Barack Obama quotes
Quotes by and about Barack Obama
(Continued from his main entry on the site.)
Obama: "[As President] you can't wander around. It's much harder to be surprised. You don't have those moments of serendipity. You don't bump into a friend in a restaurant you haven't seen in years. ... The loss of surprise is an unnatural state. You adapt to it, but you don't get used to it - at least I don't."
Obama: "Nothing comes to my desk that is perfectly solvable. Otherwise, someone else would have solved it. So you wind up dealing with probabilities. Any given decision you make you'll wind up with a 30 to 40 percent chance that it isn't going to work. You have to own that and feel comfortable with the way you made the decision. You can't be paralyzed by the fact that it might not work out."
Obama: "I'm impatient about the pace of change."
Obama: "[Kanye West] is a jackass."
Michelle Obama: "Barack has helped me loosen up and feel comfortable with taking risks, not doing things the traditional way. ... I'm more traditional; he's the one in the couple that, I think, is the less traditional individual. ... He's just more out there, more flamboyant."
[Ex-girlfriend #1, in a letter to Barack Obama:] "I feel that you carefully filter everything in your mind and heart - legitimate, admirable, really - a strength, a necessity in terms of some kind of integrity. But there's something also there of smoothed veneer, of guardedness ... but I'm still left with this feeling of ... a bit of a wall - the veil. Barack - still intrigues me, but so much going on beneath the surface, out of reach. Guarded, controlled."
[Ex-girlfriend #2:] "[With Barack I feel] distance, distance, and wariness."
[Ex-girlfriend #2:] "His warmth can be deceptive. Though he speaks sweet words and can be open and trusting, there is also that coolness - and I begin to have an inkling of some things about him."
Wall Street Journal: "[Negotiations with Republicans] will no doubt continue, but there is an Obama problem there, and it's always gotten in the way. He really dislikes the other side, and can't fake it. This is peculiar in a politician, the not faking it."
Wall Street Journal: "He doesn't bother to show warmth and high regard. ... In this he is [unlike] Clinton. ... Obama is different, not a political practitioner ... not a warm-blooded animal but a cool, chill character."
Larry Summers [adviser to Obama 2008-2010:] "[Unlike Clinton] Obama doesn't have the joy of the game. Clinton basically loved negotiating with a bunch of other pals about anything. [Whatever had to do with people] Clinton would think was pretty interesting - and kind of fun. Whereas Obama - he really didn't like [people]."
Larry Summers [adviser to Obama 2008-2010:] "[Obama] is not ideologically driven. ... There is an excessive pragmatism in [him]."
Larry Summers [adviser to Obama 2008-2010:] "[He has] difficulty in taking a line and sticking with it."
Larry Summers [adviser to Obama 2008-2010:] "I don't think anybody has a sense of [Obama's] deep feelings about things. I don't think anybody has a sense of his deep feelings about people. I don't think anybody has a sense of his deep feelings around his public philosophy."
Bob Woodward: "As Reagan had, president Clinton had employed congressional liaison staff across Capitol Hill to develop relationships and create trust. But [under] the Obama administration there was virtually no outreach or contact."
Vanity Fair: "The Pentagon ... presented the president with two options: establish a no-fly zone [over Libya] or do nothing at all. The idea was that the people in the meeting would debate the merits of each, but Obama surprised the room by rejecting the premise of the meeting. 'He instantly went off the road map,' recalls one eyewitness. 'He asked, 'Would a no-fly zone do anything to stop the scenario we just heard?'' After it became clear that it would not, Obama said, 'I want to hear from some of the other folks in the room.' Obama then proceeded to call on every single person for his views, including the most junior people. 'What was a little unusual,' Obama admits, 'is that I went to people who were not at the table. Because I am trying to get an argument that is not being made.' The argument he had wanted to hear was the case for a more nuanced intervention - and a detailing of the more subtle costs to American interests of allowing the mass slaughter of Libyan civilians. His desire to hear the case raises the obvious question: Why didn't he just make it himself? 'It's the Heisenberg principle,' he says. 'Me asking the question changes the answer.'"