Skip to comments.Obama's quiet years in N.Y.C.
Posted on 01/14/2007 8:29:55 AM PST by mdittmar
You can usually spot future politicians in college.
They're the backslappers and the organizers, the ones who talk your ear off, appear so sure of themselves and always seem to pop up when a camera starts snapping.
Barack Obama wasn't one of those guys.
The Illinois senator, who has become a political superstar and is expected to jump into the 2008 presidential race any day now, spent three years in New York as a young man and graduated from Columbia University - where he barely left a mark.
"He was not at all a high-profile student, not the sort of guy who is class president, who everyone says is going to have a future in politics," said Stuart Levi, a fellow international relations major from Columbia's class of 1983.
"It's funny - there are people like that from my class, but he wasn't one of them," said Levi, now a lawyer at Skadden, Arps.
Obama, who writes in his best-selling memoir of moving to New York from Los Angeles in his junior year after he decided to get serious about his future, was a transfer student who lived off-campus in a series of iffy sublets and spent a lot of time in the library.
Many of his classmates don't remember Obama. He's not in the yearbook. Columbia couldn't find a picture of him at school.
"You didn't see him at a lot of events and activities," said classmate Gerrard Bushell, who remembers Obama's arrival mostly because there weren't many black students.
"I remember him being very quiet. He had a nice smile. A thoughtful approach. You knew he was smart, but you never got a sense that here was someone who wanted to overwhelm you."
Bushell, who went on to work in city politics, said he was impressed with Obama but didn't foresee his meteoric rise.
"We knew he had what it took to be successful," he said. "But this is amazing."
Obama opened his book, "Dreams from My Father," in Manhattan, when he was living in a dump on E. 94th St. that he described vividly.
"The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn't work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle."
Obama's first night in New York was spent curled up around his luggage in an alleyway on W. 109th St. - because his new landlord was AWOL.
He claims one of his roommates while in New York was an undocumented Pakistani immigrant named Sadiq, although he warns some of the people in the book are "composites."
Obama wrote that the wealth and stark racial divisions of Manhattan in the early 1980s had a profound effect on him.
"I stopped getting high. I ran 3 miles a day and fasted on Sundays. For the first time in years I applied myself to my studies and started keeping a journal of daily reflections and very bad poetry," he wrote.
"You're becoming a bore," his friends told him.
He went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyn and started lecturing his relatives until they worried he'd become "one of those freaks you see on the streets around here."
He wrestled with his racial identity, and one of the casualties was his year-long relationship with a wealthy white girlfriend. "I pushed her away," he wrote.
After graduating, he took an analyst job at Business International Corp. to pay off his loans while looking for a grass-roots organizing job. He had an office and a secretary but it bothered him to be the only black executive, he wrote, so he quit.
Soon after, Obama lit out for a $13,000-a-year job as a community organizer in Chicago - where his destiny awaited.
It isn't. Obama is a Christian. Let's keep our eyes focused on where Obama is actually dangerous -- his liberal politics -- and not on the lies.
Obama is obviously as good at fiction as he professes to be at poetry.
He had a rich white girlfriend whom he pushed away? Why, because she was white? Why then was she his girlfriend and hey if his mother is white why does he seems to have a problem with white women? Answer, I doubt that he does.
He slept on the street on the first night in NY becasue his landlord was AWOL? What does that mean exactly?
The 80's in NY were such a shocking dichotomy to his senses becasue of the disparity between white and black incomes? Did he end up in a time warp and thing he was thrust into the 50's or 60's? The 80's weren't that different then today except the liberal Mayors at the time allowed homeless persons to wander the streets harrassing everyone so maybe he just noticed it more!
I mean c'mon this whole things is so fake, phoney and straight out of the left's view of the mean cruel world aligned againts the struggling black man that just so sterotypical pap to possibly be true.
Instead, he ended up just another oily scumbag in Chicago politics.
No he's not - - the oily scumbag just plays one on TV.
What does this mean, and what does it have to do with anything? It is not a qualification, or a disqualifier, IMO.
hillary will be the dem nominee,I have no doubt about that.
My interpretation of that statement was that the landlord was merely not there when Obama showed up to occupy his apartment.
Composites, lies, whatever. If this doesn't set off veracity alarm bells...
Soon we will find out that he lived deep in Hartlem, and worked for the Rev. Al. What a shameless huckster he is.
Nominate him! He will make George McGovern look like a real vote getter.
Private school in Hawaii
Community activist, Left-Wing Chicago politician
University of Chicago Law School faculty
Unless she makes him her veep. It's not like he'd pose a threat.
How long will it be before some store-front imam issues a fatwa for Osama's, ooooops, I mean Obama's apostasy?
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