The Campaign Spot

Have We Heard of Obama’s Uncle Before?

A key update to this post, in which Obama describes “his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz.”

From a Chicago Tribune profile of Obama’s mother:

The education of Obama the would-be politician didn’t begin, of course, until after his birth in 1961, in Honolulu. But the parental traits that would mold him — a contrarian worldview, an initial rejection of organized religion, a questioning nature — were already taking shape years earlier in the nomadic and sometimes tempestuous Dunham family, where the only child was a curious and precocious daughter of a father who wanted a boy so badly that he named her Stanley — after himself.

Presuming Obama’s mother didn’t have some previously unknown long-lost brother, is Obama referring to his mother’s cousin or some other, more distant relation on his mother’s side? A great-uncle perhaps?
This uncle couldn’t be on his Kenyan father’s side, could it?
I doubt Obama would be insane enough to lie about this. But I think this is the first we’ve heard of this uncle from Obama. Like with his previously-unmentioned trip to Pakistan, Obama — the subject of two autobiographies, other biographies, and countless magazine and newspaper profiles — there are still chapters of his life story not yet explored.
UPDATE: An Ace of Spades commenter thinks it is Ralph Dunham. I largely concur with the assessment of Campaign Spot reader Dave:

What bothers me about this statement is not that Obama calls his great-uncle “uncle” (I do that myself), or that he doesn’t personally know that Uncle Ralph could not have liberated Auschwitz, since the Russians did that, but rather:

1) he doesn’t think facts important enough to have a staff member check his old family stories before sharing them
and, more importantly
2) the point of his telling the story was not that his uncle was a hero, but rather a victim, spending several months holed up in an attic, upon his return from the war.

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