Good interview in Today’s NYT:

“If, as president, I travel to a poor country to talk to leaders there, they will know I have a grandmother in a small village in Africa without running water, devastated by malaria and AIDS,” he said. “What that allows me to do is talk honestly not only about our need to help them, but about poor countries’ obligation to help themselves. There are cousins of mine in Kenya who can’t get a job without paying an exorbitant bribe to some midlevel functionary. I can talk about that.”

Referring to the time he spent in Indonesia, Obama said: “I have lived in the most populous Muslim country in the world, had relatives who practiced Islam. I am a Christian, but I can say I understand your worldview, although I may not agree with how Islam has evolved. I can speak forcefully about the need for Muslim countries to reconcile themselves to modernity in ways they have failed to do.”

On a similar note, President Bush also found that he couldn’t get a job without a relative in one of the outer provinces bribing a midlevel functionary.