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Berkeley Journalist Michael Lewis Profiles Barack Obama

Vanity Fair reporter Michael Lewis played basketball with the president during his six months of reporting. (Pete Souza: The White House)

Vanity Fair reporter Michael Lewis played basketball with the president during his six months of reporting. (Pete Souza: The White House)

It was a “flakey” idea, one almost certain to go nowhere.

“Someone should write a piece just trying to put the reader in the president’s shoes,” Berkeley journalist Michael Lewis told Terry Gross on Fresh Air this week. He was describing an email he had sent to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. He was requesting near-unprecedented access to President Obama. Lewis got a call the next day.

And much to his surprise, his pitch was accepted. Lewis, author of Moneyball and Liar’s Poker, observed the president over a period of six months last year — in meetings, on Air Force One, even on the basketball court — largely to learn about what it’s like to be president: what your day is like, what it’s like to make decisions a president must make — and how he makes them. Lewis’ article, Obama’s Way, appears in the October issue of Vanity Fair.

Lewis told Gross of many scenes from countless meetings, crises and travels. But his trip to Obama’s “favorite place” in the White House particularly resonates. As Lewis described it, you could almost imagine what it would be like to walk along with the President into his home: Continue reading