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Root: No, I wasn't. I wasn't. But I don't hold that against anybody, but I wasn't.... Nobody recalls him. I'm not exaggerating, I'm not kidding.
Welch: Were you the exact same class?
Root: Class of '83 political science, pre-law Columbia University. You don't get more exact than that. Never met him in my life, don't know anyone who ever met him. At the class reunion, our 20th reunion five years ago, 20th reunion, who was asked to be the speaker of the class? Me. No one ever heard of Barack! Who was he, and five years ago, nobody even knew who he was.
Other guy: Did he even show up to the reunion?
Root: I don't know! I didn't know him. I don't think anybody knew him. But I know that the guy who writes the class notes, who's kind of the, as we say in New York, the macha who knows everybody, has yet to find a person, a human who ever met him. Is that not strange? It's very strange.
Welch: That's peculiar! Do you have any theories?
Root: Don't have any theories. I don't know. Don't know why. Kept to himself.... The only thing I could even imagine is that he talks in his biographies about being, you know, his identity crisis, his "am I black or am I white?" He chose black. And he hung out with a couple of black kids and never went near anybody and his wife? That's the only thing I can think of. All my buddies are white, what can I tell you! They don't know him, nobody's ever seen him, I don't know what to tell you.
Other guy: That's the era.
Root: That's the era. I mean, when I went to Columbia, the black kids were all at like tables going "Black Power!" We used to walk by and go, "What the hell are they talking about." And they didn't associate with us and we didn't associate with them. So if you track down a couple of black students, they'll probably know him. But nobody white's ever heard of this guy. It's quite amazing. Nobody remembers him. They don't remember him sitting in class.
Welch: Black power in '83?
Root: Ha ha. That's Columbia. Colubmia's radical, always was. There was gay power over here, and pot power over here, and black power over there, and Hispanic power over here, and feminism.
Welch: And what was your power?
Root: Oh I was the bookie guy, don't worry about it.... But here's the story that I think the press should be digging up, I really mean this, about Barack Obama. When George Bush annoyed everyone the first thing they went to was how dumb he was, and they said how bad he did in Yale, and blah blah blah, he got a C average. Then they found his C average was better than Al Gore's average, and it was better than John Kerry's average!
Cavanaugh: And then you stopped hearing the story.
Root: Right. But the point is all three of them had C averages. I had a B-plus, A-minus average at Columbia University.