December 4, 2008

Obama mom-in-law may live in White House

Sources within Barack Obama's family say they expect the U.S. President-elect mother-in-law to move with her family into the White House.

USA Today reported Thursday that Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, is believed to be planning to move from her native Chicago to continue her campaign-era role of helping care for the first family's two young daughters.

Robinson and Michelle Obama have not officially confirmed whether the grandmother of Sasha and Malia Ann Obama will move into the White House with the rest of the family Jan. 20, but Robinson recently told the Boston Globe: If somebody's going to be with these kids other than their parents, it better be me.

William Bushong, staff historian for the non-profit White House Historical Association, said Robinson would be far from the first presidential in-law to live in the White House. He said President Andrew Jackson brought just about everybody in his family with him from Tennessee to Washington after his inauguration in 1829.

Myra Gutin, a historian at Rider University in New Jersey, said strife between presidents and their live-in mothers-in-law is also not unheard of. Madge Gates Wallace, mother of President Harry Truman's wife, Elizabeth Wallace Truman, was well known for being unimpressed with her daughter's spouse.

She was a nasty son of a gun. She would frequently say, after her son-in-law became president, that it was in large measure because he married Bess, Gutin said.