Former President Barack Obama acknowledges his mother's influence

Former President Barack Obama Acknowledges His Mother’s Influence

New York – Former President Barack Obama reveals in an upcoming podcast with rocker Bruce Springsteen that he chose a career in public service in part because of his mother, a revelation that comes in Women’s Month.

“My mom was – a little bit – a freethinker,” Obama says on Monday’s episode of Spotify’s “Renegades: Born in the USA.” The Associated Press received access to a fragment of the podcast.

Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, was an anthropologist and worked to improve the lives of poor people in Indonesia. Obama called her “kind of romantic” and “not so practical” and said she instilled in him “a little bit of that.”

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From my first cross-country road trip as a child to Bruce’s experience coming of age toward the end of the Vietnam War, @Springsteen and I each continue to reflect on moments from our upbringing that helped shape our view of America. Listen here: https://t.co/3vQxU2zQub pic.twitter.com/BPwubQuBcv

– Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 8, 2021

Obama told “The Boss” (as the rocker is called) that he was drawn to public service rather than big pay because he recognized that the American Dream was unattainable for many black citizens. “When I thought about what I should aspire to, it wasn’t ‘I want to be a (politician like) Jay Rockefeller.’ It was ‘look at John Lewis.’

Lewis, an icon in the civil rights struggle, served in the federal House of Representatives for 17 terms representing Georgia and became the “conscience of Congress” until his death last year.

He and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. tried to make “the world better,” Obama said. “That path seemed to me like it was something I needed to do. My salvation was there ”.

January 20, 2009 – President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dance at the Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC (File / AP)

As a new poll shows, upon his departure from the presidency, more than half of Americans view President Obama favorably.  (Archive / EFE)

As a new poll shows, upon his departure from the presidency, more than half of Americans view President Obama favorably. (Archive / EFE)

President Barack Obama nearly fell to the ground while showing the then-new family member, his dog Bo, with his daughters Malia, left, and Sasha Obama at the White House.  (File / AP)

President Barack Obama nearly fell to the ground while showing the then-new family member, his dog Bo, with his daughters Malia, left, and Sasha Obama at the White House. (File / AP)

President Barack Obama signs the law that reforms the national health system, better known as Obamacare, at the White House on March 23, 2010. (File / AP)

President Barack Obama signs the law that reforms the national health system, better known as Obamacare, at the White House on March 23, 2010. (File / AP)

President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with other members of the national security team receive an update on the mission to capture Osama bin Laden in the “Situation Room.” (WH)

President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with other members of the national security team receive an update on the mission to capture Osama bin Laden in the “Situation Room.” (WH)

On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama declared, in a televised message, that Osama bin Laden had been  assassinated.  (File / AP)

On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama declared, in a televised message, that Osama bin Laden had been assassinated. (File / AP)

In this Sept. 9, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama is picked up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, owner of the Italian restaurant

In this Sept. 9, 2012, file photo, President Barack Obama is picked up and lifted off the ground by Scott Van Duzer, owner of the Italian restaurant “Big Apple Pizza & Pasta.” (AP)

President Obama pretends to be caught on the Spider-Man web while greeting 3-year-old Nicholas Tamarin just outside the Oval Office on October 26, 2012. (Capture / White House)

President Obama pretends to be caught on the Spider-Man web while greeting 3-year-old Nicholas Tamarin just outside the Oval Office on October 26, 2012. (Capture / White House)

President Obama arrives for his second swearing-in as President of the United States in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. (File / AP)

President Obama arrives for his second swearing-in as President of the United States in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. (File / AP)

President Obama joined the march that symbolically crossed the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 2015. (File / AP)

President Obama joined the march that symbolically crossed the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 2015. (File / AP)

On June 26, 2015, hundreds of people gathered in Lafayette Park to see the White House illuminated in rainbow colors in commemoration of the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

On June 26, 2015, hundreds of people gathered in Lafayette Park to see the White House illuminated in rainbow colors in commemoration of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs former President George W. Bush, as President Barack Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush watch the dedication ceremony of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.  (File / AP)

First Lady Michelle Obama hugs former President George W. Bush, as President Barack Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush watch the dedication ceremony of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. (File / AP)

Cuban President Raúl Castro raises the arm of President Barack Obama as he concludes his press conference at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba.  (File / AP)

Cuban President Raúl Castro raises the arm of President Barack Obama as he concludes his press conference at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana, Cuba. (File / AP)

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump shake hands after their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on November 10, 2016. (File / AP)

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump shake hands after their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on November 10, 2016. (File / AP)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle watch musical performances at their final 2016 National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony near the White House.  (File / AP)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle watch musical performances at their final 2016 National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony near the White House. (File / AP)

Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama leave

Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama leave “Air Force One” after arriving at O’Hare International Airport, today, in Chicago, where the president will give his final speech. (Paul Beaty / AP)

The issue arises when Springsteen asks Obama, who graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, why he chose public service when there were more lucrative doors in front of him.

The episode about money and the American Dream is the fifth in a series of eight and is titled “Every Man for Himself: Money and the American Dream.” The conversation was recorded in Springsteen’s guitar-filled studio in New Jersey. They both talked about their humble origins, class issues and there is even a song, Springsteen performs his 1982 song “Atlantic City”.

The relationship between the former president and the rocker began when Springsteen gave concerts to benefit the Obama presidential campaign. But he has reached deeper talks since Obama left the presidency, the former president said in the first episode.

In that episode they both remembered feeling like misfits growing up. In later episodes they will explore racism, parenting, and marriage.



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