How He Almost Didn't Run

Obamas struggled for months about Barack's White House bid
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2008 2:20 PM CST
Barack Obama speaks at a fund raiser Friday, June 8, 2007 in Chicago with his wife Michelle.    (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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(Newser) – Barack Obama needed months to be persuaded that he should run for the White House, and wife Michelle, who had veto power, finally agreed on one condition: that he give up smoking. The tidbit appears in Part 1 of a seven-installment Newsweek series reported along the campaign trail on the condition that it be embargoed until after the election.

Obama listened to the advice of former staffers of Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton, but it wasn't until a Hawaiian vacation in December 2006 that the family reached consensus. Yet even after the race had begun, Michelle harbored her doubts; at one point, she asked his fellow Illinois senator Dick Durbin, "They're not setting him up, are they?" (Read more Barack Obama stories.)