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.
"I am curious why you chose to spell Christian with lower case?"
did you notice i had no capital letters in the post? when i'm writing informally -- on forums, in emails to people i know -- i often see no need to obey punctuation rules, unless my meaning becomes unclear.
"The are countless non-Catholics attending Catholic schools worldwide. They are always excused from religious instruction and ceremonies."
obama's "madrassah" had people of multiple faiths there. look, i'm not saying to vote for the guy. i'm just saying to quit the black helicopter style ravings about barack being or having been a muslim. he grew up religiously indifferent; he's now a theologically left-wing christian; and he's a left-wing democrat. there are plenty of reasons to oppose the guy besides these fantasies about madrassahs.
Is that real? A non-Photoshop?
yes it was a faux pas by CNN that a lot of people saw and copied the picture.....just google Where's Obama.
>>Incidentally, Obama wrote an earlier autobiography which was published in 1995.
That's a really weird thing, right there.
Who writes an autobiography when they're under 35, and haven't really done much of anything?
Nice. I wish I'd had that, when the Lefties were all over FNC about the Osama madrassa story.
"I challenge you to find one single post of mine where I wrote that Obama went to a madrassah -- there are none."
How quickly we forget. In post #52 on this thread, you write:
"I would suspect that he was a practicing Muslim during the time he spent at a madrassah in Indonesia."
I am sure that you have heard many times "it's not reality but what someone perceives."
In otherwords your opinion doesn't count (no offense meant - read on)
I believe the real situation is - - - - WHAT DO THE (1.5 Billion) MUSLIMs perceive? Because if you read the Koran and understand Islamic law - - - - the children of all Muslim fathers are CONSIDERED Muslim. Else, check out being an apostate. So, . . . . . the belief (perspective) is that 1.5 Billion + people of the world consider Barak Hueissen Obama to be a Muslim.
I would ask that Barak Obama do more than claim to be a Christian, I believe he should denounce Islam and the Koran where it states (paraphrased) that all the children of a Muslim are themselves Muslims. Let me hear that to really believe that his attendance at a "Christian" church is more than a sham.
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