President Obama sure has weird family relationships. His great uncle, Charles Payne, helped to liberate a German concentration camp. Yet he said that his great nephew never asked him about the experience, at least until after he was caught lying about it. He went on to say that Obama’s trip to Buchenwald is a political stunt.
Asked if Obama would be traveling in his footsteps, Payne said: “I don’t buy that. … This is a trip that he chose, not because of me I’m sure, but for political reasons.”
He said Obama also might be trying to improve his “standing” with Chancellor Angela Merkel, since “she gave him a hard time during his campaign and also afterwards.”
Payne attracted some attention during the campaign last year when Obama mistakenly claimed he helped liberate Auschwitz — which was actually liberated by Soviet forces. Obama’s campaign corrected the mistake after Republicans seized on the error.
In his interview with Der Spiegel, Payne said Obama’s parents might have incorrectly told him the story of his great-uncle’s involvement in the liberation of Buchenwald, leading to the misunderstanding on the campaign trail. Payne said he never spoke to Obama about that experience beforehand.
“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,” Payne said. “Of course it came out immediately that he was wrong since there are enough people in America who know that Auschwitz is in the East and that the camp was liberated by the Red Army.”
He said Obama called him after the flap last year for more details about the camp’s liberation.
So his uncle is a great American patriot who helped to liberate one of Germany’s concentration camps. How odd that he didn’t bring this man with him on the campaign trail. Or at least get his story straight. You would think he would have talked about Charles Payne regularly.
President Obama has another family member that he doesn’t talk much about, his socialist cousin Raila Odinga. Even though he doesn’t talk much of Odinga he felt close enough to the man to travel to Kenya to campaign with the murderous thug. Today we found out that Obama’s cousin Odinga met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the weekend.
I know, we can’t choose our family. But we can certainly choose which members of our family we associate with.
Update 6/3/09: The President decided it would be a good idea to invite his uncle to visit Buchenwald, who declined, and will instead visit Normandy.