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Obama's Not in Kansas Anymore - And Never Was

Alessandra Stanley noted praise of "Obama's hardscrabble Kansas roots," but Obama had never even been to his grandfather's hometown in Kansas until this year.

TV critic Alessandra Stanley pondered how Hillary Clinton's "milestone" (first female near-presidential-nominee) was celebrated on Tuesday night while Barack Obama's own achievement(first black nominee) was muted.But some vague wording by Stanley left the false impression that Barack Obama grew up on the plains of Kansas.


On Tuesday, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas praised Mr. Obama's hardscrabble Kansas roots at some length and never mentioned that his father was African. Neither did the keynote speaker, former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, nor Mrs. Clinton. When Mrs. Clinton declared her support for Mr. Obama, she focused on their shared ideals, not the presumptive nominee's unique place in history. And that seemed to suit the Obama team just fine.


That's a reference to this excerpt from the prepared text of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's speech:



Last night we heard Barack Obama's story - how the son of a single mother from Kansas, through hard work and perseverance, has come within reach of the White House. Barack Obama was raised by a family of pragmatic, hard-working Kansans who believe in faith, in family and in community.

Barack's grandfather, Stanley Dunham, told him that there's nothing an American can't accomplish if he or she is willing to work hard enough. It's the same idea that is written in the Great Seal of Kansas. It's there in our motto "ad astra per aspera" - "to the stars through difficulty."


Stanley got "Obama's hardscrabble Kansas roots" out of that, relaying the distinct impression that Obama grew up poor in Kansas. But Obama not never lived in Kansas (he was born in Honolulu, moved to Indonesia as a child and then returned to Honolulu to live with his grandparents on his mother's side, who had moved from Kansas). In fact, Obama had not even been to his grandfather's hometown of El Dorado, Kansas until this year.