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Monday, May 19, 2008

Mom's Influence on the Presidential Candidates: Barack Obama

To continue our discussion from a few weeks ago, I thought it would be interesting to talk a little bit about how Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, influenced him as a person and as a Presidential candidate.

I would categorize Ann as being very, very authentic but also possessing a "reckless" side to her. Because of her zest for new experiences, Barack grew up as a child of the world, living in a variety of places. Ann was married a number of times, I think because she was a bit of a romantic. She seemed to have gotten caught up in the pursuit of her dreams and the ideology of life. As an activist, Ann was always trying to improve situations in the world - and this had a profound impact on Barack as evidenced by his campaign promises thus far.

While his mother went from place to place and romance to romance, Barack has gone a different route. He has created a very strong and stable home life with his family in the Midwest, perhaps providing himself with a feeling of stability that was missing when he grew up. He definitely inherited Ann's passion for taking action, speaking to a crowd to bring everyone together, and making a powerful argument for change.

Ann strikes me as a fearless woman who really wanted to stand for something in her life. If you look at Barack as a man and as a candidate, you can see shades of that in who he is. It seems to me that he isn't looking for a fight; he's looking for change, powerful change. His platform is all about who his mother raised him to be. She provided him with a diverse cultural experience growing up, and that has translated into his understanding of this "melting pot" we have here in the U.S.

Is he Presidential material? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Next time: the influence of John McCain's mother on his bid for President.

Don't forget to check out my new book "From the Kitchen to the Corner Office: Mom's Wisdom on Leadership" available now in local bookstores and on BarnesAndNoble.com!

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