March 26th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Family ties: Presidential candidates share notable ancestors

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A new study says Clinton is related to actress Angelina Jolie."](CNN) - Perhaps, now the candidates will play nice.

For all their insistence on how unlike they are from one another, the three U.S. presidential candidates share some noteworthy family connections, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has found.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who has made his opposition to the Iraq war a linchpin of his campaign, is distantly related not only to U.S. President George W. Bush but also to another wartime leader - former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Because of his shared ancestry with President Bush, Obama is also indirectly related to his rival on the Republican side, Sen. John McCain.

McCain, it turns out, is a sixth cousin of First Lady Laura Bush.

Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton, is related to beatnik author Jack Kerouac, Canadian Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau and Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Prince Charles of England.

Clinton also shares ancestors with Grammy Award-winning singers Celine Dion and Madonna.

The senator won a Best Spoken Word Grammy for the audio version of her book, "It Takes a Village." Rival Obama also snagged one in the same category for his book "The Audacity of Hope."

Conservatives who sometimes accuse Democrats of being in bed with liberal Hollywood elites may have been handed one more round of ammunition by the Society's findings.

Clinton, the Society said, is related to Angelina Jolie. And Obama is related to Jolie's boyfriend Brad Pitt.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, says it is the oldest such organization in the country. Members spent three years tracing the lineage of the candidates.

Among their other findings:

McCain, the Vietnam War veteran who spent five years as a prisoner of war, descends from a long line of kings: Scottish King William the Lion, English King Edward I and French King Louis VII.

Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, is "related to millions of contemporary Americans – perhaps even a significant percentage of the population," the researchers said.

He is cousins with six U.S presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford. He is also linked to American artist Georgia O'Keefe, the Duchess of Windsor and two men who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Most surprisingly, Obama - the man who could become America's first African-American president - is linked by ancestry to Robert E. Lee, who commanded the armies of the Southern slave-holding states during the American civil war.

Bedfellows, it turns out, make for strange politics.

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. MN Woman

    And we care about this because...... God, CNN, some days you're like opening a People or US magazine. YUCK

    March 26, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |

    Obama related to Bush. LMAO...Guess that's why they both promise "CHANGE" as a platform but neither one did or will deliver it.

    GO HILLARY GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Elizabeth

    Well, as they always say: "Politics makes strange bedfellows"!

    March 26, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Mike

    I am afraid to know if Obama is related to me because he might sell me out like he did his grandmother.

    March 26, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. G. Morganroth, IL

    Angelina Jolie? . . She wishes.

    March 26, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. C.Lo

    RALPH, YOU need a diploma and Education

    March 26, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Peter

    So Obama is related to Bush AND Cheney. That explains a great deal.

    March 26, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Hmmm....

    Obama, you rock!

    March 26, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. NickNascim

    Jolie got the Looks THATS FOR SURE : )

    March 26, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Eric S

    not seeing it

    March 26, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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