Ex-Girlfriends' Letters Recall Younger Obama

Vanity Fair excerpts new biography
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2012 2:31 PM CDT
This undated black-and-white file photo provided by the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., shows the Democratic presidential hopeful while a student of Harvard Law School.   (AP Photo/Obama Presidential Campaign, file)

(Newser) – President Obama must be just thrilled his old girlfriends kept their letters. Vanity Fair today publishes an excerpt of Barack Obama: The Story, a biography written by Washington Post reporter David Mariniss. The excerpt focuses on the 20-something Obama's relationships with Alex McNear and, later, Genevieve Cook, when he studied at Occidental College and then Columbia, notes CBS News. Some snippets:

  • Obama letter to McNear: "Remember how I said there's a certain kind of conservatism which I respect more than bourgeois liberalism—(TS) Eliot is of this type. Of course, the dichotomy he maintains is reactionary, but it’s due to a deep fatalism, not ignorance.” (Daily Intel has some fun with this one.)
  • Another from Obama to McNear: "Caught without a class, a structure, or tradition to support me, in a sense the choice to take a different path is made for me. The only way to assuage my feelings of isolation are to absorb all the traditions [and] classes; make them mine, me theirs."

  • Cook (to Maraniss): Recalling her first date with Obama: “I’m pretty sure we had dinner maybe the Wednesday after. I think maybe he cooked me dinner. Then we went and talked in his bedroom. And then I spent the night. It all felt very inevitable.” (Gawker's turn to have fun.)
  • Cook (in a 1985 journal): “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."
Click for the full Vanity Fair excerpt.

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