So what compelled my friend Marian to write the letter below? An interview on Warren Olney's To the Point radio show on Friday (the link will lead you to the podcast).
Warren Olney was talking to a number of people, including a Democratic Party strategist and two professors: Dante Scala, a political science professor from the University of New Hampshire and Robert Dallek , a Boston University history professor.
In the Reporters' Notebook section (this starts at 42 minutes after the beginning of the show) Dallek called Obama an African American, where upon Warren Olney told him of the many emails he gets disputing that designation as he is not the descendent of slaves.
At that point, Dallek not only agreed but said this is why Obama gets such support. He is the son of an immigrant, which many Americans can relate to in their own lives where as being the descendent of slaves makes it much more difficult to connect to the American public.