Barack Obama has rare instinct for consensus, says ex-aide

By Ashok Easwaran, IANS,

Chicago : If Barack Obama wins Tuesday’s presidential election, the world will see the United States in a very different light because of his ability to be inclusive and form a consensus, a former close aide has said. It may also herald the debut of dal on the White House menu, he added.

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“He has the rare ability to cut to the heart of issues very quickly and make decisions that synthesize the various views on the table. It is really something to behold. It is not an instinct everybody has,” said New Delhi-born Raja Krishnamoorthi, who was the policy director in Obama’s campaign for the US Senate.

Krishnamoorthi, who, like Obama, attended Harvard Law School, is now the deputy treasurer in the Illinois State Treasurer’s office.

Krishnamoorthi has been a friend of Obama for the last 10 years. “President Obama will not be different as a human being from what he was as an Illinois senator. He has always had the best interest of the common people at heart and I can personally vouch for the fact that he will work tirelessly to that end,” Krishnamoorthi told IANS in an interview.

Krishnamoorthi described Obama as “very cool and calm. He engages with the substance of any issue at hand. He carefully thinks about issues and deliberates in an open and inclusive way. He wants his advisers to give as much input as possible.

“He has wide exposure to international issues and other cultures from a very early age. Today, when America is seen abroad as being belligerent, his style will be a tonic.”

“He inspires loyalty. People want to work for him,” said Krishnamoorthi, adding that for family reasons, he had to turn down Obama’s offer of a job in his Washington office after Obama’s election to the US Senate.

Krishnamoorthi refuted the criticism that Obama, as a former professor, is not tough enough to hold the highest office in the land. “He has had his training in the rough and tumble of Chicago politics, where it is a blood sport. Although he advances progressive principles, he is very much a pragmatist.”

“One of Obama’s teachers at Harvard was my thesis adviser. She once mentioned to me that he was the best law student she ever had. He has left a mark on the professors there. Some of them are not surprised that he could very well be the next president of the United States,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Krishnamoorthi attended Princeton before going to Harvard and worked as partner in a law firm before joining the Illinois State Treasurer’s office.

Krishnamoorthi is convinced that an Obama presidency will change more than the foreign policy at the White House. “I would not be surprised if dal makes its debut on the White House menu,” he said, as Obama likes Indian food.