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. Obama in MD

    *Yawn* Wake me up when you post some REAL news. Who the hell cares??? This is not going to help the Republicans get more votes! Funny.....

    November 1, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. Marco

    sad sad sad.. what does she have to do with obama's actual life.. she's an adult.. it's not his responsibility to look after every single person in his family. once again, silly politics get in the way of the real truth.. and that's that this country is in dire straits and all the republicans can do is try to divide us again.. focus on the issues.. not the garbage..

    btw.. i voted obama/biden already!

    November 1, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  3. Lost in Texas

    I guess this means now that Sen Obama can't appoint his aunt the cabinent position he had "promised" her. What a joke this is.

    November 1, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. Lorna

    I will sure be grateful when this is all over. I am so sick of seeing those short Howdy Doody arms with the thumbs pointed up.

    November 1, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. Sally Tatala, Oregon

    Big 'Effin Deal

    November 1, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  6. omaba_america

    So What? What the hec does that have to do with Obama? Come one people lets...

    November 1, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  7. besty ross

    Has anyone even confirmed if the AP story is true? I mean, has anyone confirmed that aunt is here illegally?

    November 1, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  8. Sebastian, Baton Rouge, LA

    I don't even know where half my uncles and aunts are. Gimme a break.

    November 1, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  9. omaba_america


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

    absolutely, Obama has a lot to hide. I am surprised the media did not hid the this fact. They seem to be in lock step with the Obama campaign. Comrade Obama and his cronies are in for a big surprise. people are starting to wake up.

    Go McCain and Palin 2008

    November 1, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  11. Ryan

    You liberals are such hypocrites. You moan and complain about everything the Republicans do, then when your candidate is hiding the truth (again) you still blame the Republicans. So immature, so uneducated, completely pathetic.

    November 1, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  12. JBatch

    J. Wrtight didn't work, Ayers didn't work, so now they are gonna go for the aunt. Coicendence? I think not.

    Obama/Biden 08/12

    November 1, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Who cares about someones Aunt?!?!?

    God knows I would never want anyone to hold me accountable for my relatives!!!

    November 1, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  14. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    The GOP slime machine continues to pump out fresh "news" every minute. These half-witted dirt bags are just sickening and I cannot wait to send them to the unemployment line like so many Americans they have sent to the unemployment line.

    They put this country into utter turmoil and they talk about this? I will dance a jig when these clowns are dumped on Pennsylvania Avenue. I think the GOP should take the proverbial hemlock and just go to sleep. They are doing more damage than good at this point

    November 1, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  15. k

    this is silly. I do not like either one running- but come on- we may not know what our aunts/uncles do- but something as big as immigration status????? notice how immigration has been ignored in the race?
    I'm sorry I still have a problem with his past affiation with the church- and I have a big problem for someone who is out for top possition who will not wear a pin of our flag. I find that an insult.
    Both have lied- both have pulle dstupid stunts – it's politics.
    I also have problems understanding why he wil not release who is funding him. If he had nothing to hide- then release the info. again because of his church stuff- I do worry.
    As stated the other is like what we have now-

    November 1, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  16. LJ

    That our government has apparently given a security clearance to a candidate for the Presidency, and obviously did not even investigate foreign-born family members, raises serious doubt in my mind about the thoroughness and accuracy of the investigation performed by our government. Reminiscent of the performance of our intelligence agencies prior to the 9/11 attacks.

    November 1, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  17. Glen

    MY god !! All your poor demoncrats. How dare we forget that NOBODY in the media has the right to question the Messiah Obama about anything.

    November 1, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. oh no

    I'm sorry, I fail to see the story here......., I don't even know what my aunt is doing right now...... I doubt if there are many people who do..... He's giving whatever BBBBBIIIIIIIIGGGGGGG contributions she has given back to her and has said that all laws that are applicable should be followed....., to bad she's not a huge sports star.... she might have been granted her asylum.......

    November 1, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. J.G.

    Whoever leaked this should be fired.

    I believe that Barack Obama didn't know her status. For one, have the Republicans or anyone for that matter..forgotten that Obama has only met his father a few times. That was definitely shown on his ads, and is a part of his story. So with that said, how exactly is he supposed to know everything about his aunt who is on his Dad's side???

    My b/f is African (raised in America)..and his father was born in Africa...he moved here in b/f has Aunts who moved here as well who he knows very little about. So if he was a presidential nominee, that would be an issue because he didn't know them..and their immigrant status?? Ridiculous. This should be investigated, as it is highly corrupt.

    November 1, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  20. DB25

    Considering the Rublicans are controlling the Federal government at the moment, this "news" shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Seems that it isn't changing anyone's mind tho – just like it didn't change anyone's mind when McCain's brother (who was campaigning for him) called the police to whine and complain about traffic in VA and made the campaign look petty and stupid.

    Obama can't control anything his aunt (half-aunt, actually) just like McCain can't control his brother.

    November 1, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. Because it's true for experience

    All together now;

    McCain is a HERO.

    Obama is a ZER0.

    McCain is a HERO.

    Obama is a ZER0

    November 1, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  22. dale

    Obama is nothing but lies. He tells you what you want to hear like that idoit woman who said" Obma is going to pay for the gas in my car and pay my mortgage" correct with my hard earned money.

    Obama's welfare state needs a whole bunch of suckers to pay for it.

    Biden is a jerk give me Palin anytime. The tide is turning.

    November 1, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  23. Wes

    Smears and fears. It's all the country wrecking Republican Party has left.

    November 1, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  24. Hispanic in CO

    Voted McCain/Palin today.


    Hispanic for McCain/Palin.

    November 1, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  25. Dwight

    What does OBAMA aunt living in the US have to do with him, First of all he has nothing to do with her, just like Sarah Palin's daughter getting pregnant has nothing to do with her. Repugs are pathetic! WAKE UP AMERICA

    November 1, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
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