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Obama, at Fundraiser, Pronounces Himself an 'Honorary AAPI'

By Jonathan Weisman
At a fundraiser sponsored by a coalition of Asian American political groups, Sen. Barack Obama today pronounced himself an "honorary AAPI," or Asian American and Pacific Islander.

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) introduced Obama at the fundraiser, held in a ballroom of Washington's posh Mayflower Hotel, noting that Obama's family includes Asian Americans and that he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia.

"The son of an immigrant, raised among AAPI's in Hawaii, Barack Obama understands the struggles of immigrants searching for an identity in America," he said.

The candidate's entrance was greeted by an extended ovation. His 20-minute speech dwelled heavily on immigration and Asian-American issues, as well as his own background. Born in Hawaii, raised for a time in Indonesia, Obama said his first college roommates were Pakistani and Indian. "Most importantly," he said, "I have a sister who is half Indonesian, who is married to a Chinese Canadian. I don't know what that makes my niece."

"Being here is especially meaningful to me because I consider myself to be an honorary AAPI member, and I think I've got some pretty good credentials," he said.

The event was jointly sponsored by the Asian American Finance Committee and the Democratic National Committee's AAPI Leadership Council, South Asian American Leadership Council and Indo-American Leadership Council. Event chairmen contributed or raised $33,100.

Obama ditched his usual stump speech for a more focused talk on issues of interest to the audience. He promised health care initiatives geared toward Asian American problems, gave a full-throated endorsement of federal support for minority-owned businesses (just days after McCain backed state initiatives banning affirmative action), and promised to restore the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

"We are a nation of laws, and if people are breaking our immigration laws, there should be consequences," he said. "But I also believe that one of the things that sets this country apart is that there is no one who looks like a typical American.... You can have a Honda who is a congressman. You can have an Obama who is a presidential candidate."

The audience was heavy with South Asian, Southeast Asian and East Asian Americans, but there were plenty of attendees from other ethnic backgrounds, as well. Among those gathered were Reps. Bobby Scott of Virginia, Joe Baca of Calif., the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, delegate from American Samoa, David Wu of Oregon and Xavier Bacerra of California.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 29, 2008; 5:43 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama Again Huddles with Vice Presidential Vetter
Next: Obama Knocks 'Old Politics' of McCain


One thing you wouldn't find in Barack Obama's family is THE JEW. White, black, yellow, christian, muslim....there's all in Barack family. America's REAL enemies SINCE 1947 tremble in fear.

Posted by: playa | July 29, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

"Funny...isn't it? You think they'd put their money where their mouth is?"

Well, they spend so much on accountants and lawyers to minimize their taxes ... it's quite the burden.


Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"We have alienated the entire Muslim world"

The Kurds love us.

Ditto the Moslems we saved from the Serbs.

Posted by: Chuckamok | July 29, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what's the matter with his pronouncement? BHO has a habit of lying and saying stupid things, just throw this latest on the pile.

The more disturbing pronouncement was a couple weeks ago, when BHO seemed to think the word "raza" included him:

Also, Honda is a real piece of work, opposing the melting pot and sounding like an "honorary reconquistador":

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 29, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't he pronounce himself an honorary "rich American" and donate all his money to the government to solve our problems? He and all his "rich" friends can do the same...because they do believe the government is the solution and the rich don't pay enough.

Funny...I have yet to find a democrat that is "rich" and "volunteers" to pay more. And, I can't find a middle class democrat that can explain why the elite hollywood "rich" aren't lining up to give more to the government. Same goes for Ted K., John K, and John E.

Funny...isn't it? You think they'd put their money where their mouth is?

Posted by: MakeUsProud | July 29, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's incredibly arrogant of him. It's one thing if your hosts proclaim you an "Honorary X," but it's entirely different when you just claim the title yourself. As an Asian-American, I'm disappointed by Obama's actions here. I grew up in largely black and hispanic neighborhoods as a child, but I would never go to a black organization meeting and proclaim myself an "Honorary Black."

Posted by: JTH | July 29, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have us at war in two countries as a result of Republican lies and deceptions, and we might be in two more wars--Iran and Pakistan--by November. We have alienated the entire Muslim world and most of the rest.

The dollar has lost 60% of its value against the euro, and the once mighty dollar is losing its reserve currency role.

The Republicans' policies have driven up the price of both oil and gold by 400%.

Inflation is in double digits. Employment is falling.

The Republican economy in the 21st century has been unable to create net new jobs for Americans except for low wage domestic services such as waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks and hospital orderlies.

Republican deregulation brought about fraud in mortgage lending and dangerous financial instruments which have collapsed the housing market, leaving a million or more homeowners facing foreclosure. The financial system is in disarray and might collapse from insolvency.

The trade and budget deficits have exploded. The US trade deficit is larger than the combined trade deficits of every deficit country in the world.

The US can no longer finance its wars or its own government and relies on foreign loans to function day to day. To pay for its consumption, the US sells its existing assets--companies, real estate, toll roads, whatever it can offer--to foreigners.

Republicans have run roughshod over the US Constitution, Congress, the courts and civil liberties. Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they believe that our civil liberties make us unsafe--precisely the opposite view of our Founding Fathers. Yet, Republicans regard themselves as the Patriotic Party.

The Republicans have violated the Nuremberg prohibitions against war crimes, and they have violated the Geneva Conventions against torture and abuse of prisoners. Republican disregard for human rights ranks with that of history's great tyrants.

The Republicans have put in place the foundation for a police state, which they have no problem using against fellow citizens!

We must get the Republicans totally out of power, or we will have no country left for any of us!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh- been on the Mange-land TOO Long!

POpolo! ;~)

Posted by: RAT | July 29, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

LOL! So the Happa Haole/ Happa Papolo Ufa-Guy tinks he one local-boy again?!

No SHIBAI! :-(

"Barry" Bagged the Rocks, and threw the Bra's under his Bus!

Decided to become something that Islanders don't do, become a RACIST!

One Local Boy gone VERY BAD!

Barack is NOT Kama'iana!

HE, is just one mo F'ing Happa Haole-Haole!


Posted by: RAT-The | July 29, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Peter....Wow you reak with shameful jealousy....maybe when you grow'll be just like Mr. Obama. I respect who he is. He can't help it because he has a mixture of several different races and cultures in his DNA. America is a nation of immigrants and as an African American, I happen to have irish, italian, carribean and native american in my dna.....are you p$ssed that I have multiple dna as well.....get a more than likely have a mixture of various cultures as well, including african american. Yikes!!

Posted by: stop hating... | July 29, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is a son of Hawai'i. He doesn't need to call himself an honorary AAPI -- we've always considered him one of us.

Posted by: Keith Kamisugi | July 29, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

WOW really, your african and asian. You are like tiger woods. No wonder your so good at getting a ball in a hole. I tell you if McCain wasnt so incapable. I would vote for him. Cause Obama is sooo arrogent. I hate how he trys to be everything to everybody.
At this point I dont think any Veep Pick can help John McCain, He is a sinking ship. An Old, Old, sinking pirate ship or perhaps a viking long boat. McCain cant win this, He is climbing a mountain on a walker., I dont think McCain can win as the GOP Nominee anyway. Could you imagine McCain even having enough energy to run your local Mcdonalds. Seriously. Think about it next time your in line watching the Mcdonalds manager run around taking orders and shouting orders. McCain couldnt do it. So I ask You, how will McCain be president??? Looks as though the RNC got behind the wrong candidate and they will pay for it., Guess they should of let the primary season play out without trying to minupulate the outcome.. Good news is i think McCain is just about done, I wouldnt doubt the GOP ditch him at the last second and run a younger more charasmatic charachter. Did you see him knock all that stuff off the shelf at the supermarket. the video is at all the while barack obama is looking like an NBA super star, (arrogence and all) even taking time to stop and have a cigar break video at

Posted by: Peter | July 29, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

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