By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
5:00 PM PDT, May 28, 2011
Reporting from Warsaw, Poland
President Obama brought his genealogical odyssey full circle here on Saturday when, just days after paying homage to his ancestral roots in Ireland, he announced that he is also "a little bit Polish."
He says he's Polish by way of Chicago, that is, which according to local calculations is often said to be the largest city of Polonia outside Warsaw.
"If you live in Chicago and you haven't become a little bit Polish," Obama joked, "then something's wrong with you."
It has been a festival of ethnicity for Obama in Europe, just weeks after the release of his long-form Hawaiian birth certificate settled -- for most of the people who still wondered, anyway -- the fact that he is a native-born American.
In Ireland last week, he hoisted a Guinness with residents of Moneygall, the hometown of his great-great-great grandfather on his mother's side.
“You look a little like my grandfather," the president remarked to one of his fellow drinkers.
He gave a nickname to his long-lost eighth cousin, Henry Healy, likely forever branding the young man "Henry the Eighth" to his kinsmen.
As Obama went on to England and France, copies of his family tree in wide distribution suggested roots on his mother's side among those populations as well.
In public remarks with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk after a private meeting on Saturday, Obama praised the resilience of the Polish people and their example to young democracies everywhere.
Their story inspires him, too, Obama told Tusk.
"In a way," he said, "I am part of Poland."
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times