NEW YORK, November 13: Former US president Barack Obama says Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has a “nervous, unformed quality” about him like a student eager to impress the teacher but lacking aptitude and passion to “master the subject.”
The New York Times reviewed Obama’s memoir ‘A Promised Land’, in which among other issues, the first Black American President has talked about political leaders from around the world.
On Rahul: “A student eager to impress”
On Gandhi, Obama says he has “a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject,” according to The New York Times review.
Gandhi’s mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi also appears to find mention in the memoir.
The NYT review said in the memoir “we are told of the handsomeness of men like Charlie Crist and Rahm Emanuel, but not the beauty of women, except for one or two instances, as in the case of Sonia Gandhi.”
On Manmohan Singh: “Having an impassive integrity”
Obama in his book offered a more positive assessment of another Congress figure, former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, a mild-mannered economist whom Obama has also praised publicly.
Former US Secretary of Defence Bob Gates and former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh both come across as having a kind of impassive integrity, the review states.
On Russian President Vladimir Putin: “Tough street-smart ward bosses”
It added that Russian President Vladimir Putin reminds Obama of the tough, street-smart ward bosses who used to run the Chicago machine. “Physically, he was unremarkable,” Obama writes of Putin.
On his marital life: ‘The intense scrutiny left Michelle frustrated’
The former President also shared details about his marital life during his stay in the White House. In his memoir, Obama hints that the pressures of a presidency, the limelight, the intense scrutiny left Michelle “frustrated”.
“Despite Michelle’s success and popularity, I continued to sense an undercurrent of tension in her, subtle but constant, like the faint thrum of a hidden machine,” Obama wrote in his memoir an extract of which was published by Yahoo!Finance.
“It was as if, confined as we were within the walls of the White House, all her previous sources of frustration became more concentrated, more vivid, whether it was my round the clock absorption with work, or the way politics exposed our family to scrutiny and attacks, or the tendency of even friends and family members to treat her role as secondary in importance,” it added.
On Donald Trump: “He promised an elixir for the racial anxiety”
On Trump, Obama suggested that his election as the first African-American President of the US may have “triggered deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted.”
“For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety,” read an excerpt of Obama’s memoir, published by the CNN.
A Blackberry with headphone and microphone jacks removed
In his memoir, Obama shared how a Blackberry phone was provided to him with its microphone and headphone jack removed.
Obama wrote that he did get one concession from the protective bubble that surrounds a president—a Blackberry that could only communicate with a vetted list of 20 or so contacts, and with the microphone and headphone jacks removed so it couldn’t be used as a phone.
He compared that to “those play phones you give toddlers, where they get to press buttons and it makes noises and things light up but nothing actually happens,” The Daily Beast quoted an excerpt from his book.
‘Trump’s defeat will not end divisions in the US’
Obama wrote that the divisions in America “run deep” and the departure of Donald Trump from the White House will not be enough to bridge the divide.
In an excerpt from “A Promised Land,” which goes on sale on Tuesday, Obama reflects on the four years since he left office.
“Our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of crisis — a crisis rooted in a fundamental contest between two opposing visions of what America is and what it should be,” Obama said in the excerpt published on Thursday in The Atlantic.
The crisis “has left the body politic divided, angry, and mistrustful,” he said.
It has also “allowed for an ongoing breach of institutional norms, procedural safeguards, and the adherence to basic facts that both Republicans and Democrats once took for granted.”
The 768-page memoir, expected to hit the stands on November 17, chronicles Obama’s childhood and political rise, before diving deeply into his historic 2008 campaign and first four years in office.
Obama was the first African-American president of the United States. He visited India twice as the US President – in 2010 and 2015. (Courtesy: ToI)