Friday, November 14, 2008

Meet 'The First Grandma'...

South Side Mom Becomes 'First Grandma'

You can call it the Camelot effect or maybe it's just that people are nosy. Whatever it is, people can't stop searching for information about the Obama family, not just the immediate first family, but the extended family as well.

Once Carol E. Lee at Politico got the scoop that Michelle Obama's mother would be moving to Washington, D.C., searches for "michelle obama's mother" showed up, prompting us to wonder about Marian Robinson -- the new "first grandma" -- and her role in the Obama household.

Robinson's main job during Barack Obama's two-year-long campaign for the presidency was to make sure the Obamas' young daughters, Malia and Sasha, were taken care of while mom and dad were on the campaign trail. According to a Boston Globe article from early this year, duties included upholding family rules (8:30 p.m. bedtime, healthy food) and getting the girls to the appointments on their daily schedules.

In the article, Obama credited his mother-in-law with making his campaign possible:

"I'm not sure we could do it," he said in an interview. "I'm not sure Michelle would have felt comfortable with it, and I probably would have agreed with her."

The support Robinson provides, he said, has helped the family survive his transition to national politics.

"One of the best decisions we made when I was elected to the Senate was that we wouldn't move from Chicago. A big reason for that was that Marian lived 10 minutes away," he said. "She loved nothing more than to spend time with her grandkids."

Robinson raised Michelle and her brother Craig with husband, Fraser, on the South Side of Chicago. Even though Fraser died shortly before Barack and Michelle were married, the Robinsons were never very far away from the campaign trail, getting mentions and credit when Michelle would speak.

At the Democratic National Convention this year, Michelle said, "My mother's love has always been the sustaining force for our family." She continued, "One of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my daughters."

To keep their broadened nuclear family together, Michelle had to convince her mother to come to Washington with the family. In a Newsweek article published only a day after Obama's win, Michelle told Richard Wolffe she was begging her mom to come to Washington with them to help keep the kids grounded while in the White House.

Apparently, Michelle's begging worked. Grandma will be coming to Washington. But now that the Granny cat is out of the bag, the only question left is: Will she live in the White House? Yahoo! News contacted the Obama transition team to find out. We haven't received an answer yet, but rest assured, we'll let you know once we do.

In the meantime, we have the Boston Globe's video story on Marian Robinson below:

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