White House backtracks on Obama, uncle meeting

Dec. 5, 2013 at 5:02 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The White House reversed itself Thursday, saying President Obama had met his Kenyan uncle despite officials telling reporters he had not.

Speaking to reporters, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that when the White House told the news media in 2011 Obama had never met his uncle, no one had asked the president whether that was true.

"Back when this arose, folks looked at the record, including the president's book, and there was no evidence that they had met," Carney said. "And that was what was conveyed. Nobody spoke to the president.

"When Omar Obama said the other day and -- there were reports that he had said the other day that President Obama, back when he was a law school student, had stayed with him in Cambridge [Mass.], I thought it was the right thing to do to go ask him. Nobody had asked him in the past, and the president said that he in fact had met Omar Obama when he moved to Cambridge for [Harvard] law school and that he stayed with him for a brief period of time until his, the president's, apartment was ready.

That wasn't the only contact, Carney said.

"After that they saw each other once every few months while the president was in Cambridge, and then after law school they gradually fell out of touch," he told reporters. "The president has not seen Omar Obama in 20 years, and has not spoken with him in roughly 10 years."

The Boston Globe reported Onyango (Omar) Obama's "immigration case raised numerous concerns about a potential conflict of interest after his arrest in August 2011 for drunken driving in Framingham [Mass.]. The arrest revealed his outstanding deportation orders and his relationship to the president.

"Shortly after his arrest, he told an officer, 'I think I will call the White House,'" the Globe said.

Carney told reporters Thursday no officials had intervened in the uncle's successful challenge to his deportation.

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