President Obama Is a Potter Man

And it shows, believe it or not, in his policy statements.

Read about how serious he is in following Potter stories in the Daily Telegraph story from 2007, Barack Obama Under the Harry Potter Spell. I’m pretty sure this is credible (as opposed to the campaign claim that President Garfield could write in Latin and Greek — simultaneously, using right and left hands for either language…).

Alison Williams, a friend of this blog, wrote at Harry Potter for Seekers (HT to RHT!) that we can see the Dumbledore influence in his comments about possibly closing the prisons at Gitmo:

“Sometimes we have to choose between what is right and what is easy.” – Albus Dumbledore

“We are willing to observe core standards, not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard.” – Obama on closing Guantanamo.

President Obama is not a Fabian Socialist a la Dumbledore, it’s fair to assume, but it’s nice to think we can play “spot the Rowling quote” for several years in the new President’s public statements. How many other authors do you think he has read aloud in the past few years? To the tune of 4100 pages? My bet is “not many.”


  1. I love it. Thanks for the link, John. I had heard that he read all the books with Malia. It was in answer to a question in one of the many interviews of how he manages to still spend time with his daughters, and he said that one of the thing he did with Malia was to read all the Harry Potter books as their special time together. Yay!!!

    I caught that quote, and I’m sure there will be more. About a week before the inauguration I heard someone (wish I could remember who) talking about her responsibility for moving all the diplomats and former Presidents and assorted dignataries in and out of the inauguration and the balls. She said that she wished they could just use Harry Potter’s magic for one day. And then she went on to say how nice and simple it would be if they could use the Floo Network and move everyone around without them having to travel in cars. It was so funny. Made me laugh as I was driving, and that’s part of the reason I don’t know who it was or when exactly. I listen to NPR in the car and never know what tidbit I’ll hear.


  2. I think it’s great. I think we can see this Guantanamo closing as a parallelism with what Dumbledore always said about Azkaban and Dementors. A new way of justice for those who have to be on jail.

  3. I remember seeing that article about four months ago or so. I thought it was very cool.

    It would be quite a delight if he started directly quoting Potter lines… 🙂

  4. esoterica1693 says

    Oh, yay! I look forward to more Potter-spotting too.

    Eeyore, I love that story. Whenever I’m in the library (I work in a public library) and someone says something about not approving of Harry Potter, I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, “If the magic Rowling wrote about was real, don’t you think we’d be using it to move all these books around?!” What I wouldn’t give for a good wingardium leviosa, or accio, or shrinking/lightening charm as I move the umpteenth cart of oversize non-fiction around ….or a strongsilencio! when the after-school latchkey crowd shows up!

    Just yesterday I had someone disappointed we didn’t have a copy of POA on the shelves. I offered to put a request in to bring it in from another branch, and he declined–said his parents object to HP and he didn’t want them to see it waiting for him on the holds shelf when they came to get their holds. (Kid is in college at one of the state universities nearby, and it turns out they have it available on their shelves, which hadn’t occurred to him–so he can get his Potter fix this weekend w/o any risk of mom finding out….)

    Yes, I live in California. But Southern California. My branch is essentially in Tim LaHaye’s back yard.

  5. At the risk of sounding like a party pooper, I have to think Obama’s Gitmo comment was more likely a JFK reference than an APWBD reference. He’s been making more than a few Kennedy references.

    I cannot remember the precise quote, but Kennedy sought to inspire an audience, it may have been in his inaugural speech, that we need to take on new challenges “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

    Others who are more adept at searching for historical quotes than I may be able to provide a precise reference.

    This is not to deny that Obama reads the books, may well enjoy them, and that they may indeed shape part of his psyche, consciously or subconsciously.


    (PS – John, I believe today may be the leavetaking of Theophany, yes? I always think of this as the real conclusion of the Christmas season, more than a month after most folks in America have put it behind them!)

  6. Arabella Figg says

    Esoterica, I used to live in SoCal; we moved to Eastern WA. If that is Tim LaHaye’s back yard, I now live in his front yard; nay, on his very porch.

    Kennedy, in an address at Rice University, September 12, 1962, about going to the moon:

    “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon… (interrupted by applause) we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

    Luscious Badboy is over the moon about a fish-shaped treat…

    John Fitzgerald Kennedy

  7. Arabella Figg says

    Oops, typo. No, the fish treat isn’t John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Although Kennedy was a Catholic, so that meant fish on Fridays…hmmm….

  8. And Harry Potter is an Obama Man, in return! Daniel Radcliffe would much rather spend time with the President and his daughters than with those horrible British royals… I’m afraid the young man is really showing his age.

  9. Arabella Figg says

    Ah, Dan is a teenager, isn’t he? Reminds me of the slogan, Hire a Teenager While They Still Know Everything. There goes his OBE. I’m not a royals fan, but I thought his attitude amusingly superior.

    He certainly had one very smart thing to say, though, that could benefit other celebrities. Notice how carefully he crafts this sentence, emphasis mine: “I hope he [Harry] has learned since not to say such a thing *or at least learned not to be filmed saying it.*”

    Especially in a YouTube world…

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