Obama’s future. What does a president do when they stop being president?

Dedicarsi alla neonata Fondazione Obama, pubblicare un libro, passare più tempo con le figlie, giocare a golf, diventare ambasciatore per il clima, tornare ad insegnare ad Harvard. Sono alcune delle possibilità che Obama ha davanti a sé.

What will Barack Obama do after the 20th of January, the day the next President of the United States takes office? He’s young, only one year older than Bill Clinton was when he left the world’s most famous house at 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. Obama has served as the first African-American President of the United States and his popularity rating is still high (55 per cent) – Bush left the White House with 33 per cent. He has been at the forefront in the fight against climate change and nuclear proliferation and has relentlessly campaigned for social justice, an immigration reform and gun control.

He thus has to choose how to continue what he began as President, free from protocols and close to grass roots, such as the African-Americans who supported him for two terms.

The Obamas’ new family home

The Obama family won’t go back to Chicago, the hometown of Malia, 18, and Sasha, 15, but will stay in Washington D.C. until 2018 in order to allow Sasha to end high school. They will stay in the capital’s Kalorama neighbourhood, where their family home is ready. After 2018, however, Barack and Michelle Obama are likely to go back to the South Side of Chicago, where the Obama Presidential Centre will be built. The centre will be more than just a library. It will be a centre that inspires people to take on big challenges, thanks to the newly established Obama Foundation. Located close to Jackson Park, the building designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien could cost up to a billion dollars.

Barack Obama the writer

He’s certainly not J.K. Rowling, but Obama has cashed in nearly 15 million euros from his three books (Dreams from my Father, The Audacity of Hope, and the children’s book Of Thee I Sing). The outgoing President is working on a new book, according to the publishing Random House. Will it feature what has gone on behind the scenes of the capture of Osama Bin Laden? Will it be a geopolitics essay? We’ll soon figure it out, on libraries’ shelves. One thing is for sure, he will need to capitalize as much as he can in order to finance his foundation. And for a former president, there’s nothing more profitable than using the public image, in the world of private conferences especially. If Bill Clinton used to ask up to 200,000 euros for a speech, Barack Obama – known for his incredible oratory – could easily ask for 500,000 euros. This is to be added to the president’s retirement benefits of 185,000 euros a year and 135,000 euros for a personal staff.

Obama is looking for a new job


Recently, comedian and TV host Stephen Colbert has hilariously helped President Obama updating his résumé. “55, tough time to start over for a man,” said the comedian. “I don’t see any promotions for the last 8 years. That’s not always good”. Joking aside, there’s a series of job opportunities for Obama. He could for example go back to his career of Law Professor at Harvard or Chicago University. “I love the law, intellectually,” Obama said in an interview with the New Yorker. “I love teaching. I miss the classroom and engaging with students”. Someone has also suggested that he could become a Supreme Court lawyer, but Obama said he’d rather do something less demanding. In addition, he could run – at least for entertainment – a basketball team, as he said to GQ magazine.

An ambassador for climate change, just like Leonardo DiCaprio

Even though Obama has many times declared that he would like to withdraw from public life for a while, he could become a United Nations Ambassador for one of the issues he’s always campaigned for: climate change. During a journey to Hawaii in September, Obama told The York Times: “My hope is maybe as ex-president, I can have a little more influence on some of my Republican friends, who I think, up until now, have been resistant to the science. This is something that all of us are going to have to tackle, and maybe I get a little more of a hearing if I’m not occupying a political office.”

Barack Obama fa cadere appositamente il microfono durante la cena dei corrispondenti stampa alla Casa Bianca, emulando il campione dell'Nba, Kobe Bryant © Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
Barack Obama drops the mic during the 2016 White House Correspondents’ dinner, emulating NBA star Kobe Bryant © Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

A golf champion

Obama often jokes with Joe Biden that he’ll spend his retirement playing golf and travelling with Michelle. So, no Silicon Valley as hypothesised by the New York Times, no new political career as Senator and no George Washington-like retirement to Mount Vernon. He’ll definitely have a few beers and some almonds (which he loves), he will end the Game of Thrones series and play golf with friends including Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel and Joe Biden. After all, there’s nothing better than returning to be (almost) just a citizen, after 8 years in the spotlight.

President Obama saluta dal golfcart al Mid-Pacific Country Club © Cory Lum/Pool/Corbis via Getty Images.
President Obama on a golfcart at the Mid-Pacific Country Club © Cory Lum/Pool/Corbis via Getty Images

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