What It Was Like to Be Obama's 'Body Man'

Ex-aide Reggie Love spills secrets, including a tiff between president, Hillary
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2015 11:07 AM CST
What It Was Like to Be Obama's 'Body Man'
President Barack Obama walks with aide Reggie Love from the White House to the Blair House in Washington, Feb. 25, 2010.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Reggie Love played football and basketball at Duke and had planned on a career in the NFL or NBA, but instead, he became President Obama's "DJ, his Kindle, his travel agent, his daughters' basketball coach, his messenger, his punching bag, his alarm clock, his vending machine, his chief of stuff ... his surrogate son." Those are ex-aide Love's own words, as per USA Today, from Power Forward: My Presidential Education, his new book. Love started his "body man" gig with Obama in 2006 when he was a senator and stayed with him until 2011, when he left to go to business school, Politico reports. But those five years glued to the world leader's side offered Love insight into the president's demeanor under pressure, his love of basketball, and his own experiences as a black man in the White House. The two men "could identify with one another a lot," Love tells NPR. "There weren't a lot of black men hovering around in that first floor of the West Wing. … We were kinda the only two guys who knew what it was like not to be able to catch a cab in New York."

As Obama's personal assistant, Love was silently always on the ready, "like a child in Victorian England, if that child were 6-foot-5 and carrying a Tide stain remover pen," he says, as per USA Today. Other critical items Love always had in his bag: "tons of Purell," an energy bar, and Obama's Nicorette. Love, now a VP and partner at a financial holdings firm, played hoops with Obama—"I don't really like playing against him," he tells NPR—and recalls in his book an exchange that not many people would be privy to: an unpleasant conversation in 2008 between Obama and Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. Love writes that a "very cool and very calm" Obama spoke with an "animated Clinton"; the president told Love later on he knew at that moment he would win the Democratic nomination because Clinton had become "unraveled," USA Today notes. (More President Obama stories.)

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