Barack Obama Senior: History Paints Unflattering Image of President's Dad

Friday, 22 Aug 2014 08:58 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Barack Obama Sr. is presented in two vastly different ways by President Barack Obama and Obama Sr.'s son from a third marriage, Mark Obama Ndesandjo.

President Obama wrote of his absent father in his memoir, "Dreams From My Father," while Ndesandjo wrote a self-published book about abuse from Obama Sr. to Ndesandjo's mother. The president's half-brother also published another book several years ago that detailed abuse by his Kenyan father.

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In an excerpt published on The Daily Beast from the book “The Other Barack” by Sally Jacobs, the story of Obama Sr.’s life was labeled "tragic."

After divorcing Obama’s mother and leaving her and his young son in Hawaii, Obama Sr. returned to his homeland of Kenya, where Jacobs wrote that he stood out from other Nairobi men.

“Dressed in elegant silk ties and tailored suits from Peermohammed, one of the city’s finest clothing shops, Obama was careful that no upcountry dust dull his perennially polished shoes,” she wrote.

He began drinking too much.

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“We drank quite often together and we went home not in a very nice condition. Sometimes he had trouble getting home at all,” recalled Philip Ochieng, then a columnist for the Nation, in Jacobs’ book. “Barack was always outspoken, very jocular. He liked people. But he was a lot about himself. He was arrogant, but it was a very seductive arrogance. Not unpleasant at all. He had big ambitions, big unrealistic dreams. He just needed to dominate, and that is what caused so many problems for him.”

Obama Sr. later disagreed with Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, and basically became blacklisted in the country and was unable to find a job as an economist, President Obama wrote in his book.

"I only remember my father for one month my whole life, when I was 10. And it wasn't until much later in life that I realized ... he gave me my first basketball and it was shortly thereafter that I became this basketball fanatic,” Obama said in 2011 during Dinner With Barack, when four supporters got to have dinner with the president. "But I think probably the most important thing was his absence, I think, contributed to me really wanting to be a good dad, you know? Because I think not having him there made me say to myself, 'You know what, I want to make sure my girls feel like they've got somebody they can rely on.'"

Barack Sr. was killed in a car accident in 1982 at age 46.

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