Cheney and Obama being related and Thurman and Sharpton as well in South Carolina then what's next? The long lost son of former president Clinton or something of the sort? I think to be more comical by relating this geneology to "Star Wars" and America's diversity this historical fact would definitely make Cheney the "Darth Vader" of the political jedi family, Obama the "Mace Windu" and the Empire being run by all accounts by the Sith Lord who is waging war across the known cosmos. Can we get the script for this saga please?

    October 17, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. anoyumus wala,washington

    I think Obama got the brains of the family. bush and cheny though have porige instead of a brain.

    October 17, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  19. Jim, Cleveland, OH

    This is great! Obama is related to Cheney AND Bush? AND some people out there say he's obviously a better man while calling the other two clearly "fascists" and "misanthropes". What a joke! I want to hear Obama cast those slurs at his blood relatives! I hope this serves as a wake up call for all those who are supporting Obama because of his "politically correct" family history.

    October 17, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. Craig R. Scott, Westminster, MD

    SHE, Mareen Duvall's wife must have been really been suprised to learn that HE was a SHE. Not to mention other descendents of this couple, Harry Truman, Bessie Wallis Warfield Simpson, Dutchess of Windsor, oh and Robert S. Duvall.

    October 17, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    This is just saying that every black person is related to a rich white person through generations and generations.......It disgust me how Cheney's wife is implying that only reason Obama is smart is because he is related to a white man!!!

    October 17, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  22. Goober, New York, NY

    Sounds like a soild case for evolution.

    October 18, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  23. milton cain, Salisbury, NC

    I am really amazed at the ignorance of the American people, and their inability to look beyond ones politics. This is why so many things are passe by the American public, because we are to busy fighting over things that really are of little importance. How about we sop worring about the big picture.

    October 18, 2007 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  24. Thinking Girl, Bloomfield, NJ

    We can all be related if you look back enough. There is a growing business in geneaology to prove such points- but it is not always accurate. If Obama is "related" to Cheney, it matters not. Some of the comments on here are so very uneducated- repeatedly using Barack's middle name, "Hussein"... I wish people would grow up and stick to real issues. Barack Obama does not take financial contributions from lobbyists or PACs- that is what is important to me. I'm only hoping that some of you simple-minded peole forget to come out and vote (for Guiliani? Thompson? Hillary?)on election day, and those of us who can look at real issues, and talk about change continue to push ahead for Barack.

    October 18, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  25. DR RUTH

    2 WORDS ...... OY VEY !!!!!!

    October 18, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
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