Nearly four years after Barack Obama was elected to the most powerful office in the most powerful country in the world, the question remains: Who is he?
He seemed to come out of nowhere. He had served seven years in the Illinois Senate, and less than four years in the U.S. Senate – a meager political resume, augmented by a stirring speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
His was an exotic story, at least by the standards of the 42 white men who preceded him in office. Son of a black African and white Kansan, born in Hawaii, raised there and in Indonesia, he was something new, and America seemed ready for him. He won almost 9.5 million votes more than John McCain.
And yet, “there was the feeling that we knew less than we needed to know” about our new president, says Janny Scott, author of “A Singular Woman,” a biography of Stanley Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother. “He didn’t fit a comfortable template.”
Four years have passed. We have watched Obama as commander in chief, waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and we have seen him accept the Nobel Peace Prize. We have seen him grapple with a dismal economy and a relentless opposition. We have been spectators to a grueling fight over health care from which he emerged victorious – if only just barely. All of this in the glare of a fierce and unyielding media spotlight.
By now, we should have a fix on the man who is asking for a second term.
But still we ask: Who is Barack Obama?
Read the AP report here.