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Obit on the Politics Page

Patricia Sullivan

Sometimes you hear a tale about someone from the past so vivid, so funny and so surprising that you wish you had a chance to write his obit. But Jonathan Weisman and Madonna Lebling did a fine delayed obit, on the politics page no less, about John McCain's maternal grandfather. And it looks like a tip into the story came from a Washington D.C. cabdriver.

Wright arrived in Muskogee a gambler and bootlegger and left a wealthy wildcatter who owned some of the most valuable property in the region. He bartered for that land with gold coins and liquor, as Native Americans were receiving parcels of property from the federal government, according to Murray Clifford "Cliff" Smith III, a District cab driver whose grandmother was Wright's wife's sister. Smith's mother, Margaret Lawson Smith, was a cousin and playmate of Roberta Wright.

By Patricia Sullivan |  July 23, 2008; 11:54 AM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan
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