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Barack Obama On Politics, Family and Racism In America


Published 13 hours ago

Written by Madison J. Gray

In his new memoir, “A Promised Land,” former President Barack Obama revealed his feelings about the divisions that grip the country today, the extreme political opposition he endured during his presidency, and the challenges he faced within his personal life. He discussed these things and other facets of being the 44th president during a candid, hour-long, prime time interview on BET hosted by CBS This Morning’s Gayle King on Tuesday evening (Nov. 17). The conversation included aspects of interviews done with King from CBS Sunday Morning and with Scott Pelley for 60 Minutes.

“Part of what I try to describe is how early that obstructionist attitude starts,” Obama said, remembering people like Sen. Mitch McConnell who vowed to make him a one-term president shortly after his first inauguration. “It started on day one because we were trying to pass the Recovery Act, the stimulus package, people were losing their jobs, they were losing their homes and the economy was collapsing.

“At the time I thought, well Republicans aren’t going to agree with me on everything,” he continued. “But on this, all the economists agree this is what we need. They’ll give some cooperation on this, and we didn’t get any.”

Although the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act passed, that wasn’t the last time he faced rancor against his agenda. When he began putting the pieces together on the Affordable Care Act as he addressed Congress, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson infamously shouted “you lie,” causing a second of palpable silence. Obama admits that while he kept his cool, his initial reaction was to react directly to Wilson.

“My initial instinct is: let me walk down and smack this guy on the head,” Obama said,

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