8 Takeaways From The New Yorker's Profile On President Obama
Just in time for President Barack Obama's State Of The Union address Tuesday night, we have David Remnick's juicy New Yorker profile on the president. Remnick has already written a biography about Obama, which recalls his rise from long-shot candidate all the way to the White House. In the New Yorker piece, "Going the Distance," Remnick gives us a closer look at our nation's leader today — from Obama's Sunday morning basketball game, to his feelings about the highly-criticized Affordable Care Act rollout.
It's a perspective that we haven't seen since Michael Lewis hung out with Obama for six months and shared the details in a Vanity Fair profile. This time around we see a more realistic Obama, one that's aware of his limitations and the heavy burden that comes with his second term. Here's what you need to know...
1. He Applies "Godfather"-isms to Politics
After nearly two terms, the president still holds on to his belief that bipartisanship is an attainable goal across the board. He's on the lookout for that single unifying moment that will bring Democrats and Republicans together.
Though Obama's a powerful man with powerful friends, it's proven to be a difficult journey — one that has the President constantly calling on Congress to help him out with.
2. We Can Expect A Memoir
Obama plans to pen a memoir after he leaves the White House in 2018, most likely touching on issues like human rights, education, and health and wellness. The president’s already got three books under his belt, including one aimed at children. His best friend, Marty Nesbitt, told Remnick:
3. He Defends Shortcomings With A "Long View" Perspective
When it comes to critics, Obama's got a lot of them — just look at his sliding approval ratings. He's acknowledged his shortcomings with issues like the Affordable Care Act rollout, but has also pointed out that Rome wasn't built in a day.
4. "The Beast" Is Overly Prepared For Anything
The presidential car is a Cadillac known as "The Beast." But it's not just any limo. It's said to weigh as much as 15,000 pounds, is armored with ceramic, titanium, aluminum, and steel to withstand bomb blasts, and is sealed in case of biochemical attack.
It carries a supply of blood to match Obama's. The window are five inches thick, and it's doors are as heavy as those on a Boeing 757. When you have one of the top world leaders riding in the back, what can you expect?
5. He's Not As Extroverted As You Think
It may come as a surprise to many that the charismatic, affable President we see isn't a fan of big groups. He does well in small, close quarters and is a top-notch public speaker, but schmoozing isn't really his thing.
Remnick writes that Obama would rather eat privately with a group of his aides before a fundraiser, than move from table to table chatting to guests.
6. Obama's Known As the "Reluctant Politician"
Remnick doesn't hold back on criticism of the president. Amongst other things, he's been called:
And it could be that there's some truth in their sentiments. One columnist noted Obama "would rather read a book than spend time with people he doesn’t know or like" — and that includes members of Congress. But, when Obama does invite Republicans over, his invites are apparently declined.
7. Snowden's NSA Leaks Weren't Comparable to Watergate
Or so the President says. Despite the firestorm Edward Snowden sparked with his NSA leaks, Obama still insists there isn't anything to cover up. Nothing was illegal, he adds, though some people were put at risk.
Though he admitted the NSA has had “too much leeway to do whatever it wanted or could," he doesn't regret his decisions.
8. Basketball Can Be Applied To Anything — Even the Middle East
Obama's known for being a basketball fan; he's even sported a couple of injuries from rough games on the court.
When it comes to the Middle East, he believes American military involvement isn't the answer to achieving peace and balance in developing countries. He even uses a sports comparison when asked about the rise of terrorism is Fallujah.