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calendar   Friday - May 29, 2009

Barack Obama’s great uncle criticises him over Buchenwald visit. Ya mean it’s all about politics?

I guess by the time I’ve seen things you at home may already have. However, we do get lurks from other parts so hope folks find of some interest.
Now lets not be too hard on him for the visit because all of you know THEY ALL (any politician, any party) have to make an obligatory visit.
You know how it goes. When in Europe be sure to visit ....
I’m not trying to be mean hearted but rather just a bit tired of the must stop visits simply because they are just that. “Musts.” They must visit. They must be seen to be “moved.” They then must say a few words, blah,blah to show their humanity and that they are not anti anything, blah,blah and must show that they feel someone else’s pain, blah,blah. You get the picture.

Barack Obama faced unprecedented public criticism from a member of his own family when his great uncle said he was only visiting a concentration camp next week for ‘political reasons’.

By Alex Spillius in Washington
Last Updated: 7:29PM BST 29 May 2009

Charles Payne, 84, was among the American infantrymen who liberated Ohrdruf, a subdivision of the Buchenwald camp, in April 1945.

Mr Obama will next week attend a memorial ceremony at the former camp with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, before heading to Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Asked if his great nephew was following in his footsteps, which the White House has suggested as a reason for the trip, Mr Payne told the German magazine Der Spiegel: “I don’t buy that. This is a trip that he chose, not because of me I’m sure, but for political reasons.”

Denting the normally smooth-running presidential public relations machine, he added: “Perhaps his visit also has something to do with improving his standing with Angela Merkel. She gave him a hard time during his campaign and also afterwards.”

Exposing the haste with which political biographies can be formed, Mr Payne expressed surprise at how his great-nephew had used his wartime experiences on the campaign trail. As a candidate, Mr Obama used the wartime service of his white mother’s parents and family to allay concerns about his heritage.

“I was quite surprised when the whole thing came up and Barack talked about my war experiences in Nazi Germany. We had never talked about that before,” he said, adding that he enjoyed a “warm and friendly relationship” with his great nephew, though he was not part of his inner circle.

The first time they discussed his participation in the war was when Mr Obama wrongly said during the campaign that Mr Payne had “liberated” Auschwitz. Opponents swiftly pointed out that had been done by the Red Army.

“He couldn’t have gotten it from me since we had never talked about this particular episode in the war,” he said. “My sister and her husband were both great storytellers and sometimes made up the details to go along with it. They told him about my deployment with the 89th Infantry Division and apparently they mixed up a few details.”

Mr Obama soon called Mr Payne to check the details of his war experience, he said. “He wanted to know where this camp was that I had helped liberate. I told him that it was Ohrdruf and that it was a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. I described a little bit of what I had seen,” he said.

Raised in Kansas, Mr Payne was the brother of Mr Obama’s late grandmother Madelyn Dunham, and joined the army as soon as he had finished school. He was among the first US soldiers to discover the horrors of the Holocaust first hand.

He appeared at the 2008 Democratic national convention, when Mr Obama was formally nominated as the party’s candidate, and attended the inauguration in January. He has not however been invited on the trip to Europe, but “if he invites me on Air Force One, I’ll be there”, he said.

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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 05/29/2009 at 02:03 PM   
Filed Under: • Obama, The One •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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