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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Obama shout-out goes to grandmother of Times columnist



From Georgia to Florida, Times columnist Ernest Hooper's family watched President-elect Barack Obama's speech tonight in eager anticipation.

Family members had been told beforehand by the campaign that 106-year-old Ann Nixon Cooper, Hooper's maternal grandmother in Atlanta, might be mentioned in tonight's acceptance speech. Watch it.

And then, about 12:15 a.m., Cooper became a part of history.

"I guess overwhelmed is the best word," Hooper said after the speech. "My sister said he was going to mention her in the speech. I had no idea he was going to build the entire conclusion to his speech around her and her incredible life.

"It's amazing to see someone you know all your life, someone you've loved all your life, honored on one of the most historic nights in our nation's history."

Cooper was discovered by the media two weeks ago when she went to vote early for Obama. A CNN camera crew came to her Atlanta home and profiled her.

"She talked about how excited she was to have the opportunity to vote for Sen. Obama," Hooper said. "I guess someone from Sen. Obama's campaign saw the piece on CNN. He called and left a message.

"Of course she didn't get the message. She was out riding with her friends. Which I think says a lot about how she continues to remain active."

Cooper later played the answering machine message, in which the president-elect thanked her for her support, for CNN.

"She's very deserving of all this attention," Hooper said. "She's a wonderful woman, and she's lived a remarkable life. She's an inspiration to all of us."

RELATED CONTENT: A super grandma is 105 (Okay, I admit a little bias). And, you can read Ernest Hooper's first column about Barack Obama, written in 2004, here.

Jamal Thalji, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:39am]


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