From Hyde Park to the White House

Sandi Jackson reflects on the Obama victory, and the special First Family friendship

several presidents and candidates for president. What sets them apart from candidates of the past?

I feel as if I’m watching my family members go through this process. I care so much for them and the girls, and we all worry for their safety. But because they are from Chicago, we have a special affinity for them; that, plus the fact that they are African Americans standing on the threshold of taking the most powerful seat in the world. What does this say to the world community? We live in a global economy, and we can’t just think of the U.S. in isolation. We must think of the U.S. in its role as a world leader.

From what you know of him, how capable is Barack Obama to lead the country as president?

For me, Barack is uniquely suited to now take that position—his rightful position as a leader of this new world dynamic. With his background, his history and having been born in Hawaii, spending four to five years in Indonesia, then coming back to the U.S., working hard studying and getting up at 4 a.m. to get his lesson done, and then getting accepted to the best colleges in the country. That is what we are all told to do, and he did it. He paid his dues and here he is. And not only did he do it– He excelled at it. He was at the top of his class.

When I went to law school at Georgetown University, I prayed to get on law review. This guy not only got on law review, but he became the editor, and the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. When I saw that happen I said, “Oh my gosh! Who is this guy?” The New York Times had written a story about him, and I thought “Wow, this guy has got to be some kind of incredible.” It is difficult enough to grade onto law review, but to be the editor is something that is totally out of the realm for most of us. He has just an incredible intellect is all that I can say.

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