First, just before the election, Rolling Stone interviewed the now president-elect. Some highlights include:
At your campaign stop this morning at a high school in Pennsylvania, you made what you called a "solemn vow to the young people of America" that you will make sure they can afford to go to college — "no ifs, ands or buts." How will you do that in a way that doesn't simply add to the crushing debt that students and their families already take on in the form of student loans?
We're going to give a $4,000 tuition credit to every student, every year, in exchange for a minimum of 100 hours of community service a year. That's above and beyond the additional scholarships we're offering for people who are willing to teach, nurses — there are certain categories and occupations where we have a shortage, so there will be targeted scholarships there.
If you're in the White House and could install any one play toy — bowling alley, water polo — what would it be?
Basketball court. If we can get an indoor basketball court, I'd be happy.
Yeah, just because the weather's kind of fickle in Washington.
In what way will people underestimate you as president?
[Long pause] Because I tend to be a pretty courteous person and I don't lose my temper, I think people underestimate my willingness to mix it up. I don't know if they'll continue to underestimate that after this campaign, but I think you'll still get columns saying, "He's too cool, he's too soft." [Laughs] That's OK, actually.
You like being underestimated in that way.
Yeah. No point in having them see you coming.
Second, a few years ago when Obama was running for Senate, he gave an interview on religion to Chicago Sun Times columnist Cathleen Falsani. Now, it's finally been republished in entirety. Some interesting lines:
What do you believe?
I am a Christian.
So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith.
So you got yourself born again?
Yeah, although I don't, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.
I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it's best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.
The conversation stopper, when you say you're a Christian and leave it at that.
Where do you move forward with that?
This is something that I'm sure I'd have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell.
You don't believe that?
I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.
I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.
That's just not part of my religious makeup.