EIn true coincidence, it cannot be that, at the same time as Donald Trump was voted out of office, his predecessor Barack Obama is again pushing more publicity. The first part of his memoir was published just in time for the election. A few days earlier, supporters were enthusiastic about a brief appearance by Obama in a sports hall. The passionate basketball player threw a three-point throw into the basket (“without touching the ring”, as he was loudly pleased afterwards), hit, drifted slightly to the right in the jump, danced out of the picture with a smile and delighted the audience in the social Media.
Editor in business, responsible for “People and Business”.
The way Obama is loved for his style, charisma and subtle self-irony sometimes has irrational traits. They stand in sharp contrast to the egocentric, often clumsy appearance of the former entrepreneur Trump. Obama was an exceptionally reflective, deliberative President, as he proved on Thursday evening in an interview with Markus Lanz on ZDF.
Unlike his sometimes emotionally exaggerated supporters, he always saw the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded very early, as a burden. He has also often problematized its downright panic-inducing effect on people in the Midwest with less education, decency, etiquette and understanding for women and minorities. But sometimes the fans seem to forget that Obama is also a master of staging. Obama weighed up many of his political decisions again in the interview.
Above all, Lanz wants to work out the personal dimension
Lanz’s questions were aimed – and that’s perfectly fine for a late night tabloid talk – primarily on a personal level. The contrast to Trump takes up a little too much space in the half-hour conversation. But even in the English-language interviews of the past few days, Obama has not been asked twice to list the deficits of the Republican loser in the election. Anyone who has read the lengthy conversation in “The Atlantic” magazine, for example, already knew set pieces. Obama neatly distributed his anecdotes from the nearly 800-page book.
Before and after the conversation, Lanz spoke to the two publicists Sandra Navidi and Julius van der Laar about Obama’s importance. Both knew him before his presidency and are more likely to be well-disposed when it comes to his work. “He was younger, more dynamic and more exciting than any politician I have met in Germany,” enthuses van de Laar. After Navidi reports on the first encounters with Obama, a hotel in New York is cut. “I would like to have the ability to write more succinctly,” jokes Obama in response to Lanz’s humorous remark that the book is a little too short. The first correct question is then about Obama’s sentiment during election night. You have fluctuated between the excitement about the victory of Joe Biden / Kamala Harris and the anger over the lack of size Trump.
Lanz tries to work out the personality in the conversation, all questions are well considered, he has read the book so intensely that he keeps drawing his conversation partner on exciting episodes. Was moving into or out of the White House more difficult? When did he notice that he had arrived in office? How he explained to his daughters what was in store for them? Obama parries the kind questions that allow him to look good with humor and reflective answers. He had achieved a lot of good and was proud when he left office, but the feeling was bittersweet because his successor Trump was against everything he had achieved.
It is not primarily about political programs
Because of Lanz’s questions, the interview is far less political than the mentioned conversation in “The Atlantic”. But it is precisely the questions about his personal experience that lead to insights that may be neglected in more programmatic interviews about the memoirs. The former president reports that the biggest adjustment for him was the security bubble in which he and his family suddenly moved. You don’t see any more cars on the street, you go through back entrances to hotels, and you have snipers on roofs for your own safety. “I never got used to this bladder”.