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Obama seen through eyes of ex-girlfriend

Posted by on May. 2, 2012 at 3:55 PM
  • 7 Replies

Here is the future most powerful man in the world, judged through the eyes of a long-ago ex-girlfriend as she records in her personal journal the demise of their brief but intense relationship:

Thursday, May 23, 1985

Barack leaving my life—at least as far as being lovers goes. In the same way that the relationship was founded on calculated boundaries and carefully, rationally considered developments, it seems to be ending along coolly considered lines. I read back over the past year in my journals, and see and feel several themes in it all ... how from the beginning what I have been most concerned with has been my sense of Barack's withholding the kind of emotional involvement I was seeking. I guess I hoped time would change things and he'd let go and "fall in love" with me. Now, at this point, I'm left wondering if Barack's reserve, etc. is not just the time in his life, but, after all, emotional scarring that will make it difficult for him to get involved even after he's sorted his life through with age and experience. Hard to say, as obviously I was not the person that brought infatuation. (That lithe, bubbly, strong black lady is waiting somewhere!)

Barack was, of course, future President Barack Obama. The woman was Genevieve Cook, who met Obama in 1983 at a Christmas party in Manhattan's East Village. He was barely six months from his graduation from Columbia University. They crossed paths in the kitchen. He was wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt and a dark leather jacket.

The poignant, often intimate recollections come from "Barack Obama: The Story" by David MaranissVanity Fair published excerpts of the book, which will be published in June. They confirm Obama's description of himself in his memoir "Dreams From My Father" as grappling with his identity. And they will resonate with those who regard Obama as charming but powerfully reserved, almost aloof—traits that have led more than one observer to liken him to "Star Trek's" Mr. Spock.

Thursday, January 26 How is he so old already, at the age of 22? I have to recognize (despite play of wry and mocking smile on lips) that I find his thereness very threatening. ... Distance, distance, distance, and wariness.


Saturday, February 25 The sexual warmth is definitely there—but the rest of it has sharp edges and I'm finding it all unsettling and finding myself wanting to withdraw from it all. I have to admit that I am feeling anger at him for some reason, multi-stranded reasons. His warmth can be deceptive. Tho he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness—and I begin to have an inkling of some things about him that could get to me.

At another point, in March, she described Obama as "drawing others' cards out of their hands for careful inspection" without reciprocating. "There's something also there of smoothed veneer, of guardedness ... but I'm still left with this feels of ... a bit of a wall—the veil," Cook wrote.

Maraniss writes that "when she told him that she loved him, his response was not 'I love you, too' but 'thank you'—as though he appreciated that someone loved him."

A May 9 entry described Obama as "so wary, wary. Has visions of his life, but in a hiatus as to their implementation—wants to fly, and hasn't yet started to take off, so resents extra weight."

Readers who want to will see Cook as predicting Obama's eventual marriage to first lady Michelle Obama.

"I can't help thinking that what he would really want, be powerfully drawn to, was a woman, very strong, very upright, a fighter, a laugher, well-­experienced—a black woman I keep seeing her as," she wrote.

by on May. 2, 2012 at 3:55 PM
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Replies (1-7):
by on May. 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM


I am trying to think if I would have written of anyone this way when I was 22. I dunno.

by on May. 2, 2012 at 4:01 PM
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 Did she call him Barry? Larry did.

by on May. 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM
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giggle snort.....good thing I swallowed this lemon juice !

Quoting imamomzilla:

 Did she call him Barry? Larry did.

by CM Junkie on May. 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM

 How old was she when they were together?

by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Sounds like she was in love with a man who cared for, but wasn't in love with her. Sounds like she wanted to take their relationship to the next level, but he didn't. When she said "I love you." and he said "Thank you", she should have known he didn't feel for her like she did for him.

It's really sad to love & not be loved back in the same way. I have been in relationships like that before & it's a slow torture.

by Member on May. 2, 2012 at 6:39 PM
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Huh, frankly much of what she writes could have applied to my own husband back when we first started dating. One evening, after some physical intimacy, I said "I love you." He looked at me, smiled, and said "Thank you." Doesn't exactly reek of romance! But I knew he cared about me and I knew he was conflicted about me. In time that veil, that distance disappeared and when he said what was in his heart, I knew he meant it. I have no idea why I felt like sharing that.

To the point.....Is this a dig at the president? A sutble clue that he is a person with a deceptive nature, hiding away his true intentions and feelings? Or is this a "Hey, this is kinda interesting." piece?

If it's a dig at the Pres. I'm having a hard time finding fault with him within her words. Here he sounds like a young guy who is still trying to figure out where he wants to go and how to get there. Same with the relationship, sounds like someone who is afraid to let someone get too close or allow their guard to fall far enough to allow for hurt to happen. At least he was honest and didn't tell her what she wanted to hear just because it was expected. Better to know where you stand than feel like you were strung along.

by Bronze Member on May. 2, 2012 at 7:39 PM
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Gee a young man in his twenties emotionaly available go figure. This all seem pretty standard for a lot of young men she obviously wanted more out of the relationship this he do.  Like several men I dated.

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