NEW YORK: President Barack Obama is back in the limelight, and how: a new 1,078-page biography ‘Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama’ by Pulitzer-prize winning biographer David Garrow, to be released on May 9, has some explicit details of his exciting love and sex life prior to his marriage with Michelle Obama.
Obama, no doubt, must be truly grateful that the book was not released close to the last presidential elections; otherwise the Democrats would have had another reason, flimsy though it may be, to attribute their loss to.
After all, during his eight years in office, Obama had a pristine record for no salacious details emerging from his past life, apart from his self-admitted drug use in his teen years.
I can’t get one interesting line from the book out of my head: “B. That’s for you. F’s for all the f—ing that we do”. That’s a line from a poem written by a then 25-year-old Australian American woman named Genevieve Cook, who slept with Obama, who was 22 then, on their first date in Manhattan. Needless to say, we can assume that the 44th POTUS was an excellent lover even though he didn’t get an A.
There are some other startling details in the biography, including the one about Obama being in love and deeply enamored with a woman two years junior to him in college, whom he twice proposed to, but was rejected. That woman, Sheila Miyoshi Jager, is now an Associate Professor at Oberlin College. The book says Obama continued to see Jager even after he got married to Michelle.
Another shocking revelation in the book is that Obama considered a physical relationship with a gay male political science professor at Occidental College, in Los Angeles, Lawrence Goldyn.
“He had thought about and considered gayness but ultimately decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex,” Garrow writes of Obama.
However, what stood out for me in the book are details from Obama’s regular partying and use of cocaine in college and after he graduated, with three male friends, all Pakistani – Sohale Siddiqi, Hasan Chandoo and Imad Hussain. The book says Obama and the trio of Pakistanis took ‘lots of cocaine’. Obama met them at Occidental.
But that’s not all.
According to the book, after Genevieve Cook and Obama ended their relationship, she soon hooked up with Sohale Siddiqi.
Cook and Siddiqi did ecstasy together, and then had sex. When she informed Obama of the sudden turn of events, a miffed Obama wrote a letter to Cook expressing his wounded feelings: ‘The news of Sohale and you did hurt.’
Obama also showed his disgust for the three Pakistani men, by calling them with a racial slur, ‘Pakis’, in the same letter.
However, it seems Obama’s friendship with the three Pakistanis did not get totally destroyed: Chandoo, who is termed the leader of the pack, later became a fundraiser for Obama, the book claims.
It’s unlikely that the popularity of Obama will be hurt by the revelations in the new biography, or his reputation will be besmirched. It does add layers to Obama’s personality and formative years though. It’s remarkable that Obama was a stern disciplinarian to his work ethics, rose to be the most powerful man in the world.
While the biography on Obama comes out next week, this week saw the release of ‘First Daughter’ Ivanka Trump’s new book ‘Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success’.
In the book, Trump has effusively praised Indian American Reshma Saujani, who founded the non-profit organization Girls Who Code, which teaches women how to code and close the gender gap in the tech industry.
It didn’t go down quite well with Saujani, a staunch Democrat, though.
Saujani tweeted her displeasure of President Trump’s policies, with the ire directed at Ivanka: “Don’t use my story in #WomenWhoWork unless you are going to stop being #complicit.”
(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)