‘Eager to impress…’: Barack Obama book on Rahul Gandhi

Former US President Barack Obama found Congress MP Rahul Gandhi “eager to impress” but lacking “aptitude or the passion” to master the subject.

In his widely anticipated memoir of his years in office, the former president writes approvingly about former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was Obama’s first state guest at the White House, and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, according to a review in the New York Times.

The observations, whether in direct quotes or paraphrased, are from the review that ostensibly quotes from the book, “A Promised Land”, which is set for public release next week.

The review did not mention what the former President thought or wrote about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They met several times and Obama made history as the first US president to visit India twice while in office — 2012 and 2015 — and as the first US president to attend the Republic Day celebrations, both times on PM Modi’s watch.

The former president wrote Rahul Gandhi — they met at least twice — in 2015 and 2017 — has “a nervous, unformed quality about him, as if he were a student who’d done the coursework and was eager to impress the teacher but deep down lacked either the aptitude or the passion to master the subject”, according a direct quote in the NYT review.

The context of this observation could not be ascertained from the review, which listed it among gossipy details that Obama put down in the book about leaders he met and interacted over the eight years of his presidency, 2009 to 2017.

The former president appeared to write glowingly about Sonia Gandhi but there were no direct quotes from the book in the review. About Singh, Obama wrote: “Secretary of Defense Bob Gates and the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh both come across as having a kind of impassive integrity.”

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