Steven Levitt writes:
I am not very interested in politics, so I didn’t pay much attention to the Senate race (which eventually was a landslide with Obama crushing—of all people—Alan Keyes). I saw him give two speeches: the Democratic convention one and his acceptance speech the night he won. Both times, I felt like he cast some sort of spell over me. When he spoke, I wanted to believe him. I can’t remember another politician ever having that effect on me. One friend, who knows Barack and who also knew Bobby Kennedy, said he had not seen anyone like Kennedy until he met Barack.
Suuliin uyed Barack Obama hemeeh african-american uls turch Americ-iin uls turiin tavtsand mash ih shuugian tarij baina. Odoogiin baidlaar tereer US Senate dahi tsoriin gants har arist buguud senatiin tuuhend 5 dahi afric garaltay senator aj. Zarim hunii taamaglaj buigaar tereer Democratic Party-gaas 2008 ond Yurunhiilugchiin songuulid ner devshiheer Hillary Clinton-ii huchtey ursuldugch ni boloh magadlal tun undur baina. Yutay ch hervee mani er US-iin daraagiin yurunhiilugch bolj gemeen, tuunii talaar uridaas medeed avchihad iluudehguy biz ee. Minii huvid tuunii 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address ni mashid taalagdav (gehdee jaahan too good to be true yum uu daa gej sanagdlaa).
20 Second Interview: A Few Words with Barack Obama
Q: You're known for being able to work with people across ideological lines. Is that possible in today's polarized Washington?
A: It is possible. There are a lot of well-meaning people in both political parties. Unfortunately, the political culture tends to emphasize conflict, the media emphasizes conflict, and the structure of our campaigns rewards the negative. I write about these obstacles in chapter 4 of my book, "Politics." When you focus on solving problems instead of scoring political points, and emphasize common sense over ideology, you'd be surprised what can be accomplished. It also helps if you're willing to give other people credit--something politicians have a hard time doing sometimes.
Q: How do you make people passionate about moderate and complex ideas?
A: I think the country recognizes that the challenges we face aren't amenable to sound-bite solutions. People are looking for serious solutions to complex problems. I don't think we need more moderation per se--I think we should be bolder in promoting universal health care, or dealing with global warming. We just need to understand that actually solving these problems won't be easy, and that whatever solutions we come up with will require consensus among groups with divergent interests. That means everybody has to listen, and everybody has to give a little. That's not easy to do.
Q: What has surprised you most about the way Washington works?
A: How little serious debate and deliberation takes place on the floor of the House or the Senate.
Q: You talk about how we have a personal responsibility to educate our children. What small thing can the average parent (or person) do to help improve the educational system in America? What small thing can make a big impact?
A: Nothing has a bigger impact than reading to children early in life. Obviously we all have a personal obligation to turn off the TV and read to our own children; but beyond that, participating in a literacy program, working with parents who themselves may have difficulty reading, helping their children with their literacy skills, can make a huge difference in a child's life.
Q: Do you ever find time to read? What kinds of books do you try to make time for? What is on your nightstand now?
A: Unfortunately, I had very little time to read while I was writing. I'm trying to make up for lost time now. My tastes are pretty eclectic. I just finished Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, a wonderful book. The language just shimmers. I've started Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which is a great study of Lincoln as a political strategist. I read just about anything by Toni Morrison, E.L. Doctorow, or Philip Roth. And I've got a soft spot for John le Carre.
Q: What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?
A: I'm inspired by the people I meet in my travels--hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I'm inspired by the love people have for their children. And I'm inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.