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May 08, 2012

The International: New Biography Traces Obama's Evolution Into an American

This isn't about the Birth Certificate, but rather Obama -- He Of Several Worlds, as he likes to think of himself -- deciding to construct a more American identity for himself.

The son of a Kenyan father and an American expatriate mother, Obama emerges as a man questioning whether he viewed himself, or wanted to be viewed by others, as an American....

Obama had a lot of Pakistani friends; Maraniss writes that if Obama and his girlfriend socialized as a couple, "it was almost always with the Pakistanis." Obama appeared to identify with his friends as fellow non-Americans. "For years when Barack was around them, he seemed to share their attitudes as sophisticated outsiders who looked at politics from an international perspective," Maraniss writes. "He was one of them, in that sense."

But Obama was ambitious. Appalled by the "dirty deeds" of "Reagan and his minions" (as he wrote in "Dreams from My Father"), Obama became increasingly interested in, as Maraniss writes, "gaining power in order to change things." He couldn't do that as an international guy hanging around with his Pakistani friends; he needed to become an American.

So he did...

Mahmood, Maraniss writes, "could see Obama slowly but carefully distancing himself as a necessary step in establishing his political identity as an American."

More at the link, including Hillary consultant Mark Penn's memo noting that Obama's "roots as an American" and attachment to American culture were at best "limited."


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posted by Ace at 11:38 AM

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