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. Salty

    What I find suspicious is the claim that she didn't approach Obama about this. After all, he's a lawyer and a politician at the time of the ruling against her. I can't believe she wouldn't have reached out to her educated and connected nephew for advice. That advice, apparently, was to just ignore the ruling. Not very presidential! After all, in his own words per the memoir, there was no safety net (like public housing?) so the family had to take care of each other. He's either lying about what he knew about her illegal status or lying about being such a tight family. She gave campaign contribution – did she register to vote? Get with it CNN, the AP is way ahead of you on this one!

    November 1, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. ohio voter

    oooooooohhhhhhhhhh omg are you kiddig me... The American Public is gong to turn on its heels once they find out this information that is obviously a great threat to our national security..... NOT !

    November 1, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Willy Brown

    Obama you are so full of yourself.

    November 1, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Ursula

    Forget McCain and Palin. Lets keep everything positive!

    GOBAMA!!!!

    November 1, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. Curt74

    I have great respect for both candidates, but if Obama were white he would be ahead of the polls by 15 to 20 points.

    November 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. Mark in Omaha

    Insignificant. McCain and Falin are just throwing stuff out there to see what sticks. Acts of desperation by the GOP proves they aren't fit to lead.

    November 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  7. Dr Jack Ryan

    NObama, I have news for you. You are a hypocrite for letting your aunt live in deplorable conditions in that Boston housing project. Illegal or not, WHY DON'T YOU SPREAD YOUR WEALTH TO HELP YOUR AUNT AND YOU BROTHER (OR WAS IT HALF BROTHER) IN KENYA THAT LIVES IN DEPLORABLE CONDITIONS!!! SPREAD YOUR WEALTH TO THEM!!!! YOU ARE THE MOST EVIL PERSON I HAVE SEEN IN MY LIFETIME!!!!

    November 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Taine

    I'm positive the timing of this leak was intentional, but what surprises me is the the pro-Obama press actually printed it.

    Also, any donations to the Obama campaign through web-based means by credit card do NOT require any identity or address checks. His campaign disabled this security feature long ago, despite VISA and MC warning his campaign not to. So, you don't need to be an American to throw money at Obama's slush fund. No wonder he didn't use public funding.

    November 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. McCain puts America First

    Suspicious??? You are darn right Americans are suspicious of Barack Obama. McCain is proven and tested. He is ready to lead!

    November 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. mmboucher (Florida)

    Give it a break, how about putting the prank to Sarah on here and let the people know what idots we are dealing with in the mccain camp

    November 1, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. Julie

    Dave – Who cares that Sarag Palin was pregnant when she got married. At least she got married and has stayed married to the same man. And she hasn't had any "welfare babies".

    Women – get ready to wear turbins and all have dots on our foreheads...this is where this countyr is going...I, am going to Australia!

    November 1, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. ECHEWEOZO

    unstopeable untoucheable barack obama,they can say whatever they wanna say about your aunt,we your supporters are not buying what mcbush are selling,they got money for war but cant feed the poor,

    November 1, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  13. jessica, va for mccain

    ALL YEAH YA'LL PEOPLE BLAME IT ON THE GOP!! OR MCCAIN !!!OR BUSH!!
    WELL MAYBE IT IS HER FAUGHT, LIEING WILL GET U NO WHERE UNLESS UR OBAMA AND ALL THESE DUMB PEOPLE VOTE FOR U!!

    OBAMA ANSWER FOR EVERYTHING PRESENT OR I WAS NOT AWARE OF THAT!!

    P. S. I SAWL OBAMA SPEECH LAST NIGHT THAT HE WAS GIVING ON CNN! HE SAID MCCAIN VOTED FOR BUDGET CUTS THAT INCREASED THE DEFECT!! CNN DID NOT MAKE ONE COMMENT ON THAT !! HOW CAN U VOTE FOR BUDGET CUTS THAT INCREASE THE DEFECT!! SPENDING LESS INCEASES THE DEFECT???AND

    PICKING A VP THAT HAS BEEN THIER FOR 31 YEARS, HOW IS THAT CHANGING HE HAS BEEN THIER FOR 31 YEARS WHY DID HE NOT DO IT ALREADY BIDEN!!!
    CNN IS OBAMA JUST SAY IT ALREADY

    VOTE MCCAIN!! HE IS THE RIGHT CHOOSE FOR US PROUD AMERICANS!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. Joe

    How do you spell C I A ?

    When the shadow govt secretly steers an election –
    EVERYBODY LOSES !

    Govt By The People, Of The People, For The People.

    VOTE TUESDAY

    November 1, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. Lois

    McCain is the best candidate for President....True Americans will be
    voting McCain/Palin into office. President McCain will keep this
    country safe and give us relief from this grave economic burden!!!

    November 1, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  16. FreeNLovIt

    Why dont we let the NATIVE American Indians decide our IMMIGRATION policies? If they approve X number of immigrants stay, we let them stay. If they disapprove, we let them go.

    I think on the immigration issue, only the NATIVE AMericans, the true REAL Americans, have the right to allow or forbid who can stay in America.

    I once have a friend tell me I dont belong here and I told her that in fact, we ALL dont belong here. We all should go BACK and leave this country to the NATIVE American Indians.

    November 1, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. Breaking News

    We demand the guilty person or person(s) responsible for leaking this information. A few months ago Pulin made a statement that someone had leaked some sort of informatoin between his people and Russia that had cause that conflict.. I'm starting to see a pattem that someone is leaking this information. My guess would be the republican's, because who stands to gain anything from this. So i'm calling on McCain, Palin, Bush, and Cheny to step up and claim responsible.

    November 1, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. Michael

    Geez......if all of us were held accountable for actions of immediate and extended family members, we'd all be in a helluva mess.

    This is just more noise that does not reflect on Senator Obama in any way.

    Stick to the real issues.

    November 1, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Catholic-mom-4-OBAMA

    @ GEORGYGAL: the PERSONAL LIVES of a relative of a candidate are of no importance to us!

    Its VILE, AND EVIL..... to dig up a poor woman from Africa, who ONLY wants to live in the greatest country on Earth!

    You, Republicans really are the party of hate, lies, fear and division!

    SHAME ON YOU!

    November 1, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. Gabriella, LA

    Ummmm. Obama didn't even know about this.

    November 1, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Glennis

    Obama can write about his "auntie" in one of his egotistical autobiographies but doesn't know where she is? She can be darn near destitute, living in a slum (illegally) and donating money to his campaign? Does he think we all just fell off the turnip truck? Yes, he does.

    November 1, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. natalie

    where are obama's medical records? where are his school records?

    November 1, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. John S

    Mufando.Mazakani November 1st, 2008 6:52 pm ET

    Personally anyone who can take a person such as Barak Obama serious as a candidate is lost – and I see most of the Americans doing this, is willing to give up the core values and believes of this Country, that founded this Country, why so many of us worked so hard to get here.. to see it thrown away because many young "ill informed" voters, many race fearing people would vote for a "Change" for the sake of change – Remember there was a change from "Stalin" to Hitler, and millions lost their lives, liberty and freedom… Change for the sake of Change = Disaster…. remember that when you vote ! I will when I am eligible for voting next year !

    First of all, Hitler was a fascist dictator and Stalin was a communist. Hitler was from Germany, Stalin from Russia. And don't talk about having to fight in wars. I lost my father and uncle in WW11, so a wet nose punk like you has no right to tell me who and how I can vote. Secondly, if your old enoufgh to vote next year, then what are you talking about working hard all your life. Sonny, your not even out of dipers yet from what I can see from your spelling. And as for change. Think about this Kiddo. It would be a pretty boring world if things didn/t change now wouldn't it. Better get off the PC before your mom and dad catch you.

    November 1, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. GARY

    OBAMA HASN'T BEEN TRUTHFULL FROM THE BEGINING. HE IS THE WORST ARROGANT FLIPFLOPPER THAT EVER RAN. LITTLE SCHOOL BOY CHICAGO CON MAN.

    November 1, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. MARTY MCCLAIN

    AND LIVING IN PUBLIC HOUSING – THATS WHAT WE WILL ALL BE LIVING IN WITH OBAMA

    November 1, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58