Friday, March 14, 2008

The gloves are coming off...

This from the Daily Mail: Barack's pushy mother?

Barack Obama's pushy mother emerged yesterday as the driving force behind his bid for the U.S. presidency.

Ann Soetoro was so determined for her son to succeed that she woke him at 4am to give him private lessons before school.

He says he was pushed so hard by her that he sometimes felt he was an "experiment."

Friends say Mrs Soetoro, who died of cancer in 1995, was instrumental in giving the Democratic contender his self-belief and charisma.

A New York Times profile of her said she could be informal and funny but also exacting, intense and hard-headed.

She preached to her young son...

the importance of honesty, straight talk and independent judgment. She would play him again and again tapes of speeches by Martin Luther King Jr.

When he complained about the early morning English correspondence course she insisted on while they were living in Indonesia, she told him: "This is no picnic for me either, buster."

At high school, Mr Obama temporarily rebelled against her high expectations of him.

"I suddenly felt like puncturing that certainty of hers, letting her know her experiment with me had failed," he said.

Obama is in a close race with rival Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination
He later credited his mother, however, with giving him a great education and self-confidence.

And after her death, Mr Obama, 45, wrote of her as "the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known. What is best in me I owe to her."

Mrs Soetoro had previously been identified only as the "white mother from Kansas" who married Mr Obama's Kenyan father when they were both students in Hawaii.

In fact, she lived all over the U.S. during her childhood and, after her short-lived marriage to Mr Obama's father, wed an Indonesian, took his name and moved with her son to Jakarta.

She later became an anthropologist and helped champion the rights of poor women workers.

In the race for the Democratic nomination, Mr Obama has 1,602 delegates to Hillary Clinton's 1,497. The winner needs 2,025.