Lynne Cheney said Tuesday that her husband, Vice President Dick Cheney, is a distant cousin of his political polar opposite: Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Cheney said she made the surprising discovery that her 66-year-old Republican husband and Obama, 46, are eighth cousins while she was doing family research for a book about her experiences growing up in Wyoming.

The vice president’s wife said she traced a common ancestor of the two men to a 17th century immigrant from France.

She described it as “an amazing American story that one ancestor … could be responsible down the family line for lives that have taken such different and varied paths,” according to an interview with MSNBC television.

The Illinois senator and the vice president are diametrically opposed on many issues but particularly when it comes to the Iraq war, which Obama opposes but Cheney supports.

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