Barbara Bush and Sarah Palin Are Actually Distant Cousins: How They're Related

Shared connection — or political party — aside, Bush and Palin sometimes traded barbs

Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty; Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

“Barbara Pierce Bush’s strength and perseverance may have been imprinted in her genes, in a family whose story tracked America’s history from the start.”

So begins the second chapter of Susan Page’s The Matriarch, a new biography on Bush, out now, which features extensive access to the Bush family and Bush’s personal diaries through the years.

The result is an expansive look at a historic figure — wife to one president, mother to another, a former first and second lady — and her often private contributions to a family that has shaped America for decades.

The Matriarch is not just Barbara Bush’s story: Page also traces her lineage back generations to the founding of America itself. The branches of her family tree, Page writes, include the progenitors for Winston Churchill and President Calvin Coolidge’s vice president as well as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet, and Sarah Palin.

Palin, a former governor or Alaska and Sen. John McCain’s presidential running mate in 2008, and Bush are actually sixth cousins, once removed, according to Page. That means that much further back up their shared family tree, their ancestors were siblings.

Through her father, Bush was descended from Henry Samson, who journeyed from Britain on the Mayflower at 16 years old, according to Page’s book. Samson was also the link between Bush and Palin.

On her mother’s side Bush was descended from Robert Coe, a “restless and ambitious man” who at 38 took the Francis to the U.S. from the U.K.

This heritage “underscores the depth and breadth of [Bush’s] links to the history of the United States, and the energy and independence that was part of her heritage,” Page writes.

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Shared connection — or political party — aside, Bush and Palin sometimes traded barbs.

In an interview with CNN in 2010, the former first lady was asked about Palin.

“I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful,” Bush said. “I think she’s very happy in Alaska. And I hope she’ll stay there.”

Days later, in an interview with conservative pundit Laura Ingraham (now a Fox News host), Palin described the Bushes as “blue bloods,” according to Politico. Ingraham had said that “elites” were trying to hamstring Palin from a future campaign.

Palin replied: “I don’t want to sort of concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I don’t think the majority of Americans want to put up with the blue-bloods — and I say it with all due respect, because I love the Bushes — but the blue bloods who want to pick and chose their winners instead of allowing competition to pick and choose the winners.”

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