Understanding Obama in the Fourth Quarter

Understanding Obama in the Fourth Quarter

President Barack Obama walks in the Democratic dugout as he makes a visit to the Congressional baseball game at Nationals Park, on Thursday, June 11, 2015, in Washington (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Barack Obama walks in the Democratic dugout as he makes a visit to the Congressional baseball game at Nationals Park, on Thursday, June 11, 2015, in Washington (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

(CNN) – WTF?

That’s exactly what the political world has been asking since President Barack Obama went to a garage in Los Angeles to record a podcast aptly named WTF and used a word rarely spoken in public by anyone, least of all a president.

But that moment is just one in a series over the past six months or so where the famously reserved Barack Obama has seemed more liberated, feistier, bolder and sometimes rawly emotional.

So what’s changed?

The answer, based on my eight years of working closely with President Obama, is both a lot and a little at the same time.

At his core, Barack Obama has not changed as a person. He is animated by the same values that led him to run for the presidency in the first place and he is still a very normal guy living a very abnormal life. On one of my last trips with the President, we variously talked about his family, Steph Curry’s handle and the Republican presidential race — and tried to convince Valerie Jarrett that “Game of Thrones” was one of the best shows on television (despite the dragons).

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