While presidential siblings might normally receive soft interviews on television, President Obama's half-sister Auma had the red carpet rolled out for her on Wednesday's Piers Morgan Tonight. Morgan wasn't just cordial but was enraptured by her "wonderful" new book and her brother Barack's "amazing" story.
"You have the Obama smile. I would have recognized that a mile off," Morgan told Auma. Was he exaggerating or does he know President Obama that well? Regardless, he followed up with more flattery praising her book's "wonderful" title, Barack's "memorable" 2008 campaign speech, and his "unbelievable" singing voice. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
"What a moment, I mean, for you and the family, but for you to watch this guy who tracked you down and then he becomes President of the United States of America," Morgan gushed to Auma. He also couldn't help but admire Obama's "unbelievable" singing voice.
"Does he get this great singing voice from his African side, do you think? He must have," Morgan said of Obama.
On next morning's Starting Point, anchor Soledad O'Brien wasn't as enthusiastic as Morgan but did seem to get her history mixed up. Talking about Auma and Barack's father, Barack Obama, Sr., she said he went "from Kenya to America and then back to Kenya eventually, where he met the woman who would become your mother."
Actually, Obama Sr.'s wife was pregnant with Auma before he first left Kenya for Hawaii, where he married Ann Dunham who had Barack in 1961.
Morgan never broached the topic of Obama's father's controversial past, which O'Brien to her credit did once. "You write a lot about how your father and his father was a very complicated man, to have a wife in America and leave and leave a family behind and then go to Africa, to have – keep in contact with his son, but not in contact necessarily the whole entire time," she asked Auma.
A partial transcript of the segment, which aired on May 2 on Piers Morgan Tonight at 9:08 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
PIERS MORGAN: You have the Obama smile. I would have recognized that a mile off.
AUMA OBAMA, half-sister of President Obama: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: It's a wonderful title, "And Then Life Happens," because your life must have just changed so dramatically, I guess in several ways. Once when Barack Obama, who is nowhere near being president at the time, he's just a young man, after the death of the father that you shared, decides to contact you. Tell me about that moment first.
BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: I'm the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles, and cousins of every race and every hue scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible.
(End Video Clip)
MORGAN: A memorable speech from the 2008 campaign as Barack Obama, poised to make history as the first African-American president of the United States. And I'm back now with his sister, Auma Obama. What a moment, I mean, for you and the family, but for you to watch this guy who tracked you down and then he becomes President of the United States of America.
A. OBAMA: Imagine that.
MORGAN: What did you feel?
MORGAN: What do you say – what do you say to your brother when he becomes president? I've always wondered what that must be like, that first conversation afterwards. Do you remember what you said to him?
A. OBAMA: I said well done, little brother, well done.
MORGAN: Not much more to say, really, is there?
MORGAN: Now my sister is like you. She loves me, she's proud of me, she's proud of my rather meager achievements compared to your brother's, but she's also my toughest critic.
A. OBAMA: Okay.
MORGAN: She's the one – one of the ones I listen to most. Are you a critic to Barack? Do you sometimes say to him, look, mate, you're my brother and here's my advice on this?
MORGAN: Does he get this great singing voice from his African side, do you think? He must have.
A. OBAMA: What great singing voice?
MORGAN: Well, you heard him sing Al Green, right? Did you hear that?
A. OBAMA: I did, I heard it.
MORGAN: It was unbelievable. That must be on your side, surely.
MORGAN: It's a wonderful book. I mean I really – it's fascinating. It's an amazing story, isn't it?
A. OBAMA: Thank you.
MORGAN: And as he said in that speech, this could only happen in a country like America where someone like him with his background, you know, with such a disparate wide-ranging background, could do this. I've really enjoyed reading it. It's called "And Then Life Happens: A Memoir."