Barack Obama Has Always Spoken That Way

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The most fascinating part of this video showing law student Barack Obama speaking to a rally at Harvard in 1991 is how much he speaks like, well, President Barack Obama in 2012.

Now compare that young man with the rhetorical style that a Senate candidate brought to the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

For what it’s worth, some on the right are trying to label Derrick Bell “the Jeremiah Wright of academia,” which is an inflammatory comparison that is neither informative or meaningful. Bell was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School, and a pioneer in his field, which helped change the way the law viewed civil rights and created a new academic discipline, Critical Race Theory. Nor is it newsworthy that Obama was a fan of Bell and his work. Bell’s 2011 obituary in the New York Times, which is a great place to start to get an overview of his impact, quotes Obama “at a rally while a student at Harvard Law” comparing Bell to the civil rights legend Rosa Parks.

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