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. oscar

    who cares? this will not deter those who aspires for change and those who will vote obama. Whatever will be wil be and no amount of name calling and fault-finding can stop it. Unfortunately Obama has always been the target. last time it was his half brother. what have you all done to dig on mccain's family or dig on Palin's family beginning from her youthful upbringing. you who have not even tried to know of the medical history of her who aspires to be your NEXT PRESIDENT. Enough is enough.

    November 1, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. theogracias

    The timimg of the release of Palin's medical records is really suspicious. You would think with so many high foreheads on the payroll, CNN would be on this relevant election story. Now we can see that when CNN reports on a conflict in the world, we can't trust we are getting the whole story, the real story or...just a story...the world is watching and CNN is not looking great.

    November 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. A Canuck

    For CNN to keep stretching this story is despicable.....trying to get ratings at the last minute at the expense of Senator Obama. The only person I have any respect for Is Jack Cafferty....the rest of you are laughable !!!

    November 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Florida For Obama

    Dont worry, Barack. Florida has your back. No weapon formed against you will prosper. Just a few more days, and it will all be over. You will be our President and John McCain and Palin will take that bridge to no where and disappear.

    November 1, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. NGANGA,Austin TX

    Yeah CNN keep pushing it! Pathetic the way you make it Ticker-worhty news but not Cindy Mccain's drug use or the fact that she always carry a piece of paper in her right hand to avoid shaking hands on the campaign trails. Isn't that a tocker CNN?

    November 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. JS ...... santee

    sooooooooo. Let immigration handle it. They know where she's at. Bush is a recovering alcoholic & hid a drunk driving charge. Mccain has been married how many times? Cindy Mccain is a recovering drug addict who stold drugs to supply her habit. Palin abuses her power and fires people for personal reasons. Lets throw more stones. We are all Christians here. mmmmm...what was that Jesus said about throwing stones?
    Is anybody else has weary as I am.....vote already.

    November 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Ro Lauer

    The timing of this "disclosure" is to be filed under November surprises. MdCain and Palin will leave no rocks unturned in their quest for power. They have become increasingly unethical as the campaign has gone on. How two people can be so untruthful is beyond me. They must really be power hungry.

    November 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Lyle

    What is more suspicious is that Mr. Obama claims that he did not know of his aunt’s status.

    Please….how is it that Mr. Obama, the all-seeing, all knowing, omnipresent, omnipotent ruler of the universe did not know that his Aunt is an illegal immigrant? How is it that Mr. Obama did not know that his aunt was illegally living in government housing and illegally donating to his campaign?

    November 1, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. JDW

    It's not suspicious. They are activly trying anything they can. This is just the most recent thing that they have to try and show us that he is not one of us. 3days before the election this story will go nowhere, not that Hanity wont try his hardest.

    November 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. steep

    I guess we should kick this poor old lady out, even thought she 's related to one of the most important politicians in America and is harmless she may be thrown out of the country because of a leak just to hurt Obama, if Mac is behind this again I don 't know what to say......we are doomed as a nation – our morals have gone down the drain

    November 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Susan Cusson

    That's not the only story!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. Shirley-Ohio

    Suspicious, suspicious, this is gutter politics at its best. Obama said they were going to throw everything they can at him. This is the type of gutter polictics that put Bush in off and we are not going to let it happen again. If you cannot run a fair campaign and win you do not deserve to win. McCain will not win, campaign too dirty.

    November 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. DG

    Nothing these Republican cowards do surprises me. They are dirty and lowdown and will resort to anything to retain the Whitehouse. I can't help but notice that all the cable channels are showing all the McCain Campaign stops today in their entirety. I think they planned it that way. Well, the Networks can all throw their support to McCain. He still won't get ino the Whitehouse! Obama isn't responsible for his Aunt. If he said he doesn't know about her status here then he doesn't. I believe him.

    November 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. joe six pack

    another low road dirty tactic of mccain with the help of his twin George Bush

    November 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Observer

    I agree–interesting timing here. What this has to do with the economy, health care, or any of the other IMPORTANT issues in the world, I'd like to know. Wonder what Mrs. Palin will say? Maybe..."Obama's relatin' around with illegal immigrants...", or something equally intelligent. It's a desperate campaign tactic by a desperate campaign, and Karl Rove's fingerprints are all over this one...

    November 1, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. Clinton Democrat for Obama

    Sen. McCain would offer her a path to citizenship based on the legislation he sponsored last summer

    November 1, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. democrats /PA

    what does democrat us rep john conyers mean [ who leaked information of obamas aunt ] we have a right to know who is here illegally and who is stealing are tax money
    AND HE WANTS TO BE PRESIDENT
    right

    November 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. INDEPENDANT VET

    OK!!! nOW WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR HOW MANY MONTHS FOR BARRACK TO SHOW A VALID BIRTH CERTIFICATE . WHERE IS IT AT ???

    THOUGHT THIS HAS HAD PLENTY OF TIME, OR IS IT GOING TO BE ACOVER UP , WITH HOLLYWOOD CREATING SOMETHING. ?????

    THE DNC HAS DONE MORE FLIP FLOPPING IN THE PAST 9 MONTHS THAN FISH OUT OF WATER FOR 1 DAY.

    THEN WE HAVE ALL THESE DEAD VOTER 'S IN FLA. . NOW ARE YOU GOING TO TELL US THEY ARE ALIVE AND WELL , POSSIBLE , MONEY CAN PURCHASE MANY THINGS . THIS DAY IT IS VOTES FOR HUSSIEN AND JOE.

    November 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Richard Carpenter

    Boy, this got a lot of play time on CNN. An aunt, living in the slums of Boston, here illegally, yet Obama says giving is chartiy. Shouldnt charity start at home? His own aunt? His father's sister and he has no idea what her immigration status is? Give me a break.

    November 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. flavoter

    Who's in charge of ICE ...The republicans go figure.. Typical distractions...

    McCain has no honor. I never here McCain or Palin explain there plan for the country they talk in broad terms, then bash Obama, I may not agree with all Obama's views. But his campaign has explained things alot clearer.

    Maybe McCain is starting to crack again!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    I am sure the government will make every effort to get his half aunt out of the country as quickly as possible. Now why is this a issue at the last minute. I am sure someone knew it before they broke the news to the media. The timming of this release is suspicious. I wonder how many others are in this country illegally. I wonder why they cannot be found and brought to light as quickly as she was.

    I am not trying to justify what she has done but only to say it smells like dead fish to me. Did it change my opinion of Obama? NO. Should it have changed my opinion of him? That was my decision to make and I chose NO.

    People if you do not like the views of the man or if you do not like him for whatever reasonthen vote for someone else.

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. so

    And we care why exactly? Wow...this is going to make me change my vote for Obama....Not.

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. democrats /PA

    no to obama he is a crook to

    November 1, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Tim

    There's so much about Obama that's being hidden from the public until after the election: His aunt living in a slum in Boston, his half-brother living in a hut in Kenya, the tape that the LA Times won't release, his realtionship with Ayres, and much more. It will all come out after November 4, but too late for voters to know.

    IMPEACH OBAMA!

    November 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Brenda C

    Yeah let's just forget about it. No big deal. Just breaking the law don't worry about it. Why would this make us any more suspicious than we already are. Just another totem on his totem pole of lies.

    Go McCain/Palin

    November 1, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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