Our theme for this episode of Obama Mystery Theater is babysitting. Several strange and disturbing stories revolve around the Obama family and its babysitters. There are also some very interesting connections.
First, we have Mary Toutonghi, the woman who claims that she babysat for the future U.S. president Barack Hussein Obama II when he was just a wee “pink” lad. Trouble is, just months prior, Toutonghi didn’t mention that amazing connection when she spoke to an Alaskan reporter about vandals trashing her Obama-for-president yard signs.
If she did mention it, apparently that local reporter didn’t believe this local connection was worth mentioning. (Simply unbelievable.) The same reporter, in January 2009, failed to ask Toutonghi why she had not mentioned babysitting for Obama when they spoke earlier about the vandalism. Or perhaps the reporter simply failed to report Toutonghi’s “explanation” (for her own reasons).
Toutonghi not only supported her alleged erstwhile charge for POTUS in 2008, but she also conveniently remembered babysitting for little Barry, while his mother attended University of Washington, only after it was discovered that “Anna Obama” had moved to Seattle from Hawaii a mere 3 weeks after the birth of her child. Unfortunately, Toutonghi got her math wrong, and she ended up adding to the skepticism about Barry’s back story instead of putting it to rest.
Next up! Relatively unknown adopted sister Holiyah “Lia” Soetoro Sobah. (h/t LEZA) Lia is not, unfortunately, still living, having died mysteriously before Obama’s first scheduled visit to Indonesia.
Lia was adopted by Stanley “Ann” Dunham Obama Soetoro and her then-husband Lolo Soetoro, when the couple lived in Jakarta. At some later point, Barry was “picked” (Lia’s word) by Ann to be a brother for Lia, and the two children were raised together until the Soetoro marriage fell apart. Because Lia was the elder, she often had to babysit for her younger brother Barry Soetoro.
As a child, Evie was often beaten by a father who couldn’t stand having such a “sissy” for a son.
“He wanted me to act like a boy, even though I didn’t feel it in my soul,” she says.
Teased and bullied, she dropped out of school after the third grade and decided to learn how to cook.
As it turned out, she was pretty good at it, making her way into the kitchens of several high-ranking officials by the time she was a teenager, she recalls with a smile and a wink. And so it was, at a cocktail party in 1969, that she met Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother, who had arrived in the country two years earlier after marrying her second husband, Indonesian Lolo Soetoro.
Dunham was so impressed by Evie’s beef steak and fried rice that she offered her a job in the family home. It didn’t take long before Evie also was 8-year-old Barry’s caretaker, playing with him and bringing him to and from school.
Neighbors recalled that they often saw Evie leave the house in the evening fully made up and dressed in drag.
Now let’s jump ahead to the next Obama generation. Where to begin? How about with Christine Saffold, who says that she babysat for the Obama girls? (h/t bgill at Free Republic)
Ms. Saffold was quoted in a story from 2007, about young Obama supporters at Yale University: [emphasis added to quotes]
Christine Saffold ’11, who once babysat Obama’s daughters, said she thinks Obama appeals to students because he is in more in touch with younger generations.
“He’s youthful and energetic and has a way of connecting to the younger demographic,” she said.
Saffold comes from a distinguished family in Chicago. Her father was Eugene Renauld Saffold, a former managing director at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and also chief financial officer for the city of Chicago and a top adviser to former Mayor Richard M. Daley. He was also a trustee for Chicago schools, in the 1990s.
Eugene R. Saffold began his banking career at Salomon Smith Barney, co-founded LS Financial Group Inc. in Chicago, and worked for Bank One Corp. After Daley left office, Saffold became an indendent consultant and was also on the board of the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund. Saffold was on the board of the Erikson Institute, which itself has many interesting connections:
[Bill Ayers’s wife] Bernardine Dohrn, has also served on the Erikson board in recent years:
Tom Ayers served as a trustee of the Erikson Institute. The Institute distributed $46,025 in Northern Trust scholarships. At the time, the Erickson Institute Board of Trustees also included Ayers’ convicted felon daughter-in-law, Bernadine Dohrn Ayers. In addition, the Institute’s co-founder, Barbara Bowman, is the mother of close Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett.
When Saffold died in 2012, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel honored his “life and memory” with a resolution. (There is more background information about the man within the resolution, at the link.)
Saffold’s father, also Eugene Saffold, was an elementary school teacher, later a high school math teacher, and also a basketball coach in Chicago. The elder Eugene Saffold became a salesman for Anheuser-Busch–the beginning of a long career at the company:
He accepted a job offer from Anheuser-Busch in 1953, working his way up to director of its special markets, which offered corporate sponsorships and other support to local grass-roots organizations. He was the point person for the company’s annual telethon for the United Negro College Fund.
Eugene Renauld Saffold’s former wife, Carol Saffold, is a physician:
Family Health Center in Kalamazoo has named Dr. Carol Saffold as its new Chief Medical Officer.
Dr. Saffold is a graduate of Rush Medical College. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency in Chicago. She is a licensed physician and surgeon in the states of Illinois and Michigan and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
She has worked as the Senior Attending Physician at Provident Hospital of Cook County and has served as Assistant Professor at Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Her focus has been on reaching underserved populations with an emphasis on preventive health maintenance and patient education.
Dr. Saffold has been appointed to many national OB/GYN committees and is frequently an invited lecturer on women’s health and quality improvement. She also has received numerous honors and awards.
She travels annually to provide OB/GYN services in Africa and South America.
Ms. Saffold is a fan of and a volunteer at Endeavor Global, Inc., which is a “nonprofit or community organization”:
Established in 1997, Endeavor … is leading a global movement to catalyze long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating high-impact entrepreneurs worldwide. …
Endeavor’s “mentor capitalist” model catalyzes a chain reaction in the larger economy—driving investment, creating role models, and incubating the next Silicon Valley in Rio or Cape Town, Cairo or Jakarta. It is a model that Thomas Friedman hailed as the “best anti-poverty program of all” and one that New York City-based Endeavor, along with its 15 independently-run country affiliates in Latin America, the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, and South Africa, will expand to 25 countries by 2015.
Christine Saffold is also a Business Development Analyst at Microvest Capital Management.
Ms. Saffold is a Business Development Analyst, joining the team in 2013. She supports the Business Development Team with capital raising, market research, and business development. Prior to joining MicroVest, Ms. Saffold was an Investment Banking Analyst for Barclays, where she gained experience in valuation analysis, conducting in-depth market research, and financial modeling. Ms. Saffold has volunteered extensively with Women’s World Banking, providing business strategy research and recommendations to senior management regarding entry into the Mexican microfinance market. She also volunteers for Endeavor Global, a global nonprofit that provides strategic support to high-impact entrepreneurs.
Ms. Saffold holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Yale University. She is fluent in English, has advanced proficiency in Portuguese and Spanish and speaks intermediate French.
In 2010, she was a participant in a group at Yale called Smart Woman Securities, which is another “nonprofit”, which teaches female undergrads about investing. The group is supported by progressive billionaire Warren Buffett.
In addition to other political contributions over the years, Buffett has formally endorsed and made campaign contributions to Barack Obama‘s presidential campaign. On July 2, 2008, Buffett attended a $28,500 per plate fundraiser for Obama’s campaign in Chicago hosted by Obama’s National Finance Chair, Penny Pritzker and her husband, as well as Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett.
In 2008, Christine Saffold was associated with the New Haven/Leon Sister City Project:
The New Haven/Leon Sister City Project is a “progressive, binational, grassroots organization that fosters a relationship between the communities of Greater New Haven and León, Nicaragua“. …
The organization has been hosting delegations to Nicaragua since 1984.
The New Haven office of the organization is at 608 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511.
Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that! It would be expected that when the Obamas lived in Chicago, they were very well connected politically and socially to the well-connected (politically and socially) progressives in the community.
Interesting that Stanley Ann Dunham, like Christine Saffold, was into women’s issues, microfinancing, and promoting small business entrepreneurship around the world.
A globalist. Like her mother Madelyn Dunham and the Saffolds, Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro was into banking.
Finally, we come to the last Obama family babysitters that this post will feature:
Mona and Rashid Khalidi.
Yes, former PLO spokesperson and head of the Middle East Studies Department at Columbia University, where Obama may or may not have attended classes. In 2008, Mona Charen wrote:
Consistent with what you’d expect from someone who justified PLO attacks on civilians in Israel and Lebanon from 1976 to 1982, Khalidi routinely refers to Israel as a “racist” and “apartheid” state, and professes to believe in a “one-state” solution to the conflict. Guess which country would have to disappear for that “one” state to come into existence?
The Khalidis and Obamas were good friends. In his capacity as a director of the Woods Fund, Obama in 2001 and 2002 steered $75,000 to the Arab American Action Network, the brainchild of Rashid and Mona Khalidi. According to an L.A. Times account of the dinner, Obama mentioned that he and Michelle had been frequent dinner guests at the Khalidi home (just another guy in the neighborhood?) and that the Khalidis had even baby-sat for the Obama girls.
Like William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, the Khalidis held a fundraiser for Obama in their living room when he unsuccessfully sought a House seat. At the farewell dinner, according to the L.A. Times, Obama apparently related fondly his “many talks” with the Khalidis.
So close were these two families that the babysitting was reciprocal:
According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, the Democratic presidential hopeful befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university. The professor spoke on condition of anonymity. Khalidi lectured at the University of Chicago until 2003 while Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004.
Sources at the University told WND that Khalidi and Obama lived in nearby faculty residential zones and that the two families dined together a number of times. The sources said the Obama’s even babysat the Khalidi children.
On the left side of this webpage are links to many articles and videos that elaborate on the Obama/Rashidi connections.
Thus ends our adventures in babysitting and with them, this latest episode of
Obama Mystery Theater.