A couple of funny, if not at some points embarrassing stories for both Sen. Obama and Gov. Palin came out today. First, we all have now learned more about Sen. Obama’s aunt living in Boston, apparantly illegally. Next, Gov. Palin was apparantly pranked by a Canadian radio show, of which the details are just emerging.
First, the report on Sen. Obama’s aunt, via Politico:
HENDERSON, Nev. — Barack Obama did not know a relative was living in the United States illegally for the past nearly four years prior to today’s Associated Press report, “but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws be followed,” the campaign said Saturday in a statement.
The Democratic nominee last heard from Zeituni Onyango, who attended his swearing-in ceremony to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and is a half-sister of Obama’s late father, two years ago, when she called to say she was in Boston, the campaign said. Campaign officials said they did not assist her in getting a tourist visa and had not known that she was living in America.
News of Onyango’s legal status, which the AP confirmed through sources, including a federal law enforcement official, provided an unwelcome diversion for the Obama campaign during its final push toward Election Day and stoked suspicions among supporters of a political motive behind the timing of the leak.
“The American people are pretty sensible,” said Obama chief strategist David Axelrod, “and I think they are pretty suspicious of things that are dumped in the marketplace 72 hours before a campaign, so I am not concerned about that.”
Asked whether he was suggesting there were political motives from a Republican administration, Axelrod said: “I am not saying anything at this point.”
Obama did not respond to questions shouted at him by members of the traveling press corps as he exited Caesars Palace hotel here Saturday morning with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at his side.
The Associated Press wrote that it confirmed the deportation case with two separate sources, one of them a federal law enforcement official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP said it could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has written to Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff requesting an immediate investigation of the leak, which he deemed “deplorable” and said “was not the first leak of law enforcement information apparently designed to influence the coming presidential election,” referring to an ongoing investigation of voter fraud by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
Kelly Nantel, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would not comment on the leak or whether the agency was looking into it.
Report from the Associated Press:
Now tell me that’s not just funny? She even donated to his campaign, up to $260 over small increments. Not too big of a story but something on the lighter side of the campaign. This isn’t going to affect anything, unless you think there’s more to the story and that Obama did indeed know, however, just ignored it. Either way, this doesn’t mean much for the campaign. Just an embarrassment of some proportion.
Next, the report on Gov. Sarah Palin getting pranked by a Canadian radio state, story from Yahoo News:
Sarah Palin’s campaign issued an “mildly amused” response to having joined Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy in having been the victim of a prank by a pair of French-Canadian comedians who impersonated Sarkozy on a call with the Alaska governor.
The prankster talked hunting (“I just love killing those animals.”), and Palin said she was a “careful” shot in contrast to Dick Cheney. He also made a reference she appeared to miss to a porn movie in the conversation, which can be heard here and here. He said he could see Belgium from his house, described “my special American adviser Johny Halliday,” a French singer, and referred to Canadian singer Stef Carse as Canada’s prime minister, as Palin continued the conversation until he explained it was a prank.
“Gov. Palin received a phone call on Saturday from a French Canadian talk show host claiming to be French President Nicholas Sarkozy,” emailed spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. “Gov. Palin was mildly amused to learn that she had joined the ranks of heads of state, including President Sarkozy, and other celebrities in being targeted by these pranksters. C’est la vie.”
Palin didn’t say anything particularly compromising in the call, and indeed, wouldn’t take the bait when “Sarkozy” said he saw her as a president.
“Maybe in eight years,” she said.
It’s unclear whether she suspected it was a prank as the call grew increasingly absurd.
The comedian ended the call with a plug for Obama and a joke about McCain.
Listen to the audio here:
Sarah Palin Prank Call
Now that’s some classic audio right there. Too funny. Again though, Palin didn’t say much of anything which will hurt the campaign, but it is embarrassing, especially some of Palin’s reactions. I’m sure some bonehead staffer got the boot after that one. I mean, I’m not familiar with this, but do foreign leaders just call out of the blue and ask to speak with a candidate? Perhaps they do, I don’t know.
Palin at the end takes it in stride, though I wonder if she had suspicions given the absurdity at some points during the call.