early and often

Will McCain’s Surrogates Bring Up Barack Obama’s Destitute Kenyan Brother?

Photo: Getty

Italian Vanity Fair recently tracked down one of Barack Obama’s half-brothers in a shanty town outside Nairobi. The man, George Hussein Onyango Obama, is the son of Barack’s absentee father (also named Barack), about whom the Illinois senator wrote the book Dreams of my Father. George Hussein is mentioned briefly in the book, and Obama has never made a secret of the fact that he has half-brothers with whom he is not in close contact. But George Hussein’s story is one of poverty and violence — he lives on less than one dollar a month and has scars from fighting for his own safety.

I live like a recluse, no one knows I exist,” he told the magazine. “If anyone says something about my surname, I say we are not related. I am ashamed.”

He may not want to bring it up — but McCain’s more nefarious supporters might. Not only would discussion of the poor, distant brother remind older white voters that Barack Obama is really black (like, Africa black), but it could raise all sorts of questions. Why hasn’t Barack helped this man out, his own brother? Do we really know anything about this Obama’s associations or loyalties if we’re just finding family members now? This kind of thing leaves lots of room for the kind of grassroots attacks McCain himself suffered when an anonymous phone campaign spread asserting that the Republican candidate had “a black daughter.” (He and Cindy together took in and raised Bridget, a dark-skinned Bangladeshi orphan.)

It would be an inarguably low blow, but not outside the realm of possibility. If we get any anonymous phone calls, we’ll let you know.

Barack Obama’s ‘lost’ brother found in Kenya [Daily Telegraph]

Will McCain’s Surrogates Bring Up Barack Obama’s Destitute Kenyan Brother?