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The First Family

Jodi Kantor writes in the New York Times about what may end up to be one of the most lasting impacts of the Obama presidency: "For well over two centuries, the United States has been vastly more diverse than its ruling families. Now the Obama family has flipped that around, with a Technicolor cast that looks almost nothing like their overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly Protestant predecessors in the role. The family that produced Barack and Michelle Obama is black and white and Asian, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. They speak English; Indonesian; French; Cantonese; German; Hebrew; African languages including Swahili, Luo and Igbo; and even a few phrases of Gullah, the Creole dialect of the South
Carolina Lowcountry. Very few are wealthy, and some -- like Sarah Obama, the stepgrandmother who only recently got electricity and running water in her metal-roofed shack -- are quite poor. . . .

"Aside from a top-quality education, the new president came to politics with none of his predecessor's advantages: no famous last name, no deep-pocketed parents to finance early forays into politics and, in fact, not much of a father at all."

By Dan Froomkin  |  January 21, 2009; 2:35 PM ET
 
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