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The Obamas: Portrait of an American Family (by Gwen Ifill, published Sept. 21)
| Sept. 21, 2008
| by Gwen Ifill
Posted on 10/02/2008 12:47:47 PM PDT by library user
The Obamas: Portrait of an American Family
Soon we will vote for our next president, and for the first time in history, one of the two candidates is a Black man. For a year, Essence pursued an interview with the entire Obama family to no avail. Finally, this summer ESSENCE became the only Black media outlet allowed a glimpse into the lives of Barack, Michelle and their two girls, Malia and Sasha, when we were invited to their South Side Chicago home. Weeks later, veteran political journalist Gwen Ifill was with the family as they campaigned in a small mostly White western town, and she flew with them to a Black church in the urban Midwest.
Barack Obama is sitting in the back of his rented luxury campaign bus with its granite counters and two flat-screen TVs. The Illinois senator's arms are wrapped around his wife, Michelle, whom he doesn't get to see much these days. At this very moment he is, of all things, singing.
I've just asked them how their lives have changed since he won the Democratic presidential nomination. There have definitely been changes, especially for Michelle Obama, who used to pride herself on campaigning by day and rushing home to her daughters each night. Now she is spending more of her days and nights on the road, but seldom in the same place as her husband. And when their daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 get to see their dad, they likely have to share him with thousands of adoring strangers. "Daddy's gone a lot," Sasha notes. "We don't see him that much."
But on this Fourth of July, everyone is together. Even though there are at least a half-dozen aides and family members on the bus with us, it feels intimate back here. Michelle and Barack are curled up on the beige couch, while the children are reading and coloring a few feet away. Michelle folds her long legs to her chin and leans into her husband as he explains the reality of their lives. When he pauses, she finishes his sentences.
Their ease with each other recalls the day several weeks earlier when ESSENCE arrived to photograph the Obamas at their large Georgian Revivial home on Chicago's South Side. Barack stood on the lawn playfully teasing his wife as she posed for our cameras. Now, as then, his customary public caution melts away when he is with his family. Under relentless media scrutiny, Barack Obama says his family is going the extra mile to "maintain this little island of normalcy in the midst of all this swirl of activity."
But family snapshots of this sort are rare, as are moments when the Obamas can just chill. "Michelle has done a heroic job of managing the house, the family and still finding time to campaign and be out on the road," he says, after directing staff members to turn off the television, which was tuned to Fox News Channel. "I'm always marveling at everything that she can do."
And then he sings.
"I'm every woman," he croons. She cringes. He laughs. "That's Michelle. It's like, Chaka Khan! Chaka Khan!"
TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bias; blackfamily; drivebymedia; ifill; obama; obamafamily
You know she's just using that wheelchair in hopes that Palin will feel sorry for her and won't call her out on her little book. If I was Ifill, I'd be ready for a few surprises later this evening.
To: library user
posted on 10/02/2008 1:05:06 PM PDT
by Jeff Head
(Freedom is not free...never has been, never will be. (www.dragonsfuryseries.com))
"Michelle has done a heroic job of managing the house, the family and still finding time to campaign and be out on the road," he says, after directing staff members to turn off the television, which was tuned to Fox News Channel. "I'm always marveling at everything that she can do."
Then Sarah should leave you absolutely breathless, Gwen.
posted on 10/02/2008 1:06:09 PM PDT
(Taxpayers voting for Obama are like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders)
To: library user
posted on 10/02/2008 1:10:30 PM PDT
(Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum)
To: library user
I don’t give a crap. She and her ilk are setting Black Americans backwards 10 years or more with their childishness.
posted on 10/02/2008 1:29:51 PM PDT
by Clock King
(You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.)
To: library user
I wonder if Obama has the questions already, like he had the republican plan last week.
posted on 10/02/2008 1:51:08 PM PDT
(WHERE THE HELL IS JOHN GALT?)
To: library user; Pride in the USA; Stillwaters
Between her pending book publication and the fawning, breathless tone of this article she wrote, I’ll eat my hat if Biden hasn’t gotten an advance preview of tonight’s debate questions.
posted on 10/02/2008 1:55:29 PM PDT
(John McCain was a Kinoki foot pad in the Reagan Revolution)
On October 5, 2004, she moderated the vice-presidential debate between Republican candidate Dick Cheney and Democratic candidate Senator John Edwards. During the debate, Cheney said he would need more than the allotted 30 seconds to react to a statement by Edwards, Ifill told him "Well, that's all you've got." Ifill said that although it was not her intent, Democratic partisans were delighted with her because she was seen as being "snippy" to Cheney.
Ifill's neutrality as the debate moderator for the upcoming Vice Presidential debate has been questioned by "conservative talk radio, blogs and cable news" since she is also writing a book that discusses the presidential campaign of Barack Obama amongst several other topics, due out on the same day as the United States Presidential Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009...
Ifill dismissed suggestions that she could not be objective in the debate
, saying: "I've got a pretty long track record covering politics and news, so I'm not particularly worried that one-day blog chatter is going to destroy my reputation. The proof is in the pudding. They can watch the debate tomorrow night and make their own decisions about whether or not I've done my job."
For now, living on Chicago's Black South Side, where the family resides in a gated $1.65 million Hyde Park home that is only a stone's throw from what Michelle freely desires as “the hood,” has kept them aware of the problems plaguing African-Americans such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS and breast cancer. When I mention that I haven't hear AIDS-which has reached crisis status among Black woman-come up much in the campaign, Barack agrees that it's a critical issue he has talked about and should talk about. “There is no illness that we are not disproportionately affected by,” he says. Michelle picks up the thought: “A lot of us don't have access to primary preventive health care. People can't afford regular doctors.”
Michelle says their home turf keeps them grounded in other ways as well. “One of the things I like best about this, what we're doing, is that we still live on the South Side,” she says. “So for all of this wonderful madness that comes along with our lives-the Secret Service, the cars-there are kids on Forty-seventh and King Drive who can walk two blocks and be that close for the first time to somebody who can be the president of the United States. I love that... I like for them to be able to walk and stand in front of our house and see him up close and personal. “This man lives in my neighborhood.”
“They don't know where Kennebunkport is,” Barack adds, referring to the Bush family compound in Main, “but they know where the South Side is.”
He recalls one of the most powerful moments on the campaign trail. “A White woman comes up to me and says, ‘My son teaches in an inner-city school in San Francisco, and he's told me that during the course of your campaign he's noticed that the Black boys in the class are working harder, are more focused, are fascinated by this whole thing,’” he says. “You know kids just want to feel like they've got a shot. If they can recognize something that gives them some sense of a path to achievement and respect, they absorb it like sponges.”
Gwen Ifill’s book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama (Doubleday) is scheduled to be published next year.
Essence Magazine Excerpt, September, 2008
posted on 10/02/2008 2:11:08 PM PDT
To: library user
As another post said on a similar thread, when I get to the description of “Black” and it’s capitalized, I am OUT.
posted on 10/02/2008 2:17:32 PM PDT
(Obviously, liberals can't handle a strong, independent woman.)
Berry Hussein Obama has almost nothing in common with the average black person living in America. Wouldn't it be funny if it turns out that Berry isn't black but Arab? It would just be another case of liberals lying to blacks and using them like pawns.
posted on 10/02/2008 2:34:46 PM PDT
( Al Gore Is A Big Fat Lying Hypocrite. He Pollutes The Air By Opening His Big Mouth)
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