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What Drives President Obama?

June 2, 2009

Richard Wolffe has a new book called “Renegade, the Making of a President” which is based on Wolffe’s interviews with the President, as well as twenty one months of coverage of the candidate during the 2008 campaign. His estimation of what motivates Obama:

“A fear of failure and a vaulting ambition,” Mr. Wolffe contends, are the “twin forces that drove Obama onward and upward.” But when things went smoothly on the campaign trail — after the crucial Iowa win, or after the 11 straight wins after Super Tuesday — the candidate could “feel too self-assured about his own abilities and accomplishments.” The same thing happened with his 2004 Senate race, Mr. Wolffe writes, when the front-runner stumbled and Mr. Obama rose from the field: “Without the threat of failure, Obama seemed to lose his drive,” and despite being poised to win the nomination and “ideally placed to become the next United States senator for Illinois,” he often “seemed lackluster, disinterested and distant from the contest.”

The full review of the book, by Michiko Kakutani, can be found here.

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