When you're a black guy trying to succeed in the rust belt, a story like this can't hurt:

Here in rural Pickaway County, 30 minutes south of Columbus, word is spreading that a pair of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's ancestors are buried just a few miles away and that the Democratic nominee has loads of distant relatives living in southern Ohio. All of them are white.

The downside of being one of those distant living relatives, however:

More than a few times, the revelation has prompted veiled or outright racist remarks from friends and acquaintances, forcing good-natured Kearney to find a comeback and risk rippling the once-placid social waters.

--Michael Crowley