5 Things You Didn’t Know About Barack Obama

Four debates and countless campaign stops later, voters have learned much about their candidates' positions, policies, and personalities. Or have they?

By Caitlin O'Connell
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    He learned not to sling mud from ...his mom.

    Although he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama spent four years of his childhood in Indonesia. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, instilled in her young son a deep sense of respect, a particularly important value in Indonesian culture. Obama's sister opened up on this period of their lives for a New York Times story, and describes how even as children they adopted this Indonesian custom: "We were not permitted to be rude, we were not permitted to be mean, we were not permitted to be arrogant. We had to have a certain humility and broad-mindedness." 

    Photo credit: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

    His parents predicted his presidency.

    Obama's mother always realized her son's potential, and told a friend from Hawaii she believed he could be president of the United States. One of Obama's teachers in Indonesia recounts a conversation between young Barry and his stepfather, Lolo. When Lolo asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, Obama responded, "Oh, prime minister."

    Photo credit:
    Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project/Wikimedia Commons

    He's a poet (and we didn't know it).

    Journalist David Maraniss uncovered several of Obama's romantic correspondences for his book about the life of the President, Barack Obama: The Story. Obama's smooth words reveal the soft side of a young man in love. One such letter from 1983 to a one-time girlfriend, reported by Maraniss, describes New York City: "Moments trip gently along over here. Snow caps the bushes in unexpected ways, birds shoot and spin like balls of sound. My feet hum over the dry walks. A storm smoothes the sky, impounding the city lights, returning to us a dull yellow glow."

    Photo credit: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

    Seinfeld, Suzanne Vega, and ...

    Like most college students arriving in New York, Obama took up in a less-than-desirable apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side after transferring to Columbia University. To escape his living situation, where heat and hot water were in limited supply, Obama often went for breakfast with his roommate at Tom's Diner (the outside setting of Monk's, the Seinfeld characters' favorite meeting place).

    Photo credit: Fogster/Wikimedia Commons

    His students got a preview of his presidency.

    Before he became the junior senator from Illinois, Obama taught for 12 years at the University of Chicago Law School, where he honed in his skills as a future politician. In the classroom he was easy-going, joking with students and interspersing movie references with case law. It wasn't until after Obama entered the political arena that his U. Chicago colleagues and students recognized themes of his campaign that had originated in the classroom.

    Photo credit: Hiperpato/Wikimedia Commons

    Your Comments

    • David Dunlap

      BULLSHYT! He was born in Mumbasa Kenya….his grandmother even said she was there at his birth….plus there is a birth cert. from the hospital in Mumbasa…signed , sealed, number stamped…this a.h. is a freaking lying fraud!

    • Carolemae

      Thanks for sharing.  If only all of us could live by these standards.

      • 4qbud

        Yeah, as if!

      • Paul621

        Well, HE does not …

    • Pkilpatrick

      The foregoing comments do nothing to make me like or dislike Mr Obama.  I just don’t think he has been honest w/the /American people.  Maybe now that the election is over he will come
      forth w/the full and true story of the raid on our embasy in  Lybia and the neglectful manner in which this was handled.                              

      • David Dunlap

        don’t hold your breath for this clown to EVER tell the truth…its not in him!

      • Paul621

        And how did that full disclosure about Lybia work out for you?

    • JANKELLEY47

      I love Barack Obama— he was a genius to get us out of the mess George Bush put us in.He would be the next FDR if that miserable Congress would not stop every bill he wants passed!

      • David Dunlap

        WTF are you smoking?

      • MMinCC

        Moron-typical low information REgressive

    • Ann Hoag

      I don’t care about his skin color.  I liked him in the beginning, but he turned out to be a bad president.   I don’t like his liberal views and the way he put our country in more debt with his endless spending.  If he wins again, you people who voted for him will be the losers.  We all will lose.  He will take away our money and our liberties.  We will end up like Greece.  If Romney wins, all you Romny haters will end up liking him, even you liberal Democrats.

    • Ann Hoag

      I don’t care about his skin color.  I liked him in the beginning, but he turned out to be a bad president.   I don’t like his liberal views and the way he put our country in more debt with his endless spending.  If he wins again, you people who voted for him will be the losers.  We all will lose.  He will take away our money and our liberties.  We will end up like Greece.  If Romney wins, all you Romny haters will end up liking him, even you liberal Democrats.

    • Ann Hoag

      I don’t care about his skin color.  I liked him in the beginning, but he turned out to be a bad president.   I don’t like his liberal views and the way he put our country in more debt with his endless spending.  If he wins again, you people who voted for him will be the losers.  We all will lose.  He will take away our money and our liberties.  We will end up like Greece.  If Romney wins, all you Romny haters will end up liking him, even you liberal Democrats.