Obama: Short story author?
Michael Lewis
September 17th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Obama: Short story author?

President Obama, short story writer?

In his story for Vanity Fair, writer Michael Lewis had near unprecedented access to the president: Flying on Air Force One, a tour of the White House private quarters, playing basketball with Obama. All for an in-depth account of the day-to-day life of a sitting president.

Lewis talked to Fareed on Sunday's show about the more literary aspects of Obama. Here's an excerpt (or watch the entire interview on iTunes)

FAREED ZAKARIA: [Obama] shows you his private office, that little cubbyhole, and there are a lot of books in it, which, we know he's a reading president. But there's a novel on top, Julian Barnes. And we know from a couple of other things that you think he must be the most "writerly" president. Because it's not just about reading. Lots of them read, but he's reading novels.

MICHAEL LEWIS: If he had time, he'd likely be writing them, too. That's the interesting thing to me. I think that he's as literary a president as we ever had, and more literary than probably anybody since Lincoln anyway. The written word means a lot to him ... This isn't in the [Vanity Fair] piece, but I can remember talking to him about this a bit.

He was an indifferent student in high school up til the end, and he had a very late awakening in his mind. And I kind of identify with this, because I was a very late bloomer in high school, and I had the same sort of experience with books. He was passing by a church yard sale in Hawaii when he was a junior in high school and he saw all these novels. And they were available for a nickel apiece. It was "Moby Dick," it was Dostoyevsky, it was Saul Bellow. He thought, a nickel? You know, I'll get these books. And he took them, and he started reading them and just in a kind of innocent way he got very absorbed. ... He just kind of blended with the books.

And when he got out of school, the first thing he started to do is write short stories. And I don't know if anybody knows that. I didn't put this in the piece, but he tried to submit short stories to literary magazines, and they're very literary short stories. So it's an unusual trait in politics, in someone who ends up being a political person.

Watch the entire interview from Sunday's show on iTunes

Topics: President Obama

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Mike Deaton and Candace Brown

    Fareed is the reason we ever watch CNN on the weekend. We are very happy about the network's decision to return him to the air after his unintentional and extremely uncharacteristic slip in journalistic excellence. His is a voice of reason that would be sorely missed.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • 100 % ETHIO

      Yes ended. Doctor Fareed is a SOLELY reasonable and very intelligent person, that he speaks direct from his Mind, without fear.

      Miraculously, his words represented for those who do not have voices, to be heard fairly.

      If Doctor Fareed was a Jew, he could be seen as a King and saviour by Jewish and their allies.

      However, since TRUTH can not be bended and revealed in one's good work, we all are the witnesses for Doctor Fareed's great work and challenged times.

      His TRUTHFULNESS setted him FREE!! Although, his enemies bites their lips and burnt inside.

      September 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • mike

      stop sucking his d..k. this guy is a joker.

      September 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • tom

      i couldn't agree more, fareed and amanpour are the only reason i watch CNN really for their independent non biased interview and reporting , please fareed keep up the good work and get an assistant were necessary so that plagiarism issue will never happen again; it really got me worried but thank God those neo cons hawks didnt rip you on it ; i guess thats because they kind'ff like you generally.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  2. 100 % ETHIO

    It is very hard for me to accept, how Obama passed through his enemies shadows (daily attacked by Jewish) through his High school to his Presidency.

    As a perfect witness, I seen Jewish are using RBC (Radiological Biological and Chemical) Agents that they are administrated against innocent and voiceless Christian-Ethiopian young Childrens and Immigrants, in daily base.

    Sadly, the Canadian and American high ranking Governments, do support conspiratorially, whatever evil things the Jewish are doing.

    Frankly, I never and ever seen and heard Jewish coming forward to admitted their guilts, without being apprehended by Law enforcement high ranking agents.

    Sure enough, there are many Jewish who are living luxury lives and held key positions, while they have tinted blood on their hands.
    They also use various techniques to Manipulate their evil acts against others and to get-away with all the crime they committed.

    Shame on Jew, who cry foul on holocaust and who keep committed holocaust against innocent and voiceless Christian-Ethiopians in Canada, America,.....

    If Iran was like Libanon, Jewish will keep bombing it without any consultant and support. But, since Iran is strong, it got respected from Jewish.

    Jew do respect, only the stronger.

    September 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  3. papafoote

    This is worth "Your" time – as our President allows us to "peek into his mind"!
    -The Old Mountain Goat-

    September 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Indeed Obama is an intellectual and has class. That's why he's highly regarded among world leaders. Queen Elizabeth II likes him. He and his wife Michelle were the second White House couple to stay as overnight guests at Buckingham Palace in May 2011. The first couple was Edith and Woodrow Wilson, who were guests of King George V and Queen Mary in December 1918.

    September 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  5. Matt A.

    So he reads and campaigns a bit. What else does he do?

    September 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  6. kidsmagnacarta

    Mr. Lewis is a great writer. Mr. Zakaria is NOT a great journalist. He chose to spend a great deal of time talking about the president's basketball while ignoring the far bigger point: why does Mr. Obama attend less than half of his security briefings while setting Oval Office records for time campaigning and on the golf course? Immediately following this puff-piece interview Jake Tapper was on ABC giving a REAL interview to UN Ambassador Rice and challenged her assertion that our four embassy deaths were solely due to a ridiculous three-month old 14 minute video.

    September 18, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
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