Robert Draper has an interesting essay in GQ on Barack Obama the writer. As I noted before, Obama shares this characteristic with Teddy Roosevelt (and with no other US President). And like TR and JFK, Bam is also a cosmopolitan urbanite.
“I think he sees the world through a writer’s eye,” says senior White House adviser and former Chicago journalist David Axelrod. “I’ve always appreciated about him his ability to participate in a scene and also reflect on it. I mean, I remember when we were meeting clandestinely with the guys who were vetting the vice presidential candidates. There was this courtly southern gentleman who was doing the vetting. The president said to me, ‘This whole scene’s right out of a Grisham novel.’
“I also have to say, one of the great thrills is to watch him work on a speech. It’s not just the content—he’s very focused on that—but more than anyone I’ve ever worked with, he’s focused on the rhythm of the words. Like, he’ll invert words. He’ll say, ‘I need a one-beat word here.’ There’s no question who the best writer in the [speech-writing] group is.”
Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1953, after writing – or perhaps supervising the writing of – his History of the English Speaking Peoples), so there’s hope yet for Bam’s next Nobel.