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The White House beer day for Crowley and Gates, who are related

July 29, 2009 |  5:38 am

Henry Gates Barack Obama and James Crowley

With the recent steady drip-drip of discourse from the White House on police and racial profiling,  we hope the Obama clan also keeps some Guinness on tap.

Turns out that Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. may actually be related through Irish ancestry to the police officer who arrested him in his own house earlier this month, according to ABC News.  No, really!

President Obama, who initially said the Cambridge, Mass., police department "acted stupidly," then on second thought sort of recalibrated his comments, has pledged to host the two for a "beer summit" and, hopefully, a make-up at the White House on Thursday. (An earlier version of this post said the meeting would be held today.) 

One can only imagine how the proceedings will end, given that professor Gates,  who is half-Irish, says he can trace his ancestry to the Niall of the Nine Hostages, one of Ireland's most prolific warriors, to whom Sgt. James Crowley also attributes his family roots.

However boozy it may get -- maybe with a late-evening rendition of Molly Malone?  -- hopefully it won't set Obama back on the cigs

These kind of familiar relationships do tend to crop up in Washington: Obama is eighth cousin to former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Obama is also related to six other U.S. presidents through his mother, S. Ann Soetoro, and the former British prime minister, Winston Churchill.

Churchill's wartime ally, Franklin Roosevelt, was related to 11 presidents by blood or marriage, while the Bush family is distantly related to the British queen. Barbara Pierce Bush, the former first lady, is a great-great-great niece of the 14th president, Franklin Pierce. At least 16 other presidents were of Scot-Irish descent, including Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant and Woodrow Wilson.  

IrishCentral.com reports that up to 3 million Irish Americans may be descended from Niall, the Irish "High King" at Tara, the ancient center of Ireland from AD 379 to AD 405. He was said to have struck the fear o' death into the hearts of the English, the Scots, the French and even the Romans.

But we want to know just what the "birthers" will make of Obama's role in all of  this?

-- Craig Howie   

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Photos: Henry Louis Gates Jr., President Obama and James Crowley. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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