November 1st, 2008
06:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama aide: Timing of news about his aunt 'suspicious'

Obama aide David Axelrod, pictured here at a Pennsylvania campaign office earlier this week, called the release of information about Sen. Obama's aunt 'suspicious.'
Obama aide David Axelrod, pictured here at a Pennsylvania campaign office earlier this week, called the release of information about Sen. Obama's aunt 'suspicious.'

(CNN) - Barack Obama’s chief strategist said Saturday that he thought the last-minute appearance of stories like this weekend’s news that the Illinois senator’s aunt may be living in the country illegally would make people “suspicious.”

The Associated Press has reported that Zeituni Onyango, a native of Kenya, has been living in Boston despite losing an appeal for asylum four years ago. Obama’s campaign issued a statement earlier Saturday that the Democratic nominee “has no knowledge of her status but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws should be followed." The campaign also said it would return $265 in donations from Onyango, who is not legally permitted to donate to Obama because she is not a U.S. citizen.

CNN has been unable to independently verify the aunt's immigration status.

On the campaign trail in Nevada, Axelrod said the timing of the report might raise a few eyebrows. "The campaign issued a statement on that," he said. "And I don't have anything more to add to it, other than I think people are suspicious about stories that surface in the last 72 hours of a national campaign... I think that they're going to take that, they're going to put it in that context."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan questioned both the timing and the source of the news Saturday, sending a public letter to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff requesting an investigation.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra
soundoff (1,449 Responses)
  1. Debbie in Missouri

    McCain wants to win at all costs.

    You reap what you sow.

    Vote Obama

    November 1, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Tiff of lithia springs

    At this point no one cares! Everyone I know has already voted except for one person (that poor person is going to wait until NOV 4th).

    People are sick of the non-sense.

    Besides that anyone hear about Cindy's half sister that she cut off when her dad died. Talk about cruel. From my understanding those were not her families wishes.

    November 1, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. Joanne Buck

    Someone wants Palin's medical record 20 plus years ago.....sick liberal covnersation.
    Joanne Buck
    Minnesota

    November 1, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. Cynthia; Bham

    If Senator Obama did not know that she is in the country illegally then it;s not his fault and did say that the system should just follow the laws no matter who it is. This is really a none story as it relates to Senator Obama's candidacy.

    November 1, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. google birth place of John Mccain

    that is all i have to say!!!

    November 1, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  6. google birth place of John Mccain

    MCCAIN HAS NO SHAME!!

    November 1, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. Voter08

    If you still don't know what Obama stands for, you are a real ignorant or stupid.

    November 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. Cathy in Jacksonville Florida

    When you are in a desperate situation you will do anything. Nothing surprises me after yesterday, when McCain stood on the stage and laughed at what the Gov of Calf. had to say about Senator Obama's physical characteristics. It is true, John McCain upholds the negativity of his followers at his rallies. No one has had anything to say negative about McCain's physical characteristics. He truly a desperate man!!!!

    November 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  9. Jacqui

    Obama did say this weekend would be ugly. He spoke the truth.

    November 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. Say What-NC

    I am really getting tired of this election. Sorry but I don't think Obama can be responsible for what and how every member of his family lives. But most important, I am concerned that this information is easily accessible. Should I be worried about someone in a government office leaking information on me?

    November 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. Steve

    REV WRIGHT IS

    BACK.............

    G = GARBAGE
    O = OUT
    P= PLEASE

    ENOUGH...

    BO08/12

    November 1, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. Sarge

    America's choice McCaim/Palin thank god we have trustworthy candidates.

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  13. Worshiper22

    How dare somonw challeng god Obama. The will be punished.

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. es

    To: dp November 1st, 2008 6:56 pm ET

    Go back to your cage. Your ignorant "voice" does not matter.

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  15. Jack Jones

    Protect poor inexperienced Obama....and beat the heck out of Palin.
    Journalism is dead as of early 2008.
    Jack Jones
    Colorado

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  16. F J

    If I were to ask which party she is registered to vote under, does that make me a racist?

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  17. JD

    Isn't this lady from his dad's side of the family? The side he only met once? I bet there are other Obama's he hasn't even met. He can't be responsible for them. Also, Cindy McCain's sister is living in poverty and no one pays attention to that one.

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  18. Katie

    Are you *#@!$#* kidding me? Picking on an eldery woman who happens to be related to Obama.. how desperate!! If the McCain camp thinks that $265 will make or break the Obama campaign... well, they've established they're blind to the needs of the American people....

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  19. sarah palin was trick on the radio! wow

    Now I just heard the TAPE with sarah palin and some radio guys up in canada. they trick her petty bad. And it was FUNNY and not Funny. because that just shows SHE WILL TALK TO ANYBODY> THIS TRICK PHONE CALL COULD DO IT FOR THEM. PLEASE HEAR THE TAPE. it on huff post! ITS REAL BAD FOR THEM!

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  20. John S

    Hey dp, I don't know what rock you crawled out from under, but this country is almost at that point right now. Having Obama in office wouldn't be any worse than having the Bush policy in McCain. Wake up and get educated for God sake and stop hating people for what they are instead of listening to what they have to say.

    November 1, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. Tiff of lithia springs

    Mazakani,

    Have you gone complete MAD. Or are you just out of your ever loving mind.

    The statues that Republcans have set aren't exactly the values of this country.

    November 1, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  22. Illinois 2

    Sen. Obama just can't hide the truth, this is another instance where he cannot be trusted. I sure hope that all those who support him will take a second look, after all it is just our country at stake, not race or money and no matter how much he blows on ads, the truth is the truth....

    November 1, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. Dori

    Gee, why didn't somebody tell me years ago that my more well-to-do relatives were responsible for my financial and legal welfare??? I sure would have liked to have known that it is standard procedure for the better off relatives to take care of their poorer relatives and my life could have been so much easier!! Gosh-darn it all to heck and back again!!! I guess Obama didn't know its standard procedure to take care of your distant half this and that that you've met only maybe once if ever....there's a lot of ill informed people in this country-including my well-to-do uncles and aunts, apparently :-(

    November 1, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  24. SW,OHIO

    NO MATTER WHAT, THIS WILL NOT MAKE US LIKE MCCAIN! HE IS TOO WEALTHY TO BE OUR PRESIDENT! HE ONLY CARES ABOUT HIMSELF!

    November 1, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  25. paul oregon

    what do you expect from a repub. look at bush &chenny do you expect
    mccain an palin as repub. to be honest.

    November 1, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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