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. Mike in Texas

    Again,

    The only people who will think this is some "major" event are those who aren't going to vote for Obama anyways. It just makes their decision not to vote for him more "justifiable". More people are voting for McCain, not because they like him, but because they think the is the lesser to two evils. Most who are voting for Obama are excited about voting for him. Just some food for thought.

    November 1, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. SK2 Delaware

    Big deal. My brother is a convicted felon serving federal prison time right now. My other brother and I are college graduates, military veterans with wonderful families and jobs. In fact my one brother is a cop. You can't hold me resposible for the actions of my jail-bird brother.

    More important than this non-issue, I want to know:

    1.) Why hasn't McCain released his military records? Does it have to do with the fact that he supposedly killed a man several decades ago?

    2.) Why hasn't Palin released her medical records? Does this have to do with the fact that she was already pregnant when she got married to her husband.

    3.) Why did McCain commit adultry on his first wife?

    Nice republican "values". They are supposed to be the religious ones, but how many of the 10 commandments have these two broken?

    Thou shalt not lie, steal, commit adultry, kill, etc. etc.
    (Maybe the 11th commandment was "Thou shalt no abuse their executive powers to fire a subordinate who won't break the law like his boss wants him to"

    People, don't be fooled by the liars and cheaters who are trying to steal this election. I am a registered Reblican who is voting for a Democrat for the first time ever. Obama tells me why I should vote for him. McCain only tells me why I shouldn't vote for the other guy. That isn't what our country need in a leader.

    OBAMA / BIDEN – The right change and direction for this country.

    November 1, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    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 !
    Muf.

    Where do you get this mess? What is it about Obama that makes you talk Hitler or Stalin. Seriously? Kid–you sound like the "race fearing people" you talk about. Thank God you don't have the right to vote yet!You've got some more growing up to do so you are not the "ill informed" voter we seek to avoid by the time you get a political voice. Go to college. Learn how to analyze facts rather than just running off your emotions–or mindlessly repeating the statements of your parents.

    November 1, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. Knockout!

    How do items like Obama's [Half-sister} surface at the end of a campaign?? I can only presume it has been planted to discredit Barack Obama,he has not really been in contact with her ,or heard from her until know,and she is here illegal,so why surface now,and send Barack a donation !!??
    Blog time ???????

    November 1, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  5. Marc

    All this non-sense stuff is like a balloon, full of hot air and not a breathable one...

    November 1, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  6. Becky, Midwest

    Oh, yes. It's always someone else's fault with Obama. He always questions everyone else. I can't stand Obama's false sense of superiority. He's just never in the wrong. Always doubts the doubters. What a prima dona. You are as phony as they come.

    November 1, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Millie Gee

    Why would Senator Obama be responsible for the actions of his aunt? I agree with Senator Obama, expect more "leaks."

    November 1, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. Deb

    Shame on you Palin/McCain/Bush! Maybe if you repubs had a better immigrants policy & treated those who make less than $250000 better!

    November 1, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. moderated zombie

    Of course,CNN won't mention the 1964 death at a Virginia naval base,because it involves ST.McCain.You are irrelevant CNN/FOX.Crawl back in your hole.Truth will out,Media Nazis.

    November 1, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. You've got to be Kidding Me!!!!

    This must be the "November Suprise" the reTHUGlicans were hinting at. Obviously this is a blatent attempt to hurt Obama 72 hours before the election to garner support for "Get off my Lawn!" McCain. The timing of this is extremely suspicious and may sway a few people, but this is mostly a non issue. Obama met his biological father twice in his life. HE DIDN'T KNOW HIM OR HIS SIBLINGS – ie his HALF aunt or uncles! I have folks in my family that I don't have in idea what they are doing legally or illegally and where they are at. This should not even be news, the charge her her legal status isn't even fully confirmed. This is all political.

    November 1, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. Isabella

    Once again Obama just states that he didn't know and gets away with it , just like he didn't know about Rev. Wright.
    So all these Obama supporters didn't hear when he told you that we are our brother's and sister's keeper but as usual that was just cheap rhetoric anyway.
    Obama , the biggest phoney ever , to run for the highest office and it is unbelievable how people are following him so blindly.

    November 1, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Mike

    Yes, the timing of this is suspicous.

    So is the timing of the recent raids into Pakistan and Syria. I am just hoping the American people have seen through the politics of fear and divisiveness this time...

    November 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. an undecided voter

    From the FOXNEWS website: Palin talked with Greta van Susteren about the WAR IN IRAN???

    This should be on the political ticker, CNN. I'm sure if Biden, Obama, or even McCain cited the "war in Iran" you'd be all over it. Enough about illegal immigrant aunts and Palin-only signs at rallies. Stick to the real news.

    “So from there, the first 100 days, how are we going to kick in the plan that will get this economy back on the right track and really shore up the strategies that we need over in Iraq and Iran to win these wars?”

    November 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  14. A365

    John McCain is related to a lawbreaker as well...Cindy McCain stole narcotics from her own charity. A non-rich, non-connected person gets five years in a federal prison for that.

    November 1, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. Sally in cali

    This just proves that the Republicans are race baiting.

    Obviously Obama does not have contact with his relatives. I heard McCain has slave-decedent relatives in the South. Let's talk about that, too.

    A person cannot be discriminated against because of their family's national origin. Italian-Americans, German-American, Irish-American, and on and on. Get real people. We all came from somewhere else even the Indians migrated here.

    November 1, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. Vic NY

    Hey Dave. I've got news for you – There are no "laws
    protecting the confidentiality of illegal immigrants.
    Where do you live? In outer space?
    Good Grief, are all Obama-ites this stupid and uninformed?

    November 1, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Tom

    I agree this timing is suspicious – smells like Rove. What a disgraceful campaign McCain has run, and this is the topper. The 2008 McCain sold his soul to the christian right to buy votes, and wound even failing to get votes and losing in hard-won reputation for integrity at the same time. It'd almost feel sorry for McCain if I wan't so disgusted by his ceaseless lies and lowbrow attacks. Anyways, I already voted – I put my country first and voted for Senator Obama.

    November 1, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. Mike in Texas

    Hey what about joe...

    Obama had nothing to do with Joe the Plumber and information about him being leaked. The media did some vetting, which a foreign term to the McCain campaign and found out these things about him. Joe the Plumber thrust himself into the Obama conversation...look at the video. Quit comparing apples to oranges.

    November 1, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Missouri Voter

    It won't change minds or the outcome of the election. Only 2 or 3 percent of the voters are still undecided. If family is within limits in this race, let's talk about the lack of morals that led to Governor Palin's underage daughter's pregnancy.

    November 1, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. brenda from charleston sc

    who cares? there are millions and milions of illegal immigrants in this country and we do nothing about it. my concern is that obama wants ME to give up my hear dearned money to support these illegals and he has family member sthat he wouldnt even lift a finger for esxcept to throw them under the bus. the man has absolutely no concept of family and what family means to real americans. he only cares about himself. how selfish and unpatriotic!

    November 1, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. Ohg Rea Tone

    Too much fear – not enough thoughtfulness. Barack Obama will govern from the center of the political world. .........................

    http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/11/01/obama-will-govern-from-the-center/

    November 1, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Texas

    Yeah, and I heard that Obama's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate once took the same flight as the gardener that lived next door to a man who gave a haircut to the guy who picks up the trash at the bus stop where a former member of the Nation of Islam catches a ride to work.

    Whatever.

    November 1, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Texas

    Yeah, and I heard that Obama's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate once took the same flight as the gardener that lived next door to a man who gave a haircut to the guy who picks up the trash at the bus stop where a former member of the Nation of Islam catches a ride to work.

    November 1, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Eric, the legal immigrant

    This is nonesense, what has this got to do with the election. Talk about how Republicans have messed up the country that I am working hard to become a citizen of. I love this country and I think we should let out our better angels as Obama says and let go the politics of hate.
    OBAMA/BIDEN:08

    November 1, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. Barbara P

    Sounds like a McCain cheap shot to me. If this was an issue for the GOP why didn't they announce it 30 days ago? Just another ploy by the GOP to divide us as a nation.

    November 1, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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