NAME: Barack Hussein Obama. He was named after his father, Barack Obama Senior, a Kenyan who herded sheep as a child.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Obama stands 6 feet,1.5 inches, although when photographed next to Bill Clinton who is listed as 6 feet 2.5 inches, Obama looks taller. Obama is an unusual presidential candidate in that he appeared to lose weight on the campaign trail. He probably best described himself at a Denver rally acknowledging the city’s mayor, John Hickenlooper. Obama said it was great being on a podium with another tall, skinny guy with a funny last name. Like George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton Obama is left-handed. His doctor pronounced Obama to be in “excellent” health, though noting a history of intermittent cigarette smoking.
PERSONALITY: Anyone, foe or friend, of Barack Obama’s will attest to his strong, charismatic, and powerful personality. Much was made of his laid-backed coolness – this was not a man easily ruffled and who stayed focused on what he considered important. There were many who urged him to change the tone of his campaign – against Hillary Clinton when she went negative and against Republican opponent John McCain when the Obama attacks from McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, became especially vitriolic. (To McCain’s credit, he defended Obama) Obama refused to change the positive attitude of his campaign.
Adjectives often used to describe Obama are “calm,” “down to earth,” “scholarly,” “assured,” “confident.” Being down to earth was noted by one writer after Michelle and Barack Obama were interviewed on television’s 60 Minutes. When asked if the president-elect would do “dish” duty in the White House, Michelle shook her head aghast, “No.” “Barack was secure enough in his manhood to pipe up, without batting an eye. ‘I like doing dishes.’ According to the wiry Democrat, the chore was a ‘soothing’ one.”
PRIMARY SOURCE: DeGregorio, William A. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. 7th ed. Fort Lee: Barricade Books, 2009.