The author of a new biography of Barack Obama finds it “remarkable” that information he has discovered about the former president was not previously uncovered and made public.
David Garrow, author of “Rising Star,” discussed his biography of the former president and the controversy it has stirred during an appearance Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“It’s remarkable,” Garrow said, “that someone could twice be elected president of the United States, serve eight years and huge pieces of his earlier life remain undiscovered.”
Garrow was surprised that journalists did not do the “basic legwork” of looking into what shaped Obama into the politician he became, ignoring the influence his closest friends and companions had on the future president.
And the people in that close circle were more significant than just a former girlfriend, Garrow noted, referring to the woman Obama dated for years before meeting Michelle in a “very intense, important and formative relationship. In fact, Obama was allegedly so in love with the woman in his younger Chicago days that he asked her to marry him twice.
“The Barack Obama from 1985 to 2002 in Illinois was a wonderful progressive politician,” Garrow, a self-described progressive Democrat, said. ” But the Barack Obama that we saw in the White House, whom we see nowadays, is a fundamentally different person from who he was in the 1990’s.”
Carlson asked the author how, despite his left-leaning ideals, he was “very tough” on Obama in the epilogue of his tell-all book.
Garrow admitted that it was a “critical epilogue” coming from a progressive Democrat like himself, adding that he was “surprised by how the Obama presidency turned out.”
He pointed out that up to 2002, Obama had lived a “very modest, humble, middle-class life” which changed after he entered the White House.
“Now here we are in 2017 and we see him hobnobbing with celebrities, musicians and billionaires,” Garrow said, also citing Obama’s recent acceptance of a $400,000 speaking fee for a Wall Street firm which was slammed by even those in his own party.
“I’m disturbed and perplexed that he has changed so dramatically over the last 15 years,” Garrow continued. “You would think we knew who he was” from his record in the 1990’s.
“The desire to succeed, the desire to win, the need to become president changed him, fundamentally changed him and that, to me, is a fundamentally sad story,” Garrow said.
The historian criticized the failure of journalists to uncover the “formative people” in Obama’s life for years, and for falling short in discovering the “deep, profound, political ambition” that he shared with those closest to him.
Carlson asked the author how he felt about being attacked by those on the same side of the political spectrum as himself, like The New York Times which gave “Rising Star” a scathing review.
“It’s sad the New York Times gives in to partisan fervor but I’m playing a long game.” Garrow said. “I’m a scholar. and this book will be the authoritative account of Barack Obama’s pre-presidential life, I believe, for decades to come.”