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What Happened to Obama?

August Kleinzahler: The Rise and Fall of Barack Obama, 18 October 2007

Dreams from My Father 
by Barack Obama.
Canongate, 442 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 1 84767 091 5
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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream 
by Barack Obama.
Canongate, 375 pp., £14.99, May 2007, 978 1 84767 035 9
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ObamaFrom Promise to Power 
by David Mendell.
Amistad, 406 pp., $25.95, August 2007, 978 0 06 085820 9
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... Barack Obama, junior senator from Illinois and presidential candidate, passed through San Francisco last month during a three-day visit to California, the climax of which was an ‘exclusive’ fund-raiser at Oprah Winfrey’s estate in Santa Barbara County, expected to raise around $3.5 million. Winfrey is a good friend to have, whether you’re moving depilatories, novels or presidential campaigns, and Obama needs all the friends he can get: he is trailing Hillary Clinton nationally by nearly 20 per cent and is 30 points behind in California ...

Who Lost?

David Edgar: the third presidential debate, 9 October 2008

... 2008 presidential debates it was the counter-blows that will probably be forgotten. Certainly, Barack Obama had and has effective voting data to counter the implication of McCain’s effective one-liner (‘I’m not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago’) while McCain was unable to recover ...

Short Cuts

Jenny Diski: Melanie Phillips, 13 May 2010

... here in the UK, and now has a book out in the US with Encounter Books (other new titles: How the Obama Administration Threatens Our National Security, How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting the US Economy, The Bad Science and Bad Policy of Obama’s Global Warming Agenda – which would ...

Obama on Israel

Uri Avnery: Controversy at the Aipac Conference, 3 July 2008

... After a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has defeated Hillary Clinton. And what was the first thing Obama did after his astounding victory? He made a speech at the Aipac conference that broke all records for obsequiousness to the Israel lobby. That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked ...

Obama’s Delusion

David Bromwich: The Presidential Letdown, 22 October 2009

... Long before he became president, there were signs in Barack Obama of a tendency to promise things easily and compromise often. He broke a campaign vow to filibuster a bill that immunised telecom outfits against prosecution for the assistance they gave to domestic spying. He kept his promise from October 2007 until July 2008, then voted for the compromise that spared the telecoms ...

North Korea’s Bomb

Norman Dombey, 2 February 2017

... Yet there is no complacency about the importance of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. Barack Obama is said to have told Donald Trump at their post-election meeting that North Korea is the biggest foreign threat the US faces, and it has been reported that it plans to launch another long-range missile soon after Trump’s inauguration. The need ...

It’s not the bus: it’s us

Thomas Sugrue: Stars, Stripes and Civil Rights, 20 November 2008

The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph that Shocked America 
by Louis Masur.
Bloomsbury US, 224 pp., $24.95, April 2008, 978 1 59691 364 6
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... sects. And it has become a necessary accessory for political candidates. Early in his campaign, Barack Obama was criticised for his unpatriotic failure to display a flag lapel pin: as president-elect he now regularly wears one. America’s freewheeling consumer culture has spawned all sorts of profitable bastardisations of the flag: it appears on ...

Degrade and Destroy

David Bromwich, 25 September 2014

... 2002, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry voted for Bush’s request to authorise the use of force. Barack Obama, then a state senator in Illinois, gave a speech against it; and nobody who knows the history would blame the present conflict in the Middle East on Obama. Indeed, after the disaster of Libya in 2011, he had ...


David Bromwich: A Bad President, 5 July 2012

... I went to see Barack Obama speak in New York, in spring 2007, at a preliminary ‘sounding’ for donors and assorted others. This was a few weeks after he announced his candidacy, and the audience of a hundred or so, in a spacious Upper West Side apartment, were brought in close enough to let everyone have a glimpse ...

Who rules in Baghdad?

Patrick Cockburn: Power Struggles in Iraq, 14 August 2008

... Barack Obama was lucky in the timing of his visit to Iraq. He arrived just after the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, had rejected a new Status of Forces Agreement which would have preserved indefinitely the US right to conduct military operations inside the country. The Iraqi government was vague about when it wanted the final withdrawal of US troops, but its spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh declared that they should be gone by 2010; this fitted Obama’s promise to withdraw ‘one to two’ combat brigades a month for 16 months ...

Short Cuts

Adam Shatz: The Blessed Obama, 12 February 2009

... Barack Obama is the first American president who has made history simply by being elected. His Swahili first name – which is derived from the Arabic baraka, or spiritual wisdom – means ‘he who is blessed’, and the world seems to think he is. Obama’s victory, Bono said, is the realisation of ‘the Irish dream, the European dream, the African dream, the Israeli dream and also the Palestinian dream ...

Iran’s Bomb: A Revision

Norman Dombey: Iran’s Bomb: A Revision, 24 January 2008

... capability is a nuclear deterrent in many ways.’ The presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – and, it seems, even Mike Huckabee – favour direct US talks with Iran without preconditions. Iran can afford to wait until there is a new occupant of the White House. So can the US: Iran will not have the option to start building a weapon ...

Short Cuts

Deborah Friedell: Fox News, 5 November 2020

... channel, cable or otherwise, during the prime-time hours of 8 to 11 p.m.For Ailes, the election of Barack Obama was the ‘Alamo’, ‘the worst thing’ that could happen to America. If you watched Fox News, Barack Hussein Obama (they liked using his full name) was a racist with a ...

The Cattle-Prod Election

David Runciman: The Point of the Polls, 5 June 2008

... delivered, and though it’s impossible to know what it would be like to bathe in the warm glow of Barack Obama’s rhetoric at first-hand, the endless cut-away shots of swooning audience members make it easy to guess. Above all, there is ready access to the endless swirl of comment – instantly aired, constantly updated, limitlessly available – that ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Prendergast: Sarah Palin’s Favourite Frenchman, 2 December 2010

... crusade, its ideological energies now displaced onto those Tea Party descriptions of Barack Obama as a card-carrying socialist enemy of the American Way. I don’t know if the Tea Party has any views on the teaching of Latin, but Bastiat did (which is where I first came across him), in a remarkable alignment of the patricians of ancient Rome ...

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