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The black sheep in Obama's family

November 6, 2007 |  9:11 pm

Campaigning is a lot like foraging. Candidates meet someone, hear a story or see something along the way and they grab it and work it into their regular speaking routine.

Barack Obama is having fun all over with the news that he's a distant relation to Vice President Dick Cheney. It was actually Lynne Cheney, who put that out in public during an MSNBC TV interview when she was trying to change the subject away from Hillary Clinton and back to her new book on her families and genealogical research. She announced last month that she'd found out Dick and Barack are eighth cousins. She called it "an amazing thing."

Tonight, speaking to a fairly raucous crowd of more than 500 at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, The Times' Aaron Zitner reports that Obama was going along on a familiar subject, stagnation in the nation's capital on some very important issues, such as energy independence.

"It doesn't help," the Illinois senator said, "that you put my cousin, Dick Cheney, in charge of energy policy."

Then, pausing for the oddity of the line to sink in, he added: "I've been trying to hide this for a long time. Everyone has a black sheep in the family."

--Andrew Malcolm