WASHINGTON (CBS) – A day after President Obama’s uncle was granted legal residency in the United States, the White House is backpedaling on a 2011 assertion that the two had never met.

Shortly after Onyango Obama’s 2011 OUI arrest in Framingham, the White House said the President had had never met his father’s half-brother. But on Tuesday, during a deportation hearing in which a judge granted Onyango Obama legal residency, the 69-year-old Obama reportedly told the court that the President had lived with him for a short period of time while attending Harvard Law School in the 1980s.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed to reporters on Thursday that, in 2011, no White House staffers had bothered to actually ask President Obama if he had ever met his father’s half-brother, instead relying on available records.

“Back when this arose, folks looked at the record, including the President’s book, and there was no evidence that they had met, and that was what was conveyed. Nobody spoke to the president,” Carney said.

In the president’s book “Dreams from my Father,” there is a single reference to an uncle Omar, believed to be Onyango. He’s described as the uncle who left Kenya and never came back. The memoir, published in 1995, makes no mention of the President living with him.

“When Omar Obama said the other day… that President Obama, back when he was a law school student, had stayed with him in Cambridge, I thought it was the right thing to do to go ask him,” Carney said. “Nobody had asked him in the past. And the President said that he in fact had met Omar Obama when he moved to Cambridge for law school and that he stayed with him for a brief period of time until his, the President’s apartment was ready.”

President Obama graduated from Harvard Law in 1991. Carney told the press that the President and his uncle lost touch after he graduated.

“After that, they saw each other once every few months while the President was in Cambridge. Then, after law school, they gradually fell out of touch. The president has not seen Omar Obama in 20 years and has not spoken with him in roughly ten,” he said.


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