President Obama got some "heavy-duty reading material," said Linda Feldman in The Christian Science Monitor, when he met with the head of the Mormon Church, Thomas Monson, on Monday. Latter-Day Saints President Monson gave Obama five leather-bound volumes detailing Obama’s family tree. “We don’t think they included a copy of Obama’s birth certificate,” to the likely dismay of his “fringe opponents.”
Also unclear is if Obama’s genealogy notes his “distant family link” to Dick Cheney and Brad Pitt, said Susan Davis in The Wall Street Journal. But this meeting wasn’t as odd as it may sound. Mormon leaders also gave family trees to presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the highest-ranking Mormon in government, was at the meeting.
It's still hard to see what Obama hoped to get from his meeting with Monson, said Jacqueline Salmon in The Washington Post. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 45 percent of Mormons approve of Obama’s job performance, compared with 67 percent of Catholics and 58 percent of Protestants. True, Reid is a Democrat, but most Mormons are Republicans—notably, Obama’s potential 2012 GOP rival Mitt Romney.
The meeting was apparently cordial, said Brian Montopoli in CBS News, but for all the talk of genealogy, there’s one bit of family history Obama and Monson “glossed over”—last year’s posthumous Mormon baptism of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. The Mormon Church says that Dunham’s unrequested baptism was “improper,” but such unauthorized “baptisms of the dead” have long angered Jewish families, too.