Obama: An Intimate Portrait

Relive the extraordinary Presidency of Barack Obama with White House photographer Pete Souza's behind-the-scenes photographs plus stories

Former President Barack Obama Extends His Hand

Barack Obama extends his hand as he attends Cook County jury duty at the Daley Center on Wednesday in Chicago.

Barack Obama

A retired government employee reported for jury duty this week. He seemed conspicuously qualified: editor of the Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago professor, even a Nobel Prize winner.

But Barack Obama was dismissed from jury duty, with the thanks of the Cook County Circuit Court. He’ll be sent a check for $17.20 for his time, which a spokeswoman says he will return.

That might make Barack Obama the first Chicago politician to ever return the money.

According to reports, the former president shook hands all around and signed books for several of his 168 fellow jurors. “This looks like Chicago!” he told them. Sonal Joshi, a court clerk, told reporters, “He’s gorgeous!”

Maybe it was the red JUROR sticker Obama put on his lapel.

Barack Obama was dismissed from the jury pool, along with about half of the other jurors, by a random draw before lunchtime.

Former President George W. Bush reported for jury duty in Dallas in 2015, and former President Bill Clinton was called to serve in New York in 2003. They were quickly dismissed, too, but made the point that they were ready to do their civic duty.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans said, “If the former president of the United States takes his time to come, anybody ought to be willing to come.”

Any attorney or judge would have qualms about putting a former president on a jury — especially in his hometown, where he won 84 percent of the vote and schools are named for him. It might make what’s supposed to be a jury of 12 citizens into “a jury of one,” as Scott Turow, the novelist, and lawyer, told us.

“No other juror would want to contradict a former president,” he said.

Imagine a former president telling a fellow juror with whom he disagreed, “Oh yeah? And how many electoral votes did you win?”

“The obverse concern,” says Turow, “is that one or two jurors would disagree with the president just because they disagreed with him on other matters, increasing the possibility of deadlock.”

But in just showing up for jury duty, former presidents say something vital about the political system in which they were briefly privileged to occupy the highest rung. Presidents have extra responsibilities, many of which most of us can’t imagine. But they have no special privileges. They are elected to uphold the law, not be above it. As Justice Felix Frankfurter said, “In a democracy, the highest office is the office of citizen.”

November 11, 2017

8:00 AM ET

Scott Simon



The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama call for a different brand of politics

The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama call for a different brand of politics

A politics for those weary of bitter partisanship and alienated by the “endless clash of armies” we see in Congress and on the campaign trail; a politics rooted in the faith, inclusiveness, and nobility of spirit at the heart of “our improbable experiment in democracy.” He explores those forces—from the fear of losing to the perpetual need to raise money to the power of the media—that can stifle even the best-intentioned politician. He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and family life and his own deepening religious commitment.The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama

At the heart of this book ( The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama)  is Barack Obama vision of how we can move beyond our divisions to tackle concrete problems. He examines the growing economic insecurity of American families, the racial and religious tensions within the body politic, and the transnational threats—from terrorism to pandemic—that gather beyond our shores. And he grapples with the role that faith plays in a democracy—where it is vital and where it must never intrude. Underlying his stories about family, friends, and members of the Senate is a vigorous search for connection: the foundation for a radically hopeful political consensus.

A public servant and a lawyer, a professor, and a father, a Christian and a skeptic, and above all a student of history and human nature, Barack Obama has written a book ( The Audacity of Hope is Barack Obama) of transforming power. Only by returning to the principles that gave birth to our Constitution, he says, can Americans repair a political process that is broken, and restore to working order a government that has fallen dangerously out of touch with millions of ordinary Americans. Those Americans are out there, he writes—“waiting for Republicans and Democrats to catch up with them.”

Obama: An Intimate Portrait

Obama: An Intimate Portrait – Relive the extraordinary Presidency of Barack Obama through White House photographer Pete Souza’s behind-the-scenes images and stories–some published here for the first time–with a foreword from the President himselfObama: An Intimate Portrait

Throughout Barack Obama’s two terms, Pete Souza was with the President through more critical moments than anyone else–and he photographed them all. Souza captured approximately two million images of President Obama, in moments highly classified also disarmingly informal.

Obama: An Intimate Portrait reflects more than 300 of Souza’s most iconic photographs with fine-art print quality in an oversize collectible format. Jointly they document some shared essential moments of the Presidency–including that memorable picture of President Obama including his advisors near the Situation Room during the bin Laden mission–besides candid times with the President’s family, his encounters with children, interplays with world leaders including influential people, and more.

Souza’s images, with the behind-the-scenes captions also stories that accompany them deliver the velocity plus energy of our nation’s highest office. They further reveal the life of this remarkable man who became our President. We observe President Obama steer our country through great difficulties, support us in tragedy including loss, share in hard-won victories, also set a singular instance to “be kind also be beneficial,” as he would educate his daughters.

This book (Obama: An Intimate Portrait) places you in the White House with President Obama furthermore will be a cherished record of a milestone era in American history.


A vibrant celebration of President Obama

A vibrant celebration of President Obama, this perfect commemorative book provides a valuable record of his historic presidency. 
In January 2017, Barack Obama concluded two terms of his historic presidency. Through stunning images by White House photographers and beyond, as well as notable essays and quotes from a broad spectrum of people, Obama looks back at President Obama’s journey—from his remarkable victory to his final days in office and the significant milestones along the way.A vibrant celebration of President Obama
Obama features rare and unseen photographs, along with iconic images and newspaper front pages from the president’s 2,920 days in office. It includes dramatic pictures, including the iconic shot from the situation room as the president and his staff watched the live unfolding of the bin Laden raid; day-to-day images of Obama in his roles as a world leader, policy maker, commander in chief, and father; lighthearted photos from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner; late-night television appearances; and moments with the entire Obama family.
Included are excerpts from seven historic speeches and contributions from notable historians, community leaders, journalists, academics and business leaders—including Sir Richard Branson, Laurie Garrett, Tweed Roosevelt, Anastasia Somoza and others whose lives have been touched by Obama’s actions and initiatives. Obama is truly a keepsake memento of a beloved president.


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