Michael Lewis: Obama has 'the personality of a sniper'

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By Eun Kyung Kim

The way President Obama handles himself on the basketball court provides insight into how he approaches his job, writer Michael Lewis said Tuesday on TODAY.

"He plays a game that seems very risk-averse but then all of a sudden, when there’s a risk to take, it’s 'boom,'" said Lewis, who spent six months with the president for a Vanity Fair profile. “He’s got the personality of a sniper.”

The president doesn’t like any special treatment on the court, where he plays with former college basketball players, some of whom played professionally overseas.

"It’s a relationship among equals. He loves the fact that people are backing him down and knocking him in the mouth," Lewis told Matt Lauer.

The writer, whose article appears in the October issue, interviewed the president numerous times while in the Oval Office, on Air Force One and on the basketball court. He said Obama describes his job as president as a decision-making one. To maximize his ability to make the right choices, he creates an environment where he eliminates  trivial choices, like what to eat for breakfast or what to wear each day — all of his suits are blue and gray, for example.

"Any given decision you make you’ll wind up with a 30 to 40 percent chance it isn’t going to work," Obama says in the article. "You have to own that and feel comfortable with the way you made the decision. You can’t be paralyzed by the fact that it might not work out."

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