Exactly how embarrassing is it to be President of the United States? That’s the question we tackled today on the Bottom Line.
And of course it’s the recent Vanity Fair article by David Maraniss that raises the topic. Maraniss authored a soon-to-be released biography on the president and it includes stories from two of Barack Obama’s former girlfriends – he was then referred to as “Barry” -including letters and journal entries.
We know that every part of your life is fair game when you’re president. (Remember the grief both George W. Bush and John Kerry got for their poor grades?) But these diary entries are really something. There’s nothing scandalous in them, in fact they show Obama to be a sophisticated literary critic and a thoughtful person trying to find his way in the world.
But when you read his ex-girlfriend, Genevieve Cook, describe in her diary a 22 year-old Obama lounging in his apartment in a sarong or his “sexual warmth,” it just makes you cringe a little.
And when you read Obama’s letters it makes you wonder, “what would my life look like if every piece of paper from every phase of my life was public?”
Even though the content of the letters and diaries corresponds with the president we know – a private and somewhat emotionally distant man – it does make you feel for the guy.
Cook even seemed to predict the kind of woman Obama would marry, writing she would be a black woman who is “a fighter, a laugher.”
My Bottom Line: Reading these diary entries made me think that one of the hardest aspects about being president is the complete exposure that comes with it. Sure it’s a great job, comes with perks and the kind of power to change the world. But you pay a pretty high price.