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Just over three years into his presidency, the idea that we really don't know who President Obama really is remains a key element not only of Republican counter-attacks, but also of media narrative. The GOP hitting him on biography is code for "other," which is so well understood by many that there's a danger of becoming numb to it. But for a man who wrote two autobiographical books before he ever ran for President and had to prove his citizenship (again) a year ago with his long-form birth certificate, you'd think that we'd be done asking (as above), "Who are you?"
Now we have a soon-to-be published book, "Barack Obama: The Story," in which the President's old girlfriends were tracked down. Excerpts from the book were released this week in Vanity Fair, and folks got caught up in the various juicy bits. But there's a deeper conversation about personal biography and identity to be had, and Melissa will get into that today with guests such as MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney, Colorlines editorial director Kai Wright, and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, the director of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.
You couldn't be blamed for forgetting that the whole long-form birth certificate stuff went down immediately prior to Osama bin Laden being killed by a SEAL strike team one year ago this week. The President, to the dismay of conservatives, wasn't shy about reminding voters of his role, and really drove home the foreign-policy cred with a surprise trip to Afghanistan to sign a 10-year peace accord with the country we've been occupying since late 2001. And to boot, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is being arraigned today.
But with the economy growing slower than expected, does anyone care about the President's record on foreign policy? Melissa will ask that question of retired Army General and former presidential candidate Wesley Clark and Wired staff writer Spencer Ackerman.
Melissa will also preview the President's official campaign launch later today, and talk about the manner in which black and gay constituencies are divided for political gain (especially in North Carolina over the anti-gay Amendment 1). The rest of our guest list is as follows:
- Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP State Conference and a national NAACP board member.
- Aisha Moodie-Mills, director of the FIRE Initiative and advisor for LGBT Policy & Racial Justice at the Center for American Progress.
- Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council.