GQ (Ryan Lizza):
On a cloudy morning in mid-June, with polls showing Barack Obama competitive with Hillary Clinton in key states and the question hanging over him of whether he can parlay his status as the potential savior of the Democratic Party—and depending on whom you talk to, perhaps even America—into actual votes, Obama is on his way to clinch the endorsement of a South Carolina mortician.
It always comes back to this, Obama struggling not to let the campaign change who he is. He has a way of reflecting on his own campaign as an outside observer. “We’ll joke,” his wife told me, “when we’re sitting at home watching TV, on the rare quiet night, and something will come on the news, and it’s about Barack Obama. We’ll say, ‘Hmm, there goes that Barack Obama again. Sounds really pretty interesting.’ I think there’s an out-of-body kind of aspect to it.” It’s clear watching Obama on the trail that he knows how absurd running for president is and what it might do to him. “Personally, for me,” Obama says, “I think the story of my campaign is the ongoing struggle to maintain my voice and my compass in a process that in a lot of ways is slightly ridiculous.” No doubt, that’s the question for him personally.