reply to post by Connector
From an article by Lois Romano a Washington Post staffer. . .
The Democratic senator from Illinois and likely presidential candidate offered the confession in a memoir written 11 years ago, not long after he
graduated from law school and well before he contemplated life on the national stage. At the time, 20,000 copies were printed and the book seemed
destined for the remainders stacks.
Today, Obama, 45, is near the top of polls on potential Democratic presidential contenders, and "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and
Inheritance" has regularly been on the bestseller lists, with 800,000 copies in print. Taken along with his latest bestseller, "The Audacity of
Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," Obama has become a genuine publishing phenomenon.
Obama's revelations were not an issue during his Senate campaign two years ago. But now his open narrative of early, bad choices, including drug use
starting in high school and ending in college, as well as his tortured search for racial identity, are sure to receive new scrutiny.
As a potential candidate, Obama has presented himself as a fresh voice offering a politics of hope. Many say he offers something new in American
politics: an African American with a less-than-traditional name who has so far demonstrated broad appeal. What remains to be seen is whether the
candor he offered in his early memoir will be greeted with a new-style acceptance by voters.
It was not so long ago that such blunt admissions would have led to a candidate's undoing, and there is uneasiness in Democratic circles that
"Dreams From My Father" will provide a blueprint for negative attacks.
Two decades ago, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was forced to withdraw as a nominee for
the Supreme Court after reports surfaced that he had used marijuana while he was a law professor. As a presidential candidate, Bill Clinton thought
marijuana use could be enough of a liability in 1992 that he felt compelled to say he had not inhaled. And President Bush has managed to deflect
endless gossip about his past by acknowledging that he had an "irresponsible" youth but offering no details.
Through his book, Obama has become the first potential presidential contender to admit trying coc aine.