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For Obama Aunt, a Quiet South Boston Life

By Keith B. Richburg and Judy Rakowsky
NEW YORK -- A Kenyan aunt of Sen. Barack Obama has been living quietly for years in a South Boston public housing project, according to public housing officials. The Obama campaign later confirmed the woman, Zeituni Onyango, is the senator's paternal aunt.

In his memoir, Obama wrote affectionately about the woman, known as "Aunt Zeituni," who was the first Kenyan relative he met when he traveled there.

William McGonigle, deputy director of the Boston Public Housing Authority, said officials only became aware of Onyango's connection to the Democratic presidential nominee last week, after receiving inquiries from a reporter with the Times of London. Onyango then confirmed the relationship.

He said that Onyango worked as a residential health advocate for the housing agency in exchange for a stipend.

"She is a delightful lady and she did a wonderful job as a public health advocate and she's been a great resident," McGonigle said. "She's not looking for fame or notoriety, and we were as surprised as anyone to learn she was related to the Democratic nominee."

"She had not hinted at it at all," McGonigle added.

Since the Times of London published its story on Onyango, reporters began gathering outside the red-brick building, part of the West Broadway public housing development that had recently undergone a $60 million renovation. But Onyango was not there; she was seen leaving her apartment at mid-morning Thursday after she telephoned housing authority officials to request help in keeping reporters at bay.

"She is asking that everyone respect her right to privacy, and we will do our best to see that she can live in peace," McGonigle said.

In earlier, brief comments to two reporters from the Boston Globe, Onyango said she wanted to stay out of the way of her nephew's campaign so close to the election.
"We'll talk after the election," she was quoted saying. "Come talk to me after the fifth."

An Obama campaign spokesman later confirmed to the Globe that Onyango was the senator's aunt but gave no further details.

Campaign records show Onyango donated at least five times to Obama's campaign, in July and September, three times for $5 and twice for $25. She listed her occupation as "RHA Volunteer/Boston Housing Authority."

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 31, 2008; 9:53 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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Comments

The Times of London is a Rupert Murdoch owned rag. A once great newspaper- today it is just a political tool of the Mudoch empire like Faux News. They leaked the Bush regime's "October surprise" there first to avoid legal repercussions. The Republicans have long used the DoJ illegally to manipulate elections. This is just more of the same.

Posted by: garyhurd | November 1, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

This is the best the muckrakers on the right could come up with? The depths to which the Republican machinery will sink to sway voters is deplorable to the point of being sickening. What does a poor old woman who risked everything she had to come to America and try to make a better life for herself, who scrounged up all she could to support her nephew, a nephew whom she has every reason to be proud of... what does any of this have to do with Obama being elected president? If McCain seizes on this opportunity and somehow seeks to use it against his opponent, I will lose every single shred of the tiny bit of respect I have left for him.

Posted by: DonMalvo | November 1, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

November surprise? Unbelievable that we have to thank the UK press for finding Obamas Aunt as our own media is so obviously in the tank for Obama that they have failed to vet him at all. Woodward and Bernstein would have broke the Auntie Illegal Alien story months ago. WaPo, you are a sorry shadow of the paper you once were.

Sadly, Obamas lemmings will believe that he didn't know of her. He wrote about her in his book - she contributed to his campaign - she's living illegally in the US and is illegally taking our tax dollars via public housing - but Obama didn't know?? Please.

I hope the undecided voters have their ears open today. This intentional deception at the hands of the man who wants to rule the planet could make a huge difference in their vote.

Posted by: JackESpratt | November 1, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

So do the snide comments about Obama's aunt open the door to Palin's daughter again? What about Palin's other family? What about McCain's sister in law, Cindy sure wasn't sharing.

I am so glad I got to choose all of my family members, after all since my aunts and uncles were born before me, G@d gave me all this power and control to choose them. He also gave me the ability to makes all of their choices. G@d also told me I could implant extra brain cells in my friend who are voting for MCcain because Palin is pretty or just like them.

For the first time in my adult life I have a presidential candidate who exudes intelligence and I have already voted for Obama.

Posted by: grandma4 | November 1, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

WAPO the Trail-
A Kenyan aunt of Sen. Barack Obama has been living quietly for years in a South Boston public housing project, according to public housing officials. The Obama campaign later confirmed the woman, Zeituni Onyango, is the senator's paternal aunt.

In his memoir, Obama wrote affectionately about the woman, known as "Aunt Zeituni," who was the first Kenyan relative he met when he traveled there.

William McGonigle, deputy director of the Boston Public Housing Authority, said officials only became aware of Onyango's connection to the Democratic presidential nominee last week, after receiving inquiries from a reporter with the Times of London. Onyango then confirmed the relationship.

He said that Onyango worked as a residential health advocate for the housing agency in exchange for a stipend.

****AP: Obama aunt from Kenya living in US illegally*** | MiamiHerald.comOct 31, 2008 ... WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama's aunt, a Kenyan woman who has been quietly living in public housing in Boston, is in the United States illegally ...

www.miamiherald.com/news/politics/


HOW DOES AN ILLEGAL ALIEN LIVE OUT IN THE OPEN IN TAXPAYER SUPPORTED HOUSING AND WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT FOR FIVE YEARS BEFORE GETTING CAUGHT???
(...with some help from her Millionaire Senator nephew?)

Posted by: thecannula | November 1, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Someone posted, Since Obama is a millionaire he should be sending his aunt money instead of vice versa.

You are a moron. How many people you know send their aunt money? Probably less than 2%...so don't go there!

Have you sent your aunt any money?

Posted by: VotedForThatOne | November 1, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

From the AP:

"While technically not a U.S. person, Onyango has contributed to her nephew's campaign and intends to vote for him on Tuesday. 'I heard I'm not allowed to vote, but hey, the judge said I couldn't live here, either, but here I am,' Onyango stated through an interpreter."

Well, okay, maybe that wasn't from the AP.

Posted by: Senjata | November 1, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

So Joe the Plumber, a US citizen, is destroyed when he dare questions Obama. Yet Obama's aunt, who is illegally living in the US, is illegal receiving public assistance, is illegally living in public housing, is illegally receiving pay for a federal and state agency, and illegally donating to Barack Obama's campaign with funneled taxpayer money, is given a free pass.

The Washington Post is a piece of dirt. It is the most unethical newspaper in the country. Its bias is legendary.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | November 1, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The allegation, of course, is that Obama was born in Kenya.

_______


The FACT is, that Berg v. Obama was DISMISSED.

Posted by: afgooey74 | November 1, 2008 4:09 AM | Report abuse

I sooooo totally want the Republicans and the McCain campaign to run with this little tidbit in the last 48 hours. The visual of the McCain campaign going after a little old lady would be priceless!

Reverend Wright.....STRIKE ONE!

Bill Ayers..........STRIKE TWO!

Auntie Obama........STRIKE THREE, YOU'RE OUT!!

That One 08.

Posted by: afgooey74 | November 1, 2008 4:07 AM | Report abuse

The issue is here, people, what other secrets is Obama hiding? Politicians are usually open books and family usually is on notice that their lives too may be under scrutiny. But, just when you think you know about his family, another one pops out of the woodwork. And, despite Mr. Millionare Obama's talk about how compassionate he is, it seems these family members all live in squalor.

The problem with Obama is that we no nothing about him. He refuses to open medial records, school records, birth records (Hawaii didn't confirm his birth, they sealed the records) and nothing about his family.

He claims, in his book, to have liberally used drugs and party in college, but somehow got into Harvard Law? How'd that happen? Where'd the money come from? He claims this great record as a community organizer, but not one person who has worked with him has stepped forward to confirm any thing that he did. Where are these people and why hasn't the media been looking for them? How come no one has confirmed this so-called experience? The only people we know he is associated with are convicted racketeer Resko, domestic terrorist Ayres, and his racist pastor, Wright. He claims no association with the vote fraud group Acorn, but records show he acted as the group's legal counsel. Why isn't the media checking this out? And now, it's discovered that the LA Times has video of Obama partying with Palestinian terrorists and the media is just letting it go? These are the same people sending hordes of media to Alaska to uncover any smidgen of info about Sarah Palin. And, by the way, Obama took three days to finally make an "emergency" visit to Hawaii to visit his sick grandma, probably spending infinitely more than the RNC spent on Palin's wardrobe. Why haven't we heard about this visit and how is grandma is doing? Was there another purpose to this trip?

I'm just a everyday American and I'm coming up with these questions. Why isn't the media? Inquiring minds want to know about our next president. So far, the only info we know about Obama, work experience-wise, I, just a regular person, have a more extensive resume than Obama. Instead, he appears to be hiding information. What's on his resume that he's leaving out. And, if this is all he has to show for his young years, well, to be elected president of the US, I'm looking for someone more accomplished.

Posted by: wsbowles | October 31, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

JakeDuh,

Of course you have no legal standing to sue. You have no CASE!!

All you have are (baseless and already repudiated) allegations out there, that you will repeat ad infinitum until they become myth.

Stop trying to drag us down to your level of ignorance!

Posted by: mabkhar | October 31, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

It is so typical of Americans to just poo-poo Obama the "millionaire" (recent millionaire at that) for not helping his aunt. As an African I have faced these issues. Although I am not a millionaire, we have considerably more money than our African relatives who we give money to all the time, but would never go so far as to buy them a house.

First of all Africans have ENORMOUS families you cannot help everyone. Obama's father was married to multiple women and he easily will have 1,000+ on his father's side. Secondly, you can't automatically look down on the housing project. The woman performs a job in exchange for her housing and there is pride in that. Furthermore for many people coming from the developing world or global south, an American housing project is not a bad deal. I am not being condescending, I am speaking the truth.

Finally in a lot of African cultures it would not be respectful for her to ask for money for Obama for a house. Maybe she could ask for money for school fees or for medicine etc, but unless she wanted to live with Obama she could not ask him for money to get her a better house. There is also a lot of complication as to who can ask for money and from whom. If she was married, it would not neccessarily be her place to ask for money from her own family, but to ask from her husband's family etc.. It is very complicated. Sometimes because of war or extreme circumstances one might forego these rules. Despite what some of you think, us Africans do have complicated social codes too.The fact that his father abandoned him might also make her feel uneasy to approach her for money. I honestly doubt that Obama is unfeeling towards her plight.

Frankly, the level of political discourse in this country is disgusting. The insults the attacks on people's faith. Usually coming from people who claim to be Christians. The amount of racist junk I've read throughout this campaign (and sexist and ageist too against Palin, Clinton and McCain) saddens me. How dare people insult someone's family without even knowing the specifics of culture and circumstance. Fine, you don't agree with Obama, but no need to insult his family too.

Posted by: uvaetoile | October 31, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

With nutjob McCain/Palin "supporters" such as Ashley "Backwards B" Todd, meth-heads and white supremacist-would-be-murderer-assassins trying to cause trouble for Obama, who could blame Ms Onyango for wanting her privacy.

Posted by: used2livethere | October 31, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

With nutjob McCain/Palin "supporters" such as Ashley "Backwards B" Todd, meth-heads and white supremacist-would-be-murderer-assassins trying to cause trouble for Obama, who could blame Ms Onyango for wanting her privacy.

Posted by: used2livethere | October 31, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The "big deal" is that only NATURAL BORN citizens can be President -- I don't have the legal standing to sue, but I'm just saying there are allegations out there -- I simply want McCain to keep ALL his options open. I don't trust ACORN either.

Posted by: JakeD | October 31, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Obama Supporters Using Huckabee in new online ad.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YADwYU-phpI

Criminal charges may be brought up on Palin for ethics issues? http://www.hotpres.com

Posted by: pastor123 | October 31, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Why are we still bothering the candidate's relatives and family, even if they are distant?

How is this a story worth publishing? Obama met his Kenyan father once for 1 to 2 months when he was 10 years old and has seen some of his Kenyan father's family maybe once or twice in his adult life.

Obama was raised by his White American mother, grandmother and grandfather!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! Only 4 more days of this crap until President Obama is elected.

Posted by: AJ2008 | October 31, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Why are people still talking about the "birth certificate" issue? Not only has the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed its authenticity but there are birth announcements in the local Hawaiian newspapers dating to the time of his birth that back it up. What a bunch of hooey...

Now, as far as his aunt living in public housing, that is where she lives and has lived. Even though it isn't a lush condominium or private home, it is possible that she considers it her home and hometown. My mother, for one, could live anywhere she chooses but stays in a lower middle class neighborhood that has some serious crime (and other negative) issues, but feels comfortable around her neighbors and home.

So, what is the big deal?

Posted by: capemh | October 31, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

The allegation, of course, is that Obama was born in Kenya.

Posted by: JakeD | October 31, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Yes of course Jake. Barack Obama is not a naturalized citizen, despite being born in Hawaii.

Which US state was John McCain born in again? Panama?

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | October 31, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Yes of course Jake. Barack Obama is not a naturalized citizen, despite being born in Hawaii.

Which US state was John McCain born in again? Panama?

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | October 31, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

My only observation on this story is that if this nice lady is living in a public project, her Millionaire nephew should be sending her donations, not vice versa....doesn't he also have a half brother living in poverty in Kenya?


Posted by: thecannula | October 31, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

At least this Obama relative is living on more than $1 a month.

Posted by: JakeD | October 31, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I doubt anyone other than McCain has standing to sue Obama over his birth certificate. If Obama was born in Kenya, however, he is not a "natural born" citizen.

Posted by: JakeD | October 31, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Jake D, glad to see the comments are still banal! Some Buckeye "Whack Job" is suing to have Obama produce a birth certificate or not have his votes counted in Ohio on Tuesday. This kind of nonsense further sullies McCain and the GOP. This Republican packed up and left in 2004 with no regrets. The country seems to be following.

Posted by: NotBubba | October 31, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Of course she wants "privacy" (and no one asking about where Barack was born ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 31, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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