Obama not quite his father's son





NAIROBI, KENYA -- During an emotion-packed visit to his father's homeland in 2006, Sen. Barack Obama took time from family reunions and official visits to chastise Kenya's government for failing to stem corruption and tribalism, irking his hosts in the process.

It wasn't the first time an Obama had taken Kenya's elite to task. Forty years earlier, a rising star named Barack Obama -- tall, elegant and impeccably dressed -- attacked the nation's post-independence government, accusing leaders of betraying their ideals and replicating the nepotism of departing colonialists.

"It must be something in our family," observed a smiling Said Obama, younger brother of Obama Sr.

Although the lives of father and son scarcely intersected beyond a few letters and a 1971 visit in Hawaii when the younger Obama was 10, friends and family see similarities in the men's charisma and eloquence, even if their lives took dramatically different turns.

Both achieved success at a young age. Both advocated change. And both displayed a self-confidence that friends described as bordering on cocky.

"The father was full of life, ebullient and arrogant, but not unpleasantly so," recalled Philip Ochieng, a former drinking buddy of Obama Sr. and veteran Kenyan journalist.

"But in many ways, the son is quite the opposite. He has self-control. The ambition is controlled. And he has a more sober mind."


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