President Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States. His clever adoption of technology allowed him to beat Hilary Clinton out for his party’s nomination for the presidential ticket and to beat his Republican opponent to secure his first term in office.
A progressive agenda, and a lack of any significant scandals during his tenure as President, enabled him to win the White House for a second time, and he stood down after eight years in the top job in January 2017.
Here are some things you may not know about President Obama and his political legacy:
12. He Has a Family in Kenya
Barack Obama has been dogged by allegations he wasn’t born in America. He was. He was born in Hawaii. What most people don’t know is that he has a family that isn’t American. His father’s first wife Kezia and their two children are Kenyan and live in Kenya.
11. He Spent a Long Time in Indonesia
Obama’s family (his mother and stepfather) were pretty mobile when Barack was young and they took him to live in Indonesia for a period of 4 years from 1967 to 1971. His clearest memory of that time is eating snake, apparently. He left Indonesia to go to school back in Hawaii.
10. He Inhaled
Bill Clinton famously pretended that he didn’t use drugs at college because when it came to his turn on the joint “he didn’t inhale.” Obama makes no such pretense and has freely admitted that during his youth he used cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. He was high on life and everything else.
9. He Was a Badass at Basketball
Barack Obama was the man when it came to basketball in high school. He made varsity for his ball control and he says that he was known as “O’Bomber” for his mad skills on the court. It’s unfortunate that that’s how they think of him in several countries where no-one has a clue about his basketball game now.
8. A Simple Start in Life
Barack Obama’s touch with the “common people” of America might be explained by the fact that he had a very humble start in life. He worked at Baskin Robbins back in 1976 and not as a manager but as a humble ice cream “scooper.” Living like a real American may have helped him better understand what voters wanted from life.
7. Obama is an Orphan
Barack Obama’s father moved back to Kenya in 1964 and his son would only see him one more time when he came to Hawaii in 1971. He passed away in a car accident in 1982. Barack’s mother got her PhD in 1992 and led a full life until she died from ovarian cancer in 1995.
6. Not Hot Enough to be a Pin Up
When Barack was at Harvard, he was living on a tight budget and he probably thought that the chance to appear as a male model in a calendar was a good way to boost his finances. The all-female panel choosing the models thought otherwise and rejected his application to appear.
5. He’s a Harry Potter Fan
Barack Obama may be the only inhabitant of the Oval Office to be able to claim that he’s a huge fan of J.K. Rowling. He read the Harry Potter books to his daughter Malia when she was growing up and they finished the entire series of 7 books together.
4. He’s Got a Grammy
Actually, this is quite incredible. Barack Obama has won two Grammy awards for “Best Spoken Word Album” for his audiobooks Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Strangely, this is a record that he shares with Bill Clinton and it’s now a race to see who can get 3 Grammy awards first.
3. Clean Living
Barack may have been a wild and rebellious youth but he’s very much cleaned up his act in later life. He never drinks coffee no matter how tired he is and he very rarely drinks alcohol. It shows that he takes his political and familial responsibilities seriously and puts him ahead of many previous presidents.
2. Social Media Skills
President Obama came to power because of his canny use of social media, so it should come as no surprise that he was the first American President to send “tweets” on Twitter whilst in office. He seems to have inspired his successor, Donald Trump, to do the same thing with Twitter.
1. Quitting Smoking Was Hard
Barack told his wife Michelle that he’d stop smoking if she’d let him run for president. She did, but he didn’t. It turned out that like many smokers, Barack found the idea of quitting easier than the practicalities of quitting. He didn’t completely stop smoking until 2010.
It’s a hard job being President of the United States. It’s enough to make anyone crumble. Yet, Barack Obama bore the mantle of office well. He is widely respected both at home and abroad for his contributions to the American people and for global prosperity.
These 12 revelations don’t change that. They simply serve to illustrate the human side of a man that the world has asked superhuman things from.
Barack Obama is as much an inspiration as an ordinary man as he was as the President of the United States of America. That’s a great legacy to pass down.