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Barack Obama's ex-girlfriends speak of his 'sexual warmth'|
Ex-girlfriends of President Barack Obama have spoken for the first time of his "sexual warmth" and disclosed the contents of love letters that he sent during his 20s, in a new biography.
Barack Obama, while a student of Harvard Law School
Genevieve Cook and Alex McNear, who had relationships with Mr Obama in New York in the early 1980s, gave previously unseen material on Mr Obama to David Maraniss, a Pulitzer prize-winning author.
Letters Mr Obama sent to Ms McNear and journal entries by Ms Cook depict a serious and earnest young man struggling to come to terms with his racial identity and place in modern American society.
In one diary entry from February 1984, Ms Cook – a girlfriend for more than a year – noted that in their relationship "the sexual warmth is definitely there – but the rest of it has sharp edges".
She recalled "feeling anger" at Mr Obama, whose "warmth can be deceptive".
Foreshadowing a criticism often levelled at him today, she said: "Though he speaks sweet words there is also that coolness".
Ms Cook remembered meeting "Barry" at a Christmas party in 1983. After drinking Bailey's Irish Cream from the bottle, she chatted with him on an orange beanbag, before exchanging telephone numbers.
Her journal recalls a 22-year-old man in "a comfy T-shirt depicting buxom women", marked by the smells of "running sweat, Brut spray deodorant, smoking, eating raisins, sleeping, breathing".
Ms Cook “engaged [Mr Obama] in the deepest romantic relationship of his young life,” Maraniss writes, but they separated in 1985. Reflecting on the “emotional scarring” that made him hard to get close to, she wrote at the time: “I guess I hoped time would change things, and he’d let go and 'fall in love’ with me”.
Her journal entries described a long effort to understand Mr Obama that eventually failed when they broke up.
“How is he so old already, at the age of 22?” she wrote. “I have to recognise (despite play of wry and mocking smile on lips) that I find his thereness very threatening.”
In another entry, she wrote: “Barack — still intrigues me, but so much going on beneath the surface, out of reach. Guarded, controlled.” She said she thought he was “balancing the tendency to be always the observer” with “how to effect change.” The two broke up in 1985.