Reggie Love: On Being Obama’s ‘Surrogate Son’ and More

Obama speaks with Love at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher, N.C., on Oct. 17, 2011, at the beginning of his three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)
Obama speaks with Love at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher, N.C., on Oct. 17, 2011, at the beginning of his three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)
Obama speaks with Love at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher, N.C., on Oct. 17, 2011, at the beginning of his three-day bus tour promoting the American Jobs Act. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

 

WASHINGTON (USA Today) — Reggie Love says his job as “body man” for Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign and at the White House required him to be constantly ready but never intrusive — “like a child in Victorian England, if that child were 6-foot-5 and carrying a Tide stain remover pen.”

Also, if that child had “365” tattooed on one bicep and “332” on the other — the number of electoral votes Obama carried in 2008 and 2012.

For five years, Love was the 20-something assistant by Obama’s side, an experience he details in Power Forward: My Presidential Education, published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster. “I was his DJ, his Kindle, his travel agent, his daughters’ basketball coach, his messenger, his punching bag, his alarm clock, his vending machine, his chief of stuff …his surrogate son.”

The book is no tell-all, but it does make it clear what a grind it is to run for president unless you already are president — 2016 hopefuls, take note — and it provides some behind-the-scenes insights of Obama’s views on race. That’s a topic the president has been willing to discuss publicly only occasionally despite his standing as the nation’s groundbreaking African-American president.

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