We all know that President Obama has Seattle roots. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, attended Mercer Island High School and was enrolled for a semester at UW. And last month the Seattle PI’s Mónica Guzmán made a pretty convincing case for the idea that baby Barack lived briefly in a house on Capitol Hill.

Now this (much smaller) tie: The February 2 issue of the New Yorker features these kids, Terese and Preston Palomino of Seattle, in a photo essay of presidential inaugural ball attendees.

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The pint-size Obama fans scored access to the Western Ball with their father who, the magazine reported, “was at Princeton with Michelle Obama.” I discovered that the Obama classmate in question is one Othniel Palomino (pictured here) a local tech-startup entrepreneur and Barack campaign contributor.

I called Palomino yesterday. Had to ask: Michelle. Princeton. What’s the scoop?

“I graduated the same class with her. I was in a summer program before my freshman year that she participated in as well. That’s how I really got to know her…. I was an engineer and she was a sociology major. We weren’t like best friends, but I knew her fairly well. And we used to go to social events together—dances and things of that nature…. She’s tall. I’m 6’2”, and you know, in heels she’s almost as tall as I am. She’s always had a stand-out quality about her…. Regal’s probably not the right word, but she just had—she’s very statuesque. And she was always very personable…. It was interesting to see her [dancing on stage with Barack at the Western Ball] because she doesn’t look that different from when she was an undergraduate.”

The best thing about attending the Inaugural Ball?

“My son Preston [age 6] had followed the campaign, so it was great for him to see it go from being an experience of reading or looking at pictures in the paper to actually being there and actually seeing the President of the United States…. When we were walking out, I had him on my shoulders, and this guy walked up to me and he was in his mid-60s, and he said, ‘You know, back in 1949, when I was four years old, Harry Truman came to town and my dad put me on his shoulders, and I’m in my sixties now and I still remember that day.’ And people were just telling us stories like that; because, obviously our children were among the youngest participants.”

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