8.25.2008

barack's brother-in-law

Here's an interesting interview with Konrad Ng, husband of Maya Soetoro-Ng, and brother-in-law of Barack Obama: Obama's brother-in-law taking it all in stride.
Q: What do you say when people tell you that you could be the brother-in-law of the next American president?

A: "You know he's such a great guy. He's a great candidate for president and we, of course, think really highly of him. So it's really easy to be proud, you know, to be proud of his accomplishments; the type of character that he is; and the type of campaign he runs; and all of the people that have supported him. We're very proud and we hope he wins."

Q: A pundit reported you were an adviser to your brother-in-law. Is that true?

A: "He's family, but he's got a lot of really capable people around him. He's in a position where people will take his call and are willing to offer him advice. Right now, it's just a matter of being a normal family member."

Q: Have you seen him during his campaign?

A: "We spent time together during the summer (Obama vacationed in Hawaii earlier this month), the Iowa caucus, and we spent time together over Christmas. We get the occasional e-mail and occasional phone call. He's awfully busy."

Q: Did he talk to you about running?

A: "After he did decide, which was late January 2007, we did have a big call, which involved family members and friends and some advisers.

He just said I'm going to do this and his pitch was a really compelling one, the story that he continues to tell, restoring people's faith in America and thinking that we can do better. That was sort of the big meeting, but it's not an easy decision.

People think it's glamorous. He said often: 'It's not will I win, but should I run and can I contribute something to the process by running?' I think he has begun to transform the political map. New people are getting involved in politics. People are excited about politics. That's a really exciting thing to be witness to."

Q: How do you deal with the criticism and attacks your brother-in-law has faced?

A: "For us, with my wife, we remain pretty constant and they do too. They (Barack Obama and his wife Michelle) remain on an even keel. I think they are really focused on the issues and running a dignified campaign. We've been trying to be very Zen throughout it, and supportive.

We love him unconditionally. It's really easy because of who he is, his character, to be proud and to like him."

Q: Should he offer Hillary Clinton the vice-presidency?

A: "That's really up to him and his team. As he said, she'd be on anybody's short list."

Q: What are you doing now?

A: "My wife, she'll be campaigning in Chicago, and I help out where and when I can. We have a young daughter and that's my main thing. Making sure she's OK and spending time with her when she's young."

Q: Will you be in Denver for the convention?

A: "We haven't quite figured out our plan. Maya has her job as a teacher and I have my job at the university. It's going to be the start of classes, but we would like to. We definitely would like to, but it's all about sorting out the things like work."

Q: What were your thoughts about your brother-in-law when you were dating his sister?

A: "Certainly, my focus was on the heart of this beautiful woman, and she has these in-laws (Obama and his wife Michelle) that happen to be doing some pretty spectacular things. It's hard to fully appreciate, the enormity of these accomplishments ... Before, when I met Maya, he was a state senator and sort of looking at becoming a (U.S.) senator. I was thinking these could be my in-laws and I should leave a favourable impression."

Q: How do you deal with people who know you are Barack Obama's brother-in-law?

A: "The great thing about Hawaii is that people here are pretty laid back about things like this. We get our space and we get a sense of just being part of the community. That's terrific. Students talk about, people talk about it. They're very excited and supportive. It's a really positive environment. Everyone is hoping everything remains civil. That's what Obama wants to do. He wants to engage in a very civil discourse."
Really, how does it feel to be brother-in-law to the man who might become the next president of the United States? I bet it makes the holidays interesting. At least Barack knows he can count on his vote. Check out Konrad's blog over on the Obama website here.

Konrad is also apparently a fan of this blog. I've actually had a couple of email exchanges with him over the last year. I remember him telling me that he's impressed with Obama's character and experience, even if he wasn't family. Well, of course he's going to say that!