20 things you might not know about Barack Obama

  1. He has two Grammy awards for recording his best-selling books, “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope”
  2. His mother and father met in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii.
  3. His father, a goat herder as a child, was a member of the Luo tribe in Kenya.
  4. As a child in Indonesia he was introduced to snake meat and roasted grasshopper. His stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, presented him with a pet monkey, “Tata”.
  5. While living in Indonesia, his mother would wake him at 4 a.m. for three hours of English lessons before he went to school.
  6. At Harvard Law School he applied to appear in a black pride pin-up calendar. He was rejected by an all-female committee.
  7. He met his wife, Michelle, while she was his adviser one summer at a corporate law firm in Chicago. She also is a Harvard Law School graduate.
  8. On his first date with his wife, they had ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in Chicago. (One of his jobs as a ateen was scooping ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins.)
  9. His favourite movies include Casablanca, The Godfather films, Lawrence of Arabia and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
  10. During his community organising days, some residents in Chicago dubbed him “baby face” because of his youthful looks.
  11. He considers his worst habit to be checking his Blackberry.
  12. His prized possession is a photograph of the cliffs of Oahu’s South Shore, where his mother’s ashes are scattered.
  13. He is a good – but cautious – poker player who joined other lawmakers in Springfield, Illinois, for weekly games. They dubbed their group “The Committee”
  14. His music favourites include Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Springsteen and jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.
  15. He carries good luck charms, including a gambler’s lucky chit, a tiny Madonna and child, and a bracelet belonging to a soldier deployed in Iraq.
  16. He announced his campaign at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous “house divided” speech.
  17. His office wall has a framed original programme from the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech.
  18. He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali.
  19. He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life.
  20. He doesn’t like to shop.

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