50 Facts about President Obama You Didn’t Know

  • He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics
  • He was known as “O’Bomber” at high school for his skill at basketball
  • His name means “one who is blessed” in Swahili
  • His favourite meal is wife Michelle’s shrimp linguini
  • He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father
  • He is left-handed – the sixth post-war president to be left-handed
  • He has read every Harry Potter book
  • He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali
  • He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can’t stand ice cream
  • His favourite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars
  • He ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper while living in Indonesia
  • He can speak Spanish
  • While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN and had sports channels on instead
  • His favourite drink is black forest berry iced tea
  • He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president – he didn’t
  • He kept a pet ape called Tata while in Indonesia
  • He can bench press an impressive 200lbs
  • He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name
  • His favourite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  • He visited Wokingham, Berks, in 1996 for the stag party of his half-sister’s fiancé, but left when a stripper arrived
  • His desk in his Senate office once belonged to Robert Kennedy
  • He and Michelle made $4.2 million (£2.7 million) last year, with much coming from sales of his books
  • His favourite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for good luck
  • He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by the all-female committee.
  • His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees
  • He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date
  • He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker
  • He doesn’t drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol
  • He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician
  • As a teenager he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine
  • His daughters’ ambitions are to go to Yale before becoming an actress (Malia, 10) and to sing and dance (Sasha, 7)
  • He hates the youth trend for trousers which sag beneath the backside
  • He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal
  • His house in Chicago has four fire places
  • Daughter Malia’s godmother is Jesse Jackson’s daughter Santita
  • He says his worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry
  • He uses an Apple Mac laptop
  • He drives a Ford Escape Hybrid, having ditched his gas-guzzling Chrysler 300
  • He wears $1,500 (£952) Hart Schaffner Marx suits
  • He owns four identical pairs of black size 11 shoes
  • He has his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21 (£13)
  • His favourite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire
  • He was given the code name “Renegade” by his Secret Service handlers
  • He was nicknamed “Bar” by his late grandmother
  • He plans to install a basketball court in the White House grounds
  • His favourite artist is Pablo Picasso
  • His speciality as a cook is chilli
  • He has said many of his friends in Indonesia were “street urchins”
  • He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life
  • His late father was a senior economist for the Kenyan government