Is Obama Too Perfect?

Richard Cohen is awed by the president's impeccable poise

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Richard Cohen's Tuesday column for the Washington Post is attracting attention for the author's lofty assertion that "Barack Obama is pretty close to the most perfect person you will never get to know." Cohen has alternately berated and praised the president before, but what prompts his latest, most-superlative evaluation is his viewing of a new HBO documentary "By The People: The Election of Barack Obama," which offers an intimate look at Obama on the campaign trail. The film even moves Cohen to tears, as he explains:

"[Obama] does not lose his temper. He does not curse. He does not follow a pretty woman with his eyes or sneak a smoke. He does not dress sloppily. He is always calm and always good-natured and gets emotional only once -- the day his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, the woman who in effect raised him, died in Hawaii. At a campaign event in North Carolina, he expressed his love and gratitude. He cried and, watching, I did, too."

Cohen also claims that perfection could be Obama's Achilles heel. Focusing excessively on self-development could hinder the president's ability to push through his political causes. Is Obama really "too perfect?"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.