Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Political Play: Obama claims link to the Wild West

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Barack Obama is claiming a link to the Wild West - Wild Bill Hickok, to be precise.

The Democratic presidential candidate came to this town on the edge of the old West on Wednesday and laid down a challenge for his GOP rival.

"If Sen. McCain wants a debate on taxes in this campaign, I'm ready," Obama said, noting that Hickok is said to have fought a duel here. "I'm ready to duel John McCain on taxes right here, quick draw," Obama said before closing the loop with Hickok.

"The family legend is that he is a distant cousin of mine. I don't know if it's true but I'm going to research it."

It's not just legend, says Chris Child, a genealogist with the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Hickok is sixth cousin to Obama's fourth great-grandfather, Jacob Dunham, Child said. Their common ancestor is Thomas Blossom, who arrived with the Pilgrims. The society earlier found other notable links to Obama, including Brad Pitt, of Springfield; and Vice President Dick Cheney.

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