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. E C

    Even the Republicans, would think this is no coincidence that this came out that time, it came out because the Republicans is desperate as desperate can get, first of all, it is Obama half aunt, his father half sister, second, he being a US Senator, he could have sponser her, or gotton someone else to sponser her, as for the $260.00 dollars that she donated to the Obama campaign, she donate it in increments, as high as $25.00,as low as $5.00, this is a campaign that receive $150 million in one month, and I'm sure if the Republican could prove that the money was illegal, they would have been telling it on theFox networks, what the Republican should be worried about , is why some high ranking Republicans are supporting the Obama campaign, like Colen Powell, but, he's Black, what about Reagan fomer chief of staff. so that must tell some of the idiots in the Republicans party ,those who are using race and terrorist for Obama demise, that the these Republicans supporters, brain is much larger than their.

    November 1, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. easy rider - gun toting in Tennessee - OBAMA

    So what...McCain has done NOTHING to get those child-abusers called the FLDS out of Arizona...maybe we should hear about THAT.

    Can we have some clarification from CNN on FLDS and the problems in the RED states and WHAT, SPECIFICALLY, has McCain done to eradicate these KOOKS???????

    Someone please enlighten me.

    November 1, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. Wayne ( Canada )

    what is the point of trying to post. they are always under moderation.

    November 1, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. PhilG

    From article:

    "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."

    From Dave:

    "The Republicans are behind it and someone should be fired or put in jail for violating confidentiality laws regarding someone's immigration status."

    Did either one of these Fine Americans call for Homeland Security to investigate or anyone to be fired when state government employees released confidential information about "Joe the Plumber"?

    How do we know it was Republicans? Maybe Democrats did it to have an issue to bash McCain with.

    November 1, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Brian Bishop

    CNN – Communist News Network

    "We Suppress the Truth"

    November 1, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  6. NJ

    Definitely suspicious. If the McCain camp wins on Tuesday, how can he be happy with himself that he has sunk so low?

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. Wayne ( Canada )

    this site puts all of my comments under moderation and never posts any of them.

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  8. millie

    The story about Obama's auntie is probably something that the McCain campaign, as well as the Obama campagn, has known for a very long time. Personally, I wonder if the "leak" came from Hillary Clinton.

    Mi in Mi

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Blue Virginia

    Obama 08!!

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. Ama,Ca.

    Shame on you Mr. McCain, what a maverick !
    Obama'08 , enough said.

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....................................

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. Steph

    I guess all he cares about is timing. He does not care if you know the truth or not. You want a president like him. Good luck.

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. SM

    Between my father and my mother I have 12 aunts and I do not know much about them. Do we really know everything about our relatives???
    This is not important as far as my vote is concerned....I am more concerned about what our new President can do for our Country.

    I will vote for the Obama/ Biden ticket .....they have shown immense leadership. Our country needs someone who can unite and lead us through this difficult period with their hopeful inspiration, intelligence and calm judgement.

    November 1, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  14. Ridgeway

    Everything about Obama's business is suspicious. What else is new?

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. Mamie

    It is very insulting getting letters from Palin & McCain
    begging for money. Iam a die hard democrat. Are they
    sending letters out to everyone in Florida?

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. I cast my ballot for Barack Obama

    Mufando.Mazakani-
    I must say, I'm rather thrilled that you are ineligible to vote. With all of your talk of "ill informed" voters, maybe you should get yourself informed a little bit. You're trying to say that because Hilter and Stalin talked of a "change" over a half a century ago, that Obama is trying to bring that same sort of change? If you truly beleive what you wrote, you must be lost. It's the 21st century..Come on now.

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  17. Samuel

    So...this is CNN and McCain's last hope at bringing down Obama? CNN stinks.

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. What About Joe?

    If Obama and his supporters think the leak about his aunt being an illegal immigrant was suspicious, what do they think about the leaks on Joe the Plumber about his taxes and licenses?

    What goes around comes around. Deal with it.

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. Karla

    Hey McCain! If this is all you can come up with 3 days before the election? There is so many things Obama could slam you with, but chooses not to because

    1) He has integrity.
    2) He is not desperate.

    Get a life!

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Foreigner from Asia

    Dear Americans, I just want to weight in my view as a foreigner from Asia. I see Obama an intelligent and calm leader. McCain a cunning and "do whatever to win election" leader. Please do not let deceptions steal the election again. All the intentional lies from GOP reflects very badly on America and also on the conservative values in America. Vote Obama/Biden, they are the only hope for America and a better world.

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. Kewpie for Obama

    Another show of desperation on behalf of the Republicans. Too late guys.

    Obama '08 Oh yeah!

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  22. Lisa

    So what does this have to do with Obama. I have lots of relatives who I cannot answer for. Who knows what they have done, that is not my fault. How funny that this aunt shows up now. Come on McPalin, you can do better than this......Hey has anyone seen Karl Rove?

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. ck

    A Leak??

    Suspicious???

    Too FUNNY!! The Democrats are such HYPOCRITES!!

    A man who is running for President has an Aunt that is an illegal alien, living off the taxpayers to boot!!

    But the Democrats can only find fault with the fact that it was "leaked" and "when it was leaked"

    So typical!

    Say hello to Socialism America!!

    November 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. LEISA M

    It's a sad case when our politics have to resort to this. I see why some folks rather not get involved and stay home. The presidency is about who have the best ideas for the country"s future and obviously McCain is out of ideas, first it was rallying hateful people at his campaigns, then robocalls, the attempting to link Obama to all the radical people when he was just a kid and now it's his aunt immigration status, which should be confidential. People care about their future not personal attacks on the other candidates.

    November 1, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. Mike88i

    Well, Bush did insinuate a "do whatever it takes" approach to winning after Senator McCain grabbed the nomination back in March. Republicans are definitely struggling with this "dirt."

    BTW, During that time, back in March, McCain wanted Bush at his side as much as possible on the campaign trail saying, "I appreciate his endorsement, and I appreciate his service to our country."

    If McCain dumped Bush then, what will he do to his supporters after he takes office?

    November 1, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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