If you're remotely into keeping up with White House news, you know that President Barack Obama has just had one of the most real weeks of his presidency.
Even in the days when he was a bright-eyed Senator, Barack Obama was known for his quips, quick wit, and funny comebacks. But when he became leader of the free world, President Obama seemed to have put his habit of speaking truth to power on pause. It makes sense, when you’re trying to accomplish big things with a partisan gridlocked congress it’s usually best to just grit your teeth and hold back what you REALLY want to say.
But now, since he'll be leaving the White House in 19 months, it seems like we’re seeing a side of Obama that we couldn't have had the pleasure of knowing for the past 7 years ago. Maybe this is his version of the seven-year itch? Every time Obama opens his mouth, he seems to drop some knowledge or inherent truth. But while it might strike many that he’s leaving the White House with a bang and some extra swag (cue Super Fly theme), this version of Obama has actually been around the whole time, just underneath surface, occasionally breaking through the polite façade.
Don’t believe us? Here some of Obama’s best ‘drop the mic’ moments.
The Philadelphia Race Speech
Then Senator Barack Obama approached the podium in 2008 right after the controversy of his fromer pastor Dr. Jeremiah Wright had caused a serious uproar in the media. Video had been dug up of Wright blasting what was called hate speech, and because he was well on his way to become president, then-Senator Obama chose to distance himself but he did so in a speech discussing and exploring the complex issue of race in America. For any other candidate, the controversy would have ended his or her campaign, but for Obama it led to one his most renowned speeches... which kept him in the presidential race.
The Birth Certificate Press Conference
Throughout his candidacy for president and well afterwards, there was plenty of chatter that Barack Obama was not actually an American. Chalk it up to racism, xenophobia, or stupidity, but whatever the case when President Obama addressed the issue in press conference (along with releasing a complete birth certificate) about halfway through his first term he shut the "Birther" movement down cold. Don't think skeptics had much to say after this one.
Singing Al Green at the Apollo
On one of his campaign stop to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York during the 2012 election, President Obama wanted to show and prove to people that, to quote James Brown "I got soul, and I'm super bad." He mentioned that Reverend Al Green had been there before him, and broke into his own rendition of "Let's Stay Together." The man absolutely killed the game with that one, and to top it off, Mr. Green fully endorsed Obama's version. Now that's cool at its ultimate high.
Taking a Personal Moment After the Second Inauguration
Second inaugurations don't nearly get the same amount of love and attention that first inaugurations do, it's just a presidential fact. But it was just after giving his inauguration speech in 2013 that President Obama took time for a small personal moment, turning and looking back onto the steps of the U.S. Capitol building, where he had just been sworn in (again) as president. "I want to take a look one more time," the president said. Adding, as his family was waiting ahead of him: "I'm not going to see this again." It was a small, but important moment of honest wonder for Obama to relish, as he rightfully deserved.
Shutting Down Republicans During the 2015 State of the Union
If you thought the president was going to let a little passive aggressive move from the GOP during his annual address to Congress slide, you would have been wrong. His last State of the Union set the Internet off with memes and videos of the president not only ignoring the shade thrown by Republicans but coming back for them in a way they weren't ready for. Watch as he lets the GOP calm themselves down and regain their composure, at which point he shoots to kill, aiming right at the jugular with the comeback "I know because I won them both." The camera pans to the crowd reaction and you can instantly see the sick that is written all over his opponent's faces. That burn will forever pain the GOP who thought they were being cute by applauding his exit. Check, mate.
Using His "Anger Translator" at the 2015 WHCA Dinner
We know our president to always remain triple C: calm, cool and collected. The annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, where things are meant to be lighthearted, allow the President to laugh and enjoy the company of entertainers. But as this year's edition of "Nerd Prom" progressed, Obama stepped to the mic to offer up his sentiments in a less conventional way using Key and Peele's character Luther (played by Keegan-Michael Key) to translate his anger on stage for his audience. And boy did he! After a while, the president needed no help to tell it like it was and rant about his frustrations with his executive position. If that wasn't humorous and honest, you aren't paying enough attention.
Leading a Rendition of "Amazing Grace"
This recent heartfelt moment during a memorial service for Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the other 8 victims of the Charleston AME Church massacre was an unexpected one to the general public, but based on Obama's body language and speech, there is no doubt that before he broke out into a soulful rendition of "Amazing Grace" he knew what had to be done. Black church is quite an experience, especially if you're not black and have never been to a black church. While "Amazing Grace" is traditionally more reserved, the version President Obama brought to the stage had hints of unwavering soul creeping through the grief, accenting each word.
Handling a Heckler in the White House
President Obama has dealt with hecklers before, but never before as he had one in the White House...that is until his recent a speech he gave on same-sex marriage in the East Room. The act must have been the straw that broke the camel's back and gave the president impetus to break from character telling the heckler, "You're in my house." Of course this rebuttal was met with a cacophony of applause and celebration. That's the last time you're gonna think about disrespecting the Prez during his speeches.