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. No Hillary = No Obama

    You're darn right it's suspicious why didn't we know this a month or two ago – leave it to the wizards of the Obama campaign to keep this surpressed until Obama looks like a done deal.

    November 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. surprised????

    Health Angel November 1st, 2008 3:13 pm ET

    Like Joe the Plumber ???
    How many ordinary Patriotric Americans , have convictions
    For Domestic Violence , in front of Children
    Wurzelbacher , Joseph Docket # DVA0400222.
    Or 2 Divorces involving Battered Shelters – Domestic Abuse.
    Jennifer – 1997 -Docket # DR 19970476
    & Kimberley – Divorce 2007 – Had to seek shelter -Battered Home.

    Typical repugnant is Joe?

    Thank you Health Angel for such investigative and factual reporting....the news media, even if they knew it, wouldn't report it.

    Also, since when a news story is not verified before it actually is put on the air? CNN..please answer.

    November 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. chuckles199

    AXELROD is a professional liar.
    is she here illegally?
    YES_ or NO_?

    November 1, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Robert

    I also don't think the upper 5% has a clue of what the "American People want nor do they care. This is who Senator McCain seems to have more in common with.
    I believe that there are forces at work to insure that Bush/McCain wins a third term, just like he stole, I mean won... no I mean stole the previous two elections.


    November 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. rafael

    so now Obama is responsable of his Aunt????
    the only one responsable for her is the inmigration office/ICE and Mr Lou Dobbs,what does Obama has to do with this? nothing at all.
    Mcain/Palin are going down in 2 more days,they have 2 more days to keep their racist push FOR THE WHITE HOUSE,Obama will be the next
    president of the united state of america.

    November 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. Sherry

    I'd say McCain, Palin and buddies are desperate and would sell their own grandmothers if they thought it would get them elected. What a sad day for Americans to see this type of tactics. McCain/Palin's credibility....or what little they had left, has totally diminished. I think from their actions in this campaign, we can see what little integrity they have and what they would bring to the office of President, should they be so unfortunate to be elected.

    November 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. vahe

    once again people should be cought for leaking personal informations.. mccains cap is so nasty they might release Obamas and Bidesn social security numbers too..

    November 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. joan

    So what? Obama doesn't know well his paternal relatives. Leave them alone! Really sick and tired of McCamp's smear tactics. OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    November 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. Brandon from Ohio

    CNN admits they haven't confirmed anything yet, but run the story anyway. Why don't they just start putting the McLiar/Daily Scandal Palin banners up in the corners of each show? No point in trying to hide who they're backing.

    November 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Bama for Obama

    Obama can't be held accountable for what his aunt does nor more than I can be held accountable for mine. Nice try, but this trick won't work either!

    November 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Ayo


    November 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  12. Sue T

    Dirty tricks done dirt cheap.......that should be the McCain/Palin slogan.........

    November 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  13. Free the Truth

    John McCain wasn't born in the USA

    Palin and McCain are Domestic Home Grown Terrorists

    November 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. NV will be BLUE

    Don't care. She isn't running for POTUS. Obama needs to be our next president. Watching the investigation drama after election will be fun though.

    November 1, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Jeremiah

    no kidding it is suspicious

    November 1, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. surprised????

    further to my last the DEMONIC DUO will demonize Sen. Obama on the unverified news about his aunt.....demonic is too soft for this two non humans.

    November 1, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  17. Remy

    Millions are living illegally in USA. What is the problem here? If US immigration fails in its duties, who is responsible? If she lives here illegally and allowed to live so LONG, there must be thousands of cases like her in USA. Blame the Bush administration!

    November 1, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. carol kesling

    suspicious is not the word for it !!!!! frankly the mcsame camp will stop at nothing to smear obama !!!! all they do is piss the people off even more !!!!!!

    November 1, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Ben in NC

    Is Obama here legally?

    November 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. allycatred


    November 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Meg

    Seriously. McCain is so desparate at the moment that he will give his soul to you know to win. Then again, he already gave it up when he started taking all the Bush/cheney talking points and losing his maverick self after 2001.

    November 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Sandy - PA

    And why are we still not getting the story of how John McCain divorced his first wife after she became crippled in a car accident and ran off to marry a millionaire heiress???

    Let alone the whole story of Sarah Palin and her pastor – after what they put Obama through with Wright. And about Sarah Palin's pregnant teenage daughter? Abstinence education worked real well there, huh?

    And how about Palin and her husbands ties to a group that wants Alaska to secede from the US? And their religious group that believes Alaska will be the only place to survive the "coming global holocaust?"

    If you're going to dig dirt, let's go for the good dirt.

    November 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Bruce

    If Palin and Cheney went hunting, I wonder which animal would get shot.

    November 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Peter

    I think each candidate for President needs to take full responsibility for the behavior of their aunts, uncles, cousins, second-cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, and in-laws. We should demand no less.

    November 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Oklahoma Woman for Obama 08

    it was his half aunt...uuhmm yes pretty much a last ditch effort to throw out there when it's down to the wire. Who cares really?!! I mean i have no idea what my half cousin who is the son of my 3rd cousin by marriage is doing either!! What's a half aunt anyway???

    November 1, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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