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Originally published November 8, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified November 8, 2008 at 12:18 AM

Live inauguration coverage: AP | Washington Post | KUOW

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Obama apologizes to Reagan for joke

President-elect Obama called Nancy Reagan on Friday to apologize for joking that she held séances in the White House.

WASHINGTON — President-elect Obama called Nancy Reagan on Friday to apologize for joking that she held séances in the White House.

At a news conference in Chicago, Obama said he had spoken with all the living presidents as he prepares to take office in January. Then he smiled and said, "I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any séances."

The 87-year-old former first lady had consulted with astrologers during her husband's presidency. But she did not attempt to hold conversations with the dead.

Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the president-elect later called Nancy Reagan "to apologize for the careless and offhanded remark." She said Obama "expressed his admiration and affection for Mrs. Reagan that so many Americans share, and they had a warm conversation."

It actually wasn't Nancy Reagan who was linked to conversations with the dead; it was Obama's top Democratic challenger for the presidency, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

Nancy Reagan consulted an astrologer to help set her husband's schedule, wrote former White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan. In his book "The Choice," Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward described how Clinton consulted with a spiritual adviser who led her through imaginary conversations with her hero, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Reagan, the 87-year-old widow of former President Reagan, is recuperating after a fall at her Los Angeles area home that left her with a broken pelvis.

Obama's aunt to fight deportation order

BOSTON — President-elect Obama's aunt intends to fight a deportation order and hopes to remain in the United States, her immigration lawyer said Friday.

The Associated Press found that Zeituni Onyango, 56, is staying with relatives in Cleveland after fleeing her public-housing apartment in Boston. She had been living there five years.

Onyango, who is Obama's father's half-sister, was ordered to leave the country in 2004 by an immigration judge who rejected her request for asylum from her native Kenya.

Obama's campaign said previously he did not know about his aunt's status but believes she should obey the law. The campaign said it was returning $260 that Onyango had contributed to Obama's campaign.

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Director on leave amid "Joe the Plumber" probe

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, who had been questioned over records checks made on a man who became known as "Joe the Plumber" during the presidential campaign, was placed on leave by Ohio's governor Friday.

But a spokesman for Gov. Ted Strickland said that Jones-Kelley was placed on paid administrative leave because of the possibility a state computer or state e-mail account was used to assist in political fundraising.

Jones-Kelley has acknowledged that she approved a records check on Samuel J. Wurzelbacher just after the Oct. 15 presidential debate where he became known nationwide as Joe the Plumber. Jones-Kelley has said such checks were routinely conducted when someone suddenly emerges in the limelight. Wurzelbacher, meanwhile, has paid a nearly $1,200 tax bill, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Wurzelbacher has said he didn't know he had a tax lien against him until reporters looked into his background.

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