November 1st, 2008
06:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama aide: Timing of news about his aunt 'suspicious'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. dematheart

    Obama is responsible for himself and immediate family; his aunt is resposible for herself.

    How is Obama responsible for her actions? If you have irresponsible relatives, that is not your fault, or it?

    So SHUT UP you radical republican maniacs.

    Obama-Biden 08/12!!

    November 1, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Hanna

    Politics in the US have become nothing more than a modified Homecoming King Contest.

    November 1, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. sue texas


    November 1, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Bobby Burns

    obama is all about his self no one else what a con... look at the way he treats his family

    November 1, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  5. A Really Conservative Realist

    Like most that vote BO, this will make little difference. Heck, if it broke tomorrow that he was a member of the communist party, lots and lots of folks would still vote for him.

    November 1, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. reddy

    You all OBAMA supporters, Obama wrote lot abou tthis Aunt, and spok elot abo tthis aunt inhis lot of speeches why wouldn't he know about her? He know it he only wna to use her to his advantage. I hope you all realize this before all is over. Obama is a self served selfish Politician

    November 1, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. budswisr

    If Obama wins the election it will only goes to show more people are wanting more out of the government so they do not have to work for a living. Obama's biggest supporters are those in this country illeagally, those on welfare and those to lazy to work. Hail to King Obama.

    November 1, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. jeremy

    This is funny when McCain came to my son school without inform everyone. My 2nd grade 7 yrs old shook hand with Mr. McCain and was asked who is your mom vote for? My son said:"Obama". and he also asked back "Who is your Mama, what is your Mama name?" McCain, just rolled his eyes, got in the car and ran off.

    I thought this may be funny story to tell, after my kid said:"I met John McCain at school today." I asked him, it's from the school's TV? he said, no. It was in person.

    November 1, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. tina

    Obama never released his medical records, just a letter saying he was 'just great'. Stop picking on Palin.

    November 1, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. Holly

    Do people REALLY think that Obama had intimate knowledge of this Aunt from this FATHER'S side of the family??? His father who he met ONCE in his life when he was 10 years old??? Seriously??? Obama has no real connections with his father's side of the family. I'm not saying that as if it's something to celebrate. It's actually kind of sad. But it's the truth.

    November 1, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  11. ken

    Is Obama here Legally? that is the question

    November 1, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  12. Mary Mo

    No one has been mindin' the Obiden store for a long time. Now that their campaign has made it clear that, if elected, the news media will be terminally changed, the news carries more and more. After all, Obama has been very succinct about his feelings of the Constitution. I'll be praying for whomever wins, but mostly I'll be praying for all Americans who have more to lose than they can possibly begin to understand. God bless America

    November 1, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  13. Struggle Over

    We have Overcame!

    November 1, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  14. Bobby Burns

    obama never knows anything about relatives or wright,ayers, resko,farrakann , does he know anything/??????????? sure is not fit to be president. this man is a con artist

    November 1, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  15. Jerry

    Even if Obama's relative is in the U.S illegally, this should not be a part of the campain. It shows how McCain will do anything to shed negative light on Obama. Maybe he needs to still Obama and his wifes under wear and see if they have skid marks in them.

    If Obama were white, I honestly beleive most of these issues would not be surfacing. McCain is a dirty old man that appears to have mental issues from being a prisoner. I am afraid he might have flahbacks and do the wrong thing

    November 1, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  16. Julie

    Who cares about Obama's half Aunt. You know if you go high enough up the tree, we're all related and we were all at one point illegal coming from Europe. I for one am voting AGAINST John McCain.

    November 1, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. jet lag

    75 million Evangelicals are smiling right now at this news.
    Of course they don't care about 50 million people dying in
    Africa in war,famine and genocide,but one aunt here lllegally ,Wow!.

    Let's see McCain wifes money is from alcohol and his big contributors
    are members of the gambling casinos including old Senator D.Amaoto
    who is on the board of our Native American c pregnancy ,oh that's not sin either.

    November 1, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    No need to term news suspicious. She has been living a lie.
    So what is wrong with the truth, no matter what the timing is.
    Is America supposed to COVERUP for Obama??

    November 1, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  19. Jen

    Elle is WRONG! McCain wasn't even born in the USA

    November 1, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. william

    I would like to know why CNN is now trying to sabotage Obama's election run. You have aired Obama's reveal three days from election so that you could bring up Rev. Wright and Land lord convict. I believe you did that to help McCain, because he would not bring him up himself. I thought CNN was an unbias, now I know different. I will no longer watch your station.

    November 1, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  21. rachel

    no one cares about this. Anyone want some more info on the Palin's involvement/registration with the Alaskan Independance party? That would be the one where Alaska wants to SUCCEED from the US. Actually this would be focusing on things that DON'T MATTER to Americans who want a good leader. Just as Obama's aunt doesn't matter in this election. Case closed.

    November 1, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  22. Bobby Burns

    want to see the real obama go to and then tell me you will vote for OBAMA. THIS VIDEO SHOWS YOU EVERYTHING A MUST SEE BEFORE YOU VOTE I WILL BE SUPRISED IF CNN LETS THIS GET POSTED

    November 1, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  23. vic

    I'm sure the press will blow this out of proportion and John McCain will make at least 5 nasty attack ads about it.
    WHY don't the press do their job and tell the American citizens about Palin and her family ties to the Alaskian Independence Party and how hey want to leave the United States.

    November 1, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  24. Jerry

    McCain is a diry man that appears to do anything to get elected. Tomorrow he will report that Obama and his wife have dirty under wear.

    I seriously beleive McCain has unknown mental issues from having been a prisoner of war. Someone needs to look at that. Just think if he has a flashback, which is normal for prisoners and war victims, them we must suck up the guilt. If Obama were white he would not have these issues. Maybe he needs to jump in a bucket of bleach like Micael Jackson.

    November 1, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  25. John

    Wow.. why is that everyone he hangs with or writes about is a douche?? Man, I hope he picks a great supporting cast and not the people like Bush has picked... could it be that this guy is just more cleaver then us–the way Bush was... I mean, Bush talked about change too... and change did come.

    November 1, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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