In an article from today's New York Times, Jodi Kantor sets out to make President Barack Obama look more human and lively than he tends to in his national addresses, with a feature on his competitive nature
Considering how colorful and lively the scenes of him reading picture books to children ("In 2010, he began by announcing that he would perform "the best rendition ever" of Green Eggs and Ham, ripping into his Sam-I-Ams with unusual conviction," Kantor writes), it's a fun read.
But something seems a bit off a quarter of the way through, when his playfulness turns into cockiness, then floats dangerously close to arrogance.
From the article:
Four years ago, Barack Obama seemed as if he might be a deliberate professor of a leader, maybe with a touch of Hawaiian mellowness. He has also turned out to be a voraciously competitive perfectionist. Aides and friends say so in interviews, but Mr. Obama’s own words of praise and derision say it best: he is a perpetually aspiring overachiever, often grading himself and others with report-card terms like “outstanding” or “remedial course” (as in: Republicans need one).
. . .
Those were not the only times Mr. Obama may have overestimated himself: he has also had a habit of warning new hires that he would be able to do their jobs better than they could.
“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Mr. Obama told Patrick Gaspard, his political director, at the start of the 2008 campaign, according to The New Yorker. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
Considering that he has degrees from Columbia and Harvard, and he's the freakin' President of the United States, I'm inclined to give him a pass.
But he'd better be careful. He and Mitt Romney are neck and neck in the polls, and to trip himself up due to overconfidence would be crushing to watch (even if it is media gold).
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