Senior aides to Sen. Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick were aware that Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango, was living in the United States illegally and in a South Boston public-housing project, and were monitoring her at the request of senior Obama campaign officials, according to a current employee for Obama's key political consulting firm, AKP&D Message and Media.
Back in early 2007, as Obama's chief campaign strategist David Axelrod was organizing and planning the Obama campaign, he identified Obama's unique family situation -- a number of half-brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, some living overseas -- as a potential problem, says an employee for Axelrod's political consulting firm, and who has done work on the Obama campaign. "Given [Obama's] father's family history here and in Africa, David wanted the campaign to know who was who, where they lived, and what they were doing. No surprises. We knew she was here illegally. We knew her income levels, but I don't think anyone from the campaign had had contact with her."
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