Raising Obama

Exploring Barack Obama’s youth, Todd S. Purdum discovers that the senator’s casual aplomb masks an aggressive, restless core.

From Vanity Fair:

Screenhunter_02_mar_08_1844After weeks of rooting around in his past, in Chicago, in Springfield, in Honolulu, I went to see Obama in his Senate office. He had just returned from the Senate floor to a sparely decorated inner sanctum, notable for a large, bright, almost child-like painting of Thurgood Marshall. After exchanging pleasantries (we have a connection: my sister-in-law, Betsy Myers, a former Clinton-administration official, was chief operating officer of Obama’s campaign; she took the job after I received this assignment, and we have not talked about her new boss since), Obama sat down and put a foot up on the coffee table. Our conversation ranged from Indonesia to Illinois, but my first question was simple: when did he realize that he had an ambition that might be ever so slightly audacious?

“There was a fundamental rupture in my life between Occidental and Columbia, where I just became more serious,” Obama said. While he was in New York, his father died, giving the son “a sense of urgency about my own life.” He added, “Now, that doesn’t mean at that point I somehow instantly had these grand ambitions for political office. But I do think it was at that point in my life—those two years when I was in New York—where I made a decision that I wanted to, I wanted to make my mark.”

More here.