Timmons’ encounters with Obama were “limited,” he said, but still a picture of the future president emerged.
“I remember [Obama] as a dynamic speaker, much the same way he is today. I had trouble discerning who he really was as a person, instead of seeing the projection of himself he wanted others to see.”
Timmons told TheDC that Obama was not, as some have suggested, a true political bridge builder on the Harvard campus. “To the extent that he was,” he said, “it would have been the left and the extreme left, but together they comprised the vast majority of the students.”
“Even though Obama was clearly bright,” Timmons continued, “I saw him as more of an ideologue, than a seeker of intellectual truth, and someone quick to pander to his audience for political gain. Even then, he was ever the politician, always running, it seemed, for office.”
Charlie Oellermann, another Harvard Law School classmate, did not share Obama’s politics at the time. But the two took the same first-year criminal law class.
“My broader impression of the HLS environment in the fall of ’88 was that I didn’t know whether or not these people had ever heard of Reagan,” Oellerman told TheDC. “I thought the world had moved past the Socialist world view, but I guess that was a pipe dream on my part.”
Harvard law students on the far left at the time, he said, had “totally unpracticable ideas for society.”
Obama, Oellerman added, was “careful not to associate himself 100 percent with some of the wacky ideas on campus, but it was clear that was where his sympathies would lie.”
The White House did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment.