BARACK OBAMA AND DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: THE ULTIMATE EXIT INTERVIEW

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From Vanity Fair:

In their conversation, the president and Goodwin exhibit an easy camaraderie, sometimes completing each other’s sentences. They touch on everything from comedy Web sites to bodysurfing in Hawaii. But the central focus is on history, and on enduring questions. What is presidential temperament? How does a leader maintain perspective? When does the job of president feel the heaviest? What is good and bad about ambition?

Obama and Goodwin spent more than an hour over coffee, water, and scones (“I won’t be eating those,” said the president), followed by a brief chat in the Oval Office. Obama, in shirtsleeves, sat in a straight-backed chair, his long frame relaxed, legs crossed, as he responded or parried—always thoughtfully, sometimes intensely. V.F.’s Annie Leibovitz photographed at the start of the session and then re-entered, periodically, but mainly let them be.

The walls of the private dining room and the hallway nearby are lined with telling mementos: images of Martin Luther King Jr.; a photo of the president with Nelson Mandela; and a Life-magazine cover showing the 1965 march on Selma, signed by civil-rights leader John Lewis (who, inside the House chamber the next morning, would lead a sit-in against gun violence). Tables in the room hold framed family photos, a bust of J.F.K., and a pair of Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves.

More here.

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