Uhh boy. Looks like we’ll be hearing another Mandela and Me speech out of the president.
National Security spokesman Ben Rhodes, who gaggled along with Jay Carney during the flight to South Africa, previewed the remarks Obama will make at the memorial to Mandela. Self-references aplenty. Man, this guy really can’t seem to get outside himself.
I think, for the president, he’ll reflect on what Nelson Mandela meant to the people of South Africa, to him personally as well. You’ve heard him speak in the past about Nelson Mandela and the impact he had on the president.
Obama will also some commentary about how Mandela came about his legendary status.
I think remembering him as a truly multifaceted figure with a wide array of different skills and abilities reminds us that his success wasn’t preordained — it had to be earned over a lifetime.
Sometimes when you look back, when the story has a happy ending, it all seems as if it was meant to be. I think one of the points the president will make is that it took decades of persistence and talent and a wide range of very unique skills to make Nelson Mandela the figure that he was and make him capable of bringing about that change.
Sounds like Obama was planning to ghostwrite a self-help book for Mandela.
Meanwhile, aboard Air Force One, Obama, George W. Bush – who probably will get blamed for Mandela’s death the moment he turns his back – Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Bush and Hillary Clinton are swapping Mandela stories in the conference room.
The president and the first lady have been able to spend time with the Bushes and with Secretary Clinton. And so I think it’s a unique experience obviously.
And I think they all are remembering their different interactions with Nelson Mandela and his family, because again, he is a leader that intersected with so many different American political leaders of both parties over the years, and so each of them has their own experience with Mandela.
Also aboard are Attorney General Holder, senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice