#24 Pick-Up and Personality

On April 17, 2008

Hello Everyone,

Many of you have already been subjected to my stories about the background work I have done to determine if Barack is as special as he seems. So, I have some exciting, and entertaining, confirmatory evidence to share with you.

Soon after Penny and I first met Barack about five years ago, we asked him to lunch to get to now him better as he was preparing to run for the U.S. Senate. We left that lunch so impressed that we worried that he might be “too good to be true.” We hadn’t really been sold on any presidential candidate in nearly forty years. Was he the one?

True to my investment banking roots, I started to do “due diligence” on him by looking for people who have known Barack over the years. That has led me to three or four dozen people who have known him in different contexts, from law school classmates to federal judges to legislative colleagues to close personal friends. All of those contacts were consistent and confirming.

One seemingly simple indicator of character, personality and temperament that I uncovered has always stuck with me. As a long-time, and now former, basketball player, I know that you can tell a lot about a guy if you play a pick-up game with him. So, knowing that Barack likes to play, I set out to find some guys who have played with him.

I found four of them – three who started playing with him while they were all at Harvard (two at the Law School, one in Public Health) and one who first teamed up with him in Chicago. Two of them still play with Barack with some regularity; he especially likes to play on the morning of a primary.

What do they all say? He’s a team player, passes the ball, doesn’t hog it, isn’t a showboat, knows what he’s doing, isn’t a hot head, plays under control, etc. Sounds like the Barack we know, doesn’t it?

The essence of these small insights into this extraordinary man is that he is who he seems to be. A tiny testimony to his integrity.

And, now, thanks to HBO and YouTube, we can see and hear for ourselves. The following link will take you to a light hearted interview, replete with video clips. HBO Sportscaster Bryant Gumbel talks to Barack and shows clips of him playing in high school and more recently with some troops at Fort Bragg, N.C. Gumbel also asks Barack’s now brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, about “testing” him on a basketball court to see if he was fit to marry Craig’s sister. Barack obviously passed that test, too. (Craig, like Michelle, went to Princeton, was the head basketball coach at Brown University in the Ivy League, and is now moving to the same position at Oregon State in the Pac 10.)

This clip is as much fun as it is incisive. And, last time I checked, basketball is not considered an “elite” sport. Enjoy. http://youtube.com/watch?v=O1Lqm5emQl4

One final, more serious reminder – Barack’s lead in Pledged Delegates is almost impregnable. Sen. Clinton must carry Pennsylvania next Tuesday by 32 percentage points (66% – 34%) and carry each of the other nine remaining contests by that same margin in order to wind up with half of the Pledged Delegates by the end of the process. Even if she “wins” Pennsylvania by say 10 percentage points, she really loses.

Please pass it on.


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