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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama's aunt: "I loved President Bush," "He is my No. 1 man in my life because he helped me when I really needed that help."

A sad story out of Boston, and in its way a reminder of Maureen Dowd's point that Obama's cool seems to exclude personal loyalty:
President Barack Obama's aunt buried her face in her hands and sobbed as she described her anguish that she no longer has contact with him and his family after the revelation she had been living illegally for years in the United States in public housing.

Zeituni Onyango (zay-TUH'-nee awn-YAHN'-goh) told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that she is troubled that her immigration woes have made her a political liability to her nephew.
Onyango, the half sister of Obama's late father, says she has exiled herself from the family after attending Obama's inauguration because she didn't want to become fodder for his foes. Obama and his family have not reached out to her either, she said.
"Before, we were family. But right now, there is a lot of politics, and me, I am not interested in any politics at all," said Onyango, whose appeal for asylum from her native Kenya is before an immigration judge in Boston.

The Obamas are her only family in the United States, she said.

"It is very sad when such a thing happens. There are people, outsiders, you know, they come in between, they divide a family," she said last week. "It's not easy."
Onyango, 57, is protective of Obama and said she never asked him to intervene in her case and didn't tell him about her immigration difficulties.
"I carry my own cross," she said. "He has nothing to do with my problem."
The White House said Obama has had no involvement in his aunt's case and believes it should run its ordinary course.
If you buy Dowd's suggestion that Obama's willingness to dismiss allies and embrace adversaries is some kind of personal flaw, it's still not clear that it's a presidential flaw. He would have been pilloried, of course, for any official attempt to help a family member -- as Sarah Palin was when she tried to get an allegedly abusive brother-in-law tossed off the police force. (SOURCE POLITICO)

Onyango reserved special words of kindness for former President George W. Bush for a directive he put in place days before the election requiring federal agents get high-level approval to arrest fugitive immigrants, which directly affected Onyango. The directive made clear that U.S. officials worried about possible election implications of arresting Onyango.
She said she wants to thank Bush in person for the order, which gave her a measure of peace but was lifted weeks later.
"I loved President Bush," Onyango said while moving toward a framed photo of Bush and his wife standing with Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House on inauguration day. "He is my No. 1 man in my life because he helped me when I really needed that help."

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