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A Mother-in-Law in the White House

Michelle Obama (R) stands beside her mother Marian Robinson (L) at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

Updated 4:09 p.m.
By Michael D. Shear
The White House will have an in-law suite.

Marian Robinson, Barack Obama's mother-in-law, will be living with the first couple at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the transition confirmed today.

Robinson, 71, was a regular feature on the Obama campaign trail, helping her daughter -- the new first lady -- to take care of the Obamas's two girls, Sasha and Malia.

Now, as Obama assumes the presidency, Robinson will be help make the move from Chicago a bit easier. It is unclear how long Robinson will be living there.

"Mrs. Robinson will be coming with the family to help the girls get acclimated, and she will determine in the coming months whether or not she wants to stay in DC permanently," said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokesperson for the presidential transition.

It's not the first time that a president's mother-in-law will be around the White House. Laura Bush's mother, Jenna Welch, often spent weeks at a time living there, especially around holidays, according to a spokeswoman.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 9, 2009; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Washington Life  
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Not that I completely agree with this but it is pretty funny.....We were discussing the First Mother in Law and my coworker said, " THIS AIN'T ROOTS ! "

Posted by: TheRunningNurse | January 13, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Granny Robinson knows EXACTLY what she is doing...a free life of luxury at OUR EXPENSE. I would be more understanding if she had lived with the family prior to the election, but she didn't. I am willing to bet that the expense of having grammy living there will exceed $500K over the course of the next 4 years.

We did not vote for Michelle Obama, so she needs to raise her children while her husband is the president.

I would also like to respond to CUBSFAN who says that the Obama children are being "deprived of a normal childhood".
They are being deprived of NOTHING. The are PRIVILEDGED beyond any child's wildest dreams. There are many children in my son's class who are going to bed hungry, or without at parent at home because they are working. THAT is deprivation....not having two educated parents who chose their own ambitions over rearing their own child.

Posted by: TheRunningNurse | January 13, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Are the taxpayers going to be on the hook for her accomodations in the White House? If the Obama's are big on family values, what are they doing to the auntie who is illegally living in the United States? Is she going to live in the White House too? Maybe next thing we know, all the Obama clans from Kenya will all move to the White House. Then we'll have one big happy Obama family. Hooray!!!!

Posted by: mar_stew | January 11, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Living in the White House means giving up your freedom and what is that worth? If Mrs. Robinson moves into the White House it will be for one reason and that is she loves her Grandchildren and is willing to sacrafice her own life to make theirs better. The children at their ages need their grandmother and Michelle needs her mother there so she can feel comfortable that the children will have grandma when Michelle has so many other tasks that she will be involved in. Michelles main concern is the girls and who better to be with them then her own mother.

Posted by: jinxy777 | January 11, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Just how nasty can some of you people be? We've been hearing about "family values" from the Republicans for 8 years; it's nice to finally see family values in action.

Mrs. Robinson's presence will be wonderful for her grandchildren, and will undoubtedly provide them with a sense of security and normalcy when their parents will need to be away.

I guess you racist cretins are part of Palin's "real Americans". Glad I'm not.

Posted by: pamela18335 | January 10, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I am deeply saddened and indeed frightened by the racist comments about Mrs. Robinson and the Obama family.

I am so excited to have a President to be proud of in 11 days, and it seems we have a First Family to be proud of as well - one that believes in supporting and loving one another in all kinds of ways.

I can only hope the First Family will help the ignorant among us to change the hate and sickness they harbor against anyone different from themselves.

-Kieran, Brooklyn

Posted by: kieranblake | January 10, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

It seems like the Post is mighty uncomfortable with putting this news out more prominently. Perhaps the Post is embarrassed and unsure how to spin it amidst their many fawning pieces about Obama.

Having Michelle's mother there will probably be a good thing for the family. Nothing wrong with that! But the Post's awkward handling of it is very telling.

Posted by: iThink2 | January 10, 2009 6:56 AM | Report abuse

As a retired pediatrician, I think that it's a great
idea to have Mrs. Robinson living in the White
House for the entire eight years. Michelle Obama
and the girls are going to need all of the support
they can muster for the hard road ahead. Also,
it frees Mrs. Obama up to do do a few things to
help this nation. She certainly has the ability, and
it would be disappointing to have her stay idle. I
see this as a two for one deal. Pay her a salary.

Posted by: lmmacleod | January 10, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

You have no idea how long Michelles mother will stay, but even if she stays the whole time, it will be a good thing. You know, that thing called "family values" that the repubs are always talking about. I'm trying to understand what the problem with her being there is. Family is always better than babysitters. It seems that it was only an opportunity to make a snarky comment - am I wrong?

Posted by: jerzygrl | January 10, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

jerzygrl wrote, "Just like Laura Bush's mother!"


yea.. but the story reads, "Laura Bush's mother, Jenna Welch, often spent weeks at a time living there, especially around holidays.."

not quite the same thing, is it?

Posted by: presGWBfanclub | January 10, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Just like Laura Bush's mother!

Posted by: jerzygrl | January 10, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse


this is classic.. the story reads, "she will determine in the coming months whether or not she wants to stay [in the luxury of the white house] permanently.."

ummmm... let's see.

1) she can stay in her apartment in chicago


she can have;

2a) her own secretary

2b) her own cook

2c) her own personal servant

2d) 55,000 square feet house

2e) 135 rooms to wander around in

2f) 35 different bathrooms to crap in

2g) filet mignon and lobster tail every night

2h) a 4 piece string quartet every night to dine and dance to

2i) round the clock secret service protection

2j) a chauffer driven limosine whereever she goes

2k) her own 747 jumbo jet

2l) a sikorsky helicopter to pick her up on her lawn

2m) foreign trips every month with the president

2n) vacations to hawaii with the president every other week

2o) tailor made clothes lent to her

2p) papparazi following her around

2q) introductions to royalty at the white house

2r) no chores

2s) no laundry

2t) no shopping

2u) no cooking

2v) no cleaning

2w) her own recreation center in the house

2x) free trips back to chicago whenever she wants

2y) no answering to the press

2z) the prestige of living in the white house in the first place.

oh shoot. i'm ran out of the alphabet!!!

soooooo, let's see... will she

1) stay in her apartment in chicago?


2) live permanently in the white house...

my guess is that she will choose #1, her apartment in chicago.

Posted by: presGWBfanclub | January 9, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 9, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Dianne is so jealous her little head is going to explode! Michelle LaVaughn Obama, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law school, has more class and style than Dianne could ever hope for. As Dianne sits in her double wide on Jan 20th, she can watch as Barack and Michelle enter the White House. How sweet it will be! I only wish I could see poor Dianne as she realizes her sorry life is just that - a sorry, sorry life! I'm loving it!

Posted by: jerzygrl | January 9, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

It is appalling and scary to see the hateful, nasty, disrespectful and downright ugly comments in here. What is even more frightening is that some of you bigots and racists probably have children and are bringing them up to be just like you. Shame on you!
Is it jealousy? xenophobia? Combination of both? Over this hard working family..your First Family in 11 days? The best thing that has happened in the US in many many years???
It's just so sad. I will never understand.

Posted by: Flabbergasted1 | January 9, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Michelle claimed that her and Barry Soetoro came from such humble beginnings, uh huh...Gram was able to quit her executive job before the election was won ...hmmmm... Now she gets a stimulus package of 4 year all expense paid vacation with benefits...WOW, wonder what appointment that falls under ? Why not send airforce 1 to Kenya to retreive the rest of the gang ? Yes We Can !! Just think ...he's not Prez yet...

Posted by: skip1937 | January 9, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Shaniqua Obama should make her mother sleep under the stairs. I am sure little Maleawan and Sashawan are happy to have their bible thumping gran living with them.

Posted by: Diannne721 | January 9, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

PMG! Why would Michelle Shaniqua Obama bring her ghetto mother into the White House. People will probably mistake her for the maid.

Posted by: Diannne721 | January 9, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

"it will just like the hood or the african village.......they prolly be firing the chefs there for soul food medicine men.......oh the humanity.....souf'east."
Posted by: charlietuna666

You are racist scum, poster. Go to hell.

And to wpfree, please don't make us laugh. The Palin matter is entirely different; that you're too dense to figure that out is your problem. And of course, if it were Obama's daughter who was pregnant out of wedlock, you would be heaping scorn.
Your hypocrisy is so obvious. Grow up.

Posted by: vegasgirl1 | January 9, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

it will just like the hood or the african village.......they prolly be firing the chefs there for soul food medicine men.......oh the humanity.....souf'east.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | January 9, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

This is stupid. It plays to the fact everyone in America is aware that African Americans have children out of wedlock 78% of the time, and have multiple fathers. The worst racist stereotypes are "confirmed." That is, that black parents don't raise their own kids.


And the black commenters hopping on don't balance those unfortunate facts.

It just comes across, in a week in which pathetic Bobby Rush played the race card endlessly and idiot Burris revealed his "I love me cause I'm black" mausoleum as poorly phrased, poorly timed, and yet another shot in the foot for poor Obama.

And that's the truth, call it racist, but it's true.

For all the "liberals" espousing their "diversity", they heaped the same abuse upon Trig Palin and crew.

But, hey, that was sexism and ethnic bigotry.

No one may doubt The One.

Now, we have Secret Service details for Michelle, details for the kids, a Grandma detail, and the Hawaii and Chicago details to fund.

Whewww. Party on Garth. Grandma's on watch. KaChing.

Posted by: wpfree | January 9, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Someone has to make tamales.

Posted by: LiquorInTheFrontPokerInTheRear | January 9, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Please state the facts of where Obama's grandmother "swore under oath" that he was born in Kenya. Who was administering the oath? I'm still wondering how Obama's mother had the foresight to post a birth announcement in the local Hawaii paper 3 days after he was born - must have had an inkling he was going to run for President!

Posted by: jerzygrl | January 9, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

These racist comments are disgusting. It is a credit to this country that the voters did not succumb to the fears of these small minded failures.

Posted by: jimestw | January 9, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

What about Obama's paternal grandmother who swore under oath that she helped deliver Barack Obama in a Kenyan hospital? Is she to be banned from the White House because she knows and told the truth about his citizenship?

Posted by: mike85 | January 9, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a wonderful idea that Mrs. Robinson will be there with the family. I didn't even vote for the president-elect, but I can see the upside of this arrangement certainly for Michelle and the girls. The president will have some long days and this arrangement will make it easier for the children and their mother to have a normal family life.

Posted by: CarolineJ | January 9, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

WONDERFUL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by: | January 9, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

The Obama family is acting exactly as a family should; supporting one another, generations helping each other.
The racist comments are disgusting - both ways, by the way. The partisan comments are also disgusting - again, both ways.
So says one of those independents sick of racism, partisanship, stereotyping and every other brand of stupid, fearful behavior... and who did not even vote for Obama. Yet, his family has my respect, he has my respect, and I will be one of those folks backing him against the partisan congress coming up very soon, and on through the next several years, as long as he continues to practice what he espouses and maintains his own and his office’s dignity.

Posted by: pangloss0 | January 9, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

My mother lived with my husband and I for 9 years, helping with the kids and the house while we both worked. My kids (now in their 20's) will tell you it was the best thing in the world to come home and have "Grammy" there for them. We wouldn't have traded those times for the world. I think we as a country could all learn something about having relationships and responsibilities with our elders.

Posted by: jerzygrl | January 9, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I also wonder where "Aunti" will be staying-Not Kenya where she should be!

But, LOL! :-D

This is going to be considered nothing;

after we get the First Hispanic Familia elected! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | January 9, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

SNL is going to have a field day...

"Mrs Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?"

I wonder if this is Barney's old room.

Posted by: reston75 | January 9, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

i thinks its permissible to joke about long lost relatives (like his auntie in boston) moving in.

I feel an SNL skit coming up here soon

Posted by: dummypants | January 9, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Why is this creating a furor? Mrs. Robinson will be living at 1600 to help out with her grandchildren, who have already been deprived of a normal life. The Obamas will have no privacy for the rest of their days. I shudder to think of the furor when the girls start dating.

And while we are on the subject of history: Mary Todd Lincoln's family were Confederate sympathizers; in fact, Mrs. Lincoln's widowed sister - her husband being killed by Union troops - lived in the Executive Mansion (as it was called) for a time.

Posted by: CubsFan | January 9, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

'Ooooga Boooga"?
What does that mean?
"Tiny white weenie"?

Posted by: TOMHERE | January 9, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"I come home with my pay.
She asked me what I made.
If she'd leave us alone,
We would have a happy home.
And don't come back no more.
Ernie K. Doe

Posted by: TOMHERE | January 9, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

People are always talking about the importance of family. This shows it in action. This is true family values.

Posted by: lindamack5 | January 9, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Commonsence is correct, First Families have always had family members live with them:

George and Barbara Bush had their daughter and grandchildren live with them during their tenure.

Mamie Eisenhower's mother, Mrs. Dowd lived with them at the White House.

Bess Truman's mother Mrs. Wallace lived at the White House and she was a real pill, she didn't think Truman would get re-elected.

The Roosevelts had their children and grandchildren live with them for years at a time. President Roosevelt's Secretaries Missy LeHand and Grace Tully lived there. Harry Hopkins and his daughter Diana lived at the White House for years.

The comments by AugustWest were taken by me as rascist.

Posted by: jmr1601 | January 9, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

When I was a young Air Force officer stationed at Laughlin AFB at Del Rio, Texas
I saw few young men making fools of themselves and commented to an elderly Texan that "It takes all kinds." He responded that it did not "take all kinds we've just got
them." I guess that applies to 'mycomment' and 'AugustWest1' who obviously have racist
beliefs and can not accept anyone not like them and maybe even from the 'other party.'

Posted by: jslivesay | January 9, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

For the ignoramuses among the posters, it's been a long tradition that other non-directly related persons bunked at the White House for extended periods of time. In FDR's day, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt's devoted friend, mentor, and pioneering journalist, had a permanent room in the World War II White House--as did Winston Churchill, who spent considerable time at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. So did King Harald of Norway, his mother and sisters after the Nazis invaded Norway. Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II" gives a wonderful picture of life at the White House in those years.

Posted by: commonsense101 | January 9, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, when I was married, I liked my wife's parents. I still think well of them, but I think it was also a good thing that they lived 100 miles away. Okay, I can see the advantages for the Obama kids, but I don't think it will last forever. At some point, Grandmother Robinson will tire of the cloistered environment of the white house and will want some freedom, and I would not blame her one bit.

Posted by: ninjagin | January 9, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

bwahahahahaha.... can't wait for the kenyan clan to show up and set up an african outpost on the white house lawn....

ooooooga boooooga, augustwest1.

Posted by: mycomment | January 9, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

cuz he's black obviously. Augustwest1 obviously assumes all those blacks bring along the seedy relatives. I'm sure he or she is a republican.

Posted by: brian37

Why do you assume that race has anything to do with it? Was it the unknown father? I'm shocked that you would call Obama and his family, "those blacks." And to say that his relatives are seedy is blasphemy. Someday maybe you won't be such a racist.

Posted by: edanddot | January 9, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Make it dumb racist republican brian. You know the kind that still thinks Palin is cat's meow. Personally I think it is great that Obama's kids will have their grandmother to take care of them when Michelle Obama is busy rather than a nanny.

Posted by: ualec1 | January 9, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

cuz he's black obviously. Augustwest1 obviously assumes all those blacks bring along the seedy relatives. I'm sure he or she is a republican.

Posted by: brian37 | January 9, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if his Aunt Zeituni (the illegal alien) will also be moving in?

Posted by: Ali4 | January 9, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

And you think that will happen because...???

Posted by: duhneese | January 9, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for the rest of his relatives(unknown father, uncles, aunts, cousins......) to move in.

Posted by: AugustWest1 | January 9, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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