Obama-Buf­fett al­liance turns out to be fam­ily af­fair

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JOSEPH CURL

Bullish bil­lion­aire War­ren Buf­fett worked hard to elect Barack Obama as pres­i­dent last year, serv­ing as a fundraiser, ad­viser and prom­i­nent vo­cal sup­porter. Turns out there’s good rea­son: They’re fam­ily.

No­body is sug­gest­ing nepo­tism was in­volved, but ge­nealog­i­cal re­search has now re­vealed that Mr. Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, and the sage of Omaha, Neb., are sev­enth cousins three times re­moved, re­lated through a 17th-cen­tur y French­man named Mareen Du­vall.

Du­vall, who im­mi­grated to Mary­land in the 1650s, is Mr. Obama’s ninth great-grand­fa­ther and Mr. Buf­fett’s sixth great-grand­fa­ther. Arriving as an in­den­tured ser vant and work­ing his way up, Du­vall bought a plan­ta­tion in Anne Arun­del County, Md., and was “con­ser­va­tive in his po­lit­i­cal life,” ac­cord­ing to re­searchers at An­ces­try.com, which made the dis­cov­ery.

“We’ve all watched Pres­i­dent Obama and War­ren Buf­fett’s on­go­ing as­so­ci­a­tion, from Buf­fett’s of­fi­cial en­dorse­ment of Obama’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to their some­times dif­fer­ing views on eco­nomic pol­icy,” said Anas­ta­sia Tyler, a ge­neal­o­gist at An­ces­try.com.

“Like most fam­ily mem­bers, the pres­i­dent and Buf­fett may not al­ways agree on ev­ery­thing, but this lat­est dis­cov­ery con­firm­ing they are re­lated may shed light on why the two seem to see eye-to-eye on many is­sues.”

Af­ter his early un­equiv­o­cal en­dorse­ment, Mr. Buf­fett has taken is­sue with some of his dis­tant rel­a­tive’s poli­cies. He called Mr. Obama’s “cap-and­trade” pol­icy on cli­mate change “re­gres­sive” and “a huge tax” on mid­dle-in­come Amer­i­cans. And ear­lier this year, the bil­lion­aire in­vestor said Mr. Obama is try­ing to do too much: “You can’t ex­pect peo­ple to unite be­hind you if you’re try­ing to jam a whole bunch of things down their throat.”

Oddly, though, the world’s sec­ond rich­est man — Forbes mag­a­zine put his for­tune at $37 bil­lion — en­dorses the pres­i­dent’s plan to tax the rich.

Mr. Obama wrote in his mem­oir that when the two men met in 2006, Mr. Buf­fett told the then-Illi­nois se­na­tor that “the mar­ket isn’t so good at mak­ing sure that the wealth that’s pro­duced is be­ing distr ibuted fairly or wisely. [. . . ] Those of us who’ve ben­e­fited most from the mar­ket should pay a big­ger share.”

Dur­ing the 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, it was re­vealed that Mr. Obama is re­lated to for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush (11th cousins) and for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney (ninth cousins once re­moved). Du­vall and his wife, Susannah, were Mr. Obama’s great-great-great­great-great-great-great-great­great grand­par­ents and Mr. Cheney’s great-great-great­great-great-great-great-great grand­par­ents.

Ear­lier this year, An­ces­try.com con­firmed that Mr. Obama has Ger­man roots through his sixth great-grand­fa­ther, Jo­hann Con­rad Wolfley, from Be­sigheim, Wuert­tem­berg, Ger­many.

In ad­di­tion, ac­tor Brad Pitt and Mr. Obama are ninth cousins who share a rel­a­tive who died in 1769.

War­ren Buf­fett

Pres­i­dent Obama

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