A new book, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, reveled Obama had a white girlfriend who he proposed to, twice!
The news broke last week about the tell-all book. It revealed that Sheila Miyoshi Jager, now 53 and a professor East Asian studies at Oberlin College, was not only the former girlfriend of the president, in the first year of his relationship with Michelle, she was also his part-time lover.
“I always felt bad about it,” Jager told biographer David J. Garrow, author of the book.
The couple dated for a couple of years, even lived together and had a cat called Max.
They met each other’s families as well. Jager described them as being “an island unto ourselves”.
Although Jager played a huge part in Obama’s formative years, she was omitted from Obama’s own biography, Dreams of My Father, where she was just mashed together with his other white exes into one character.
Sounds like she wasn’t someone Obama wanted to remember. Or maybe Michelle to remember.
Their relationship quickly progressed and in the winter of 1986, while visiting Sheila’s parents, Barack popped the question, Jager told Garrow.
But Jager’s parents were concerned that she was too young – Jager was 23 and Obama was 25 – and she had to turn down his proposal.
They remained together, and Jager began to realize her then-boyfriend’s ‘deep-seated need to be loved and admired.’
Jager told Garrow that Obama became ‘so very ambitious very suddenly.’
‘I remember very clearly when this transformation happened, and I remember very specifically that by 1987, about a year into our relationship, he already had his sights on becoming president.’
But Obama believed he needed to ‘fully identify as African American’ to fulfill his political ambitions – and believed that having a non-black spouse could damage his prospects, according to the book.
This reportedly put pressure on Obama’s relationship with Jager who is of Dutch and Japanese heritage.
Their relationship was rocky when Obama was headed off to Harvard but he gave it one last chance, popping the question a second time. And for a second time, she turned him down.
She believed the proposal was “out of a sense of desperation over our eventual parting and not in any real faith in our future.”
According to Garrow, Obama made emotional judgments on political grounds. A close mutual friend of the couple recalls Obama being concerned about running for president with a white wife.
Friends recall a summer weekend trip to Madison, Wisconsin around this time when there was ‘unusual tension’ between the couple.
Related one of their friends: ‘it’s the summer…these houses are old. You’d die if you closed the windows.
‘They went back and forth, having sex, screaming yelling, having sex, screaming yelling.’
Sheila could be heard yelling: ‘That’s wrong! That’s wrong! That’s not a reason.’
Obama cared for her, Garrow writes, ‘yet he felt trapped between the woman he loved and the destiny he knew was his.’
‘Barack’s political destiny meant that he and Sheila could not have a long-tern future together, no matter how deeply they loved each other.’
Obama has not responded to any claims in the book. He may be laying low, hoping it will all go away.