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Obama Mama's Legacy

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Profile of the Illinois Senator's mother shows the profound impact she had on his life.


They say behind every good man is a great woman. Well, in Barack Obama's case, he appears to have had two great women in his life--his wife, Michelle, and his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, who succumbed to ovarian cancer in 1995.

Obama's mother was the subject of a recent in-depth profile in the New York Times . While the presidential candidate did not participate in the piece, it painted a compelling portrait of the ambitious and selfless single mom who raised Obama--sometimes with oceans and continents between them--to be the man he is today.

According to the Times, two of Obama's biggest regrets in his life include not being at his mother's bedside when she passed away and not focusing more on his relationship with his mother when he wrote his memoir Dreams from My Father. In the preface of the book, Obama writes, "I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book--less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life. I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her."

Are there things you've never said to your own mom but would like to?

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
SugarPlumFairy March 17, 2008, 11:56 AM

I’ve always told her this, but my Mom is one of the strongest women I know (being a single Mom herself).

PunditMom March 17, 2008, 2:49 PM

So here’s my question. If those are regrets, then why does he dismiss his wife’s views about whether he should ever have run for political office? He had a choice to spend many years with his mother, but chose not to. He was too busy campaigning to be with he while she was dying. In a recent article about Michelle Obama, she reveals that she has tried and tried to get him to part of the family in terms of taking responsibility for the household and parenting, but she finally gave up.

His mom may have been great, and Michelle might be, but it seems to me like Obama doesn’t have a lot of respect for the important women in his life. So why should I believe he’ll be a champion for all women?

Bob March 24, 2008, 5:36 PM

What is Ann Dunham Soetoro’s nationality?

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