President Barack Obama’s gesture touches former aide

January 29th, 2009 - 12:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaChicago, Jan 29 (IANS) Even as he was savoring the adulation of millions, President Barack Obama found time to meet with an Indian American aide who had worked with him in his US Senate campaign.Chicago-based Raja Krishnamoorthi, who, like Obama, is an alumni of Harvard Law School, was surprised and touched when he got an invitation, meant for a selected few “friends and family” to attend the presidential inauguration on Jan 20.

Krishnamoorthi, who is the deputy treasurer in the Illinois State Treasurer’s office, said the visit, as well as the brief meeting with the president left lasting memories. “We had tickets to all the events. We were put on shuttle buses and traveled with a police escort to the swearing in,” Krishnamoorthi told IANS here.
After the swearing-in, Krishnamoorthi was among a select group of people who got a personal audience with the newly sworn in president.

“I was with him for a few minutes. He shook hands and hugged me and asked about my family. He was in extremely high spirits,” Krishnamoorthi said.

This was Krishnamoorthi’s first meeting with Obama after the historic Nov 4 elections. It was also a reunion of sorts. Krishnamoorthi was the policy director in Obama’s campaign for the US Senate. Obama had also visited his parents home, “where he ate the Indian food with gusto,” Krishnamoorthi said.

“The pageantry and the historic nature of the presidential inauguration were overwhelming. Everyone seemed to be unified behind our new president. It made me feel extremely proud to be an American,” said New Delhi-born Krishnamoorthi, who immigrated to the US as a child.

Krishnamoorthi has been a friend of Obama for the last ten years. “President Obama will not be different as a human being from what he was as an Illinois senator. He has always had the best interest of the common people and I can personally vouch for the fact that he will work tirelessly to that end,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Krishnamoorthi described Obama as “very cool and calm. He engages with the substance of any issue at hand. He carefully thinks about issues and deliberates in an open and inclusive way. He wants his advisers to give as much input as possible,” he said, adding that Obama had a ” rare instinct” for consensus.

This was the first presidential inauguration that Krishnamoorthi attended and he said he would cherish the president’s special gesture to him, as much as the historic nature of the inauguration. “The meeting with President Obama is something I can never forget,” he said.

(Ashok Easwaran can be reached at

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