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Thread: Obama's Grandmother Dies

  1. #1

    Default Obama's Grandmother Dies

    November 3, 2008, 4:44 PM
    Obama’s Grandmother Dies

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Senator Barack Obama’s grandmother, a central figure in his life who helped raise him during his teen-age years, died in Hawaii on Monday morning.

    Mr. Obama, who left the presidential campaign trail late last month to travel to Honolulu to bid her farewell, announced the death in a statement released by his spokesman upon landing here this afternoon. Her death comes one day shy of Election Day.

    “It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances.”

    Madelyn Dunham, who turned 86 on Oct. 26, was unable to travel to see her grandson on the campaign trail. But from her apartment in Honolulu, she religiously followed his bid for the presidency, tracking his movements and his progression through cable television.

    Mr. Obama learned of his grandmother’s death a little after 8 a.m. in Jacksonville, Fla., where he had spent the evening, said Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser. Mr. Gibbs said that Mrs. Dunham died late Sunday evening on Hawaii Standard Time, which was between 4 and 5 a.m. on the East Coast.

    “She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring,” Mr. Obama said in the statement. “Our debt to her is beyond measure.”

    Mr. Obama released the statement with his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who has been at Mrs. Dunham’s side while Mr. Obama has been campaigning for president.

    “Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort,” Mr. Obama said in the statement. “Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date.”

  2. #2
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    That's sad, but in a way it is also good.

    In a weird way though. It is actually good that Barack took time away from a PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN to say good bye. I think he would have been really hurt if he waited just 2 more days until after the election.

    Her passing will hopefully give him added strength in knowing that he made the right decision taking that time off to go see her.

  3. #3


    The Politics surrounding Senator Obama's Grandmother,
    that was always aimed at Senator Obama himself - Z

    In retrospect, we are now hearing that the "vacation" in Hawaii in the middle of the general election campaign was due in large measure to the deteriorating health of Senator Obama's grandmother. Her cancer, according to current information, was not disclosed on purpose in order to maintain a degree of privacy.

    Unfortunately, this non-disclosure unnecessarily exposed Senator Obama to a great deal of questioning at the beginning, and it only increased after the Russia-Georgia crisis surfaced while he and his family continued to remain in Hawaii. Senator McCain, of course, took full advantage of the opportunity this presented, to reinforce his image on foreign affairs.

    As an example of the type of questioning he received, I cite the customary "round table" television segment that occurred at the end of the popular This Week with George Stephanopoulos show. Pay particular attention to the comments of Cokie Roberts.

    JAKE TAPPER (ABC News senior national political correspondent): A lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill wringing their hands about Obama. He's not hitting back hard enough. Do you agree?

    GEORGE WILL (Washington Post columnist): I don't. Part of his charm, such as it is for those who feel it, is his aristocratic languor, his sort of relaxed, laid-back attitude, and as a result, he gives the impression sometimes as a candidate, not with an instinct for the jugular, but for the capillaries, that he goes for small responses. You pointed one out one this morning, talking about a war going on in Europe and he's worried about some lobbyist working for McCain. But I don't think this is his main problem.

    TAPPER: What is his main problem?

    WILL: His main problem is that people have not yet decided that he ought to be the one sitting across the table from -- to pick a name out of the ether -- Putin.

    COKIE ROBERTS: Yeah, that he has certainly come nowhere near closing the deal. As we've talked about before, in this year that should be such a Democratic year given all the other indices, he is tied in the polls and stage-sided in the polls and going off this week to a vacation in Hawaii --

    VICTORIA CLARKE (former Pentagon spokeswoman): Right.

    ROBERTS: -- does not make any sense whatsoever. I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be in Myrtle Beach, and, you know, if he's going to take a vacation at this time.

    CLARKE: Well, and --

    ROBERTS: And I just think that, you know, this is not the time to do that.

    CLARKE: And there's plenty of time left. I mean, let's not forget, Barack Obama and his campaign beat the Clintons, which is no easy feat in any year. They beat them, and they beat by being pretty tough on Hillary Clinton sometimes when they felt they needed to. I think they realize that most people right now aren't paying attention. They don't need to do it quite yet. There is plenty of time after the conventions to do that, and I think you'll see the surrogates coming out of the woodwork just ready to redefine McCain. Buried in some of these stories in the last few days, one of the Obama advisers, of course on background, saying, just wait, by the time November comes around, people are going to have a different picture of John McCain.

    From the August 10 edition of
    ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:
    (Courtesy Media Matters)

    When Senator Obama went back to see his grandmother next and as it also turned out to be the final time, it was initially reported as a bad fall that injured her hip, but that story began the leak of her being deathly ill. Rush Limbaugh enters the picture to interject his own brand of criticism directed toward the Senator from Illinois. He did so by concocting a convoluted narrative that this trip to Hawaii was really an attempt to deal with the potential fallout over the Senator not being a natural-born US citizen.*

    Mr. Limbaugh based this charge, in large part, on an old rumour that he felt had an anchor in a questionable lawsuit that continued to demand that Senator Obama prove he was born in the US by presenting a proper birth certificate to the American public. Ahead is an excerpt, from the relevant transcript, posted at Mr. Limbaugh's website about his tirade on this matter:

    SENATOR OBAMA (DERIVED FROM A TAPED INTERVIEW): Yeah. Well, the, uh, I think most people understand, uh, that if you're not, um, caring for your family, uh, then you're probably not, uh, the kind of person who's going to be caring for other people.

    RUSH LIMBAUGH (LIVE): Yeah, right. Okay. Now, I have some questions here, ladies and gentlemen. If Obama has this election in the bag, if he has this election in the bag, which they're all saying, I mean, he's building the stage. They're already putting together this massive little stage out there in Grant Park in Chicago. They're making all these postelection plans. They're working on the transition team. If it's in the bag, Obama, please, stop spending money on TV and radio spots. Stop raising more money. You already have tons of it. Stop campaigning all over the country. You're wasting fuel. You're emitting carbon dioxide along the way. If it's over, then behave like it's over. By the way, I'd like to be a little bit more inquisitive than the average reporter out there and observe that we've been hearing and reading for at least three days now that Obama's grandmother is deathly ill and that he's going to rush to her side in Hawaii.

    Now, if he's already won the presidency, why hasn't he already gone to Hawaii? Why is he not already there? What's he waiting for? "If she's deathly ill," I'm pretending to be a reporter here. You know they'd ask McCain these questions. "If Obama's grandmother is deathly ill, why has this been announced days ago and he's only going now," or tomorrow, or whenever it is. Now, I understand, folks, Snerdley's got his head buried in his hands. I understand this, my friends, anything said about Obama is going to be turned into an unfair racist attack on the man. Am I not asking obvious questions? Who announces days in advance they're rushing to the side of a loved one who is deathly ill but keeps campaigning in a race that's said to be over, only to go to the loved one's side days later? See, I think this is about something else. You know what's really percolating out there? I've been laying low on this because it hasn't met the threshold to pass the smell test on this program.

    This birth certificate business, this lawsuit that a guy named Philip Berg filed in Philadelphia in August for Obama to produce his genuine birth certificate and he still hasn't replied.
    You've got a deathly ill grandmother, you are going to rush to her side a few days from now, when you first announced this, you're going to rush, you're going to hurry, you're going to make tracks, you're going to get over there because you don't want your grandmother to die before you got there like your mother did, but somehow you keep campaigning, you take three days to get over there, if he's left yet, and this birth certificate business, I'm just wondering if something's up. I have no clue, and folks, I'm telling you, this has not reached the threshold until now, and it's popping up all over the place. There are a lot of people now that are starting to speculate and be curious about this.

    I don't know, let's say for example that somebody does come up with proof that something's screwy with his birth certificate and something's screwy about the fact that he's allegedly a natural citizen, American citizen, but may not be, dual citizenship, born in Kenya, who knows, there's all kinds of stuff out -- so what? What's going to happen this late in the campaign? Do you think if it's proven that they're going to dump him? That's not going to happen. But still, these are just questions that I have. And, look, both of my parents have died. When I was told the end was near, bam, I got there, fast as I could. I didn't announce to the audience, "I just got word my father is said to be passing away and in four or five days I'm going to go to Missouri. In the meantime, I will not leave you here on this radio program." These are just natural questions. I think any inquisitive reporter -- I know the risk I'm running here by raising all this. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't do that.

    Rush Limbaugh Show
    23 October 2008

    • Ironically, Senator McCain - who actually was born outside the US - could have also been questioned in a similar fashion by Mr. Limbaugh:

      Liptak, Adam. " A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue." New York Times: 11 July 2008. (For a direct link to a post that prints this article on this website, select this: WNY reference.)


    Cutting to the chase, Rush Limbaugh was continuing to spin a dated rumour among his audience, easily duped by his non sequiturs and rhetorical flourishes. The so-called "birth certificate business," and questions about Senator Obama not being a natural born citizen, were once again addressed in a Chicago Tribune article - which essentially repeated information from back in June, before the lawsuit "grandstanding" in August:

    The issue of whether Obama is a "natural born citizen"—a citizen at birth—was raised in a June 10 article on the conservative Web site World Net Daily.

    Article II of the U.S. Constitution says, "No Person except a natural born citizen, or a Citizen of the United States ... shall be eligible to the Office of President." Acts of Congress in 1790 and 1795 clarify that "the children of citizens of the United States ... shall be considered as natural born citizens."

    Obama birth certificate rumor debunked

    By James Janega
    30 October 2008

    A persistent rumor circulated by opponents of Barack Obama in recent weeks questions the authenticity of his birth certificate from Hawaii, despite the fact that the Obama campaign debunked the rumor in June.

    In the Tribune's political blog "The Swamp" last week, reporter Mark Silva produced a copy of Obama's birth certificate and addressed the birthplaces of both presidential candidates.

    Sen. John McCain, Silva wrote, "was born to American parents, his father serving as a submariner in the U.S. Navy at the Coco Solo base in the Panama Canal Zone when and where young John Sidney McCain III was born. Barack Hussein Obama II -- and yes, he actually has joked that he got his middle name from people who never thought he'd be running for president -- was born in Hawaii, in 1961, and has a birth certificate to show for it."

    Conservative critics have suggested that Obama may have been born outside the U.S. and is not a "natural born citizen" eligible for the presidency. But they present no evidence that he was born anywhere other than Hawaii.

    In June, the Obama campaign released an electronic copy of the certificate bearing the seal of the State of Hawaii Department of Health and showing that Barack Hussein Obama II was born to mother Stanley Ann Dunham in Honolulu at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961.

    Contacted Wednesday, Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo cited Hawaii state privacy laws and guidance from the state attorney general in saying she was not permitted to confirm the authenticity of the certificate released by the Obama campaign.

    But she said it appeared similar to other Hawaii birth certificates.

    "It looks exactly the same as my own birth certificate," Okubo said.

    Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Wednesday that the document was authentic.

    The issue of whether Obama is a "natural born citizen"—a citizen at birth—was raised in a June 10 article on the conservative Web site World Net Daily.

    Article II of the U.S. Constitution says, "No Person except a natural born citizen, or a Citizen of the United States ... shall be eligible to the Office of President." Acts of Congress in 1790 and 1795 clarify that "the children of citizens of the United States ... shall be considered as natural born citizens."

    Republican candidate John McCain faced, and overcame, similar questions because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone while his Navy father was stationed there.

    Hawaii was a state in 1961, when Obama was born. Any person born in the U.S. automatically is a "natural born citizen," said University of California Los Angeles law professor Eugene Volokh.

    Even if a person is born outside the United States, courts have ruled any child born to at least one U.S. citizen is a U.S. citizen, Volokh said. Stanley Ann Dunham would have counted even if Obama's Kenyan father did not.

    If this becomes an issue in a post-election eligibility challenge, expect a likely sticking point to be the legal definition in 1961 of how parents could be called U.S. citizens for this purpose, Volokh said. At the time Obama was born, the law stated that a person would be considered a "natural born citizen" if either parent was a citizen who had lived at least 10 years in the U.S., including five years after the age of 14—in other words, 19.

    Dunham was three months shy of her 19th birthday when Obama was born. But subsequent acts of Congress relaxed the requirement to five years in the U.S., including just two years after the age of 14, meaning Dunham could have been 16 and still qualified even if Obama was born in another country, Volokh said. Congress made the law retroactive to 1952, doubly covering Obama.

    Any legal challenge would have to argue that Congress can't make someone retroactively a citizen at birth, and prove Obama was born outside of the U.S. after all.

    Copyright © 2008, Chicago Tribune

    Last edited by Zephyr; November 4th, 2008 at 04:28 AM.

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