Alec MacGillis of the Washington Post pens an adoring account of Barack Obama and the academic elites that are landing roles in the upcoming Obama administration. He cites Douglas Baird, "who hired Obama at the University of Chicago" contending:
"He goes into a faculty club filled with Nobel laureates, and he talks to them on equal terms -- there hasn't been anyone in the White House like that for a long time,"?
The New York Times published a very different portrayal of Barack Obama and his time on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School. In that article he was depicted as avoiding any discussions with fellow academics.
The Chicago law faculty is full of intellectually fiery friendships that burn across ideological lines. Three times a week, professors do combat over lunch at a special round table in the university's faculty club, and they share and defend their research in workshop discussions. Mr. Obama rarely attended, even when he was in town.
"I'm not sure he was close to anyone," Mr. Hutchinson said, except for a few liberal constitutional law professors, like Cass Sunstein, now an occasional adviser to his campaign. Mr. Obama was working two other jobs, after all, in the State Senate and at a civil rights law firm.
Several colleagues say Mr. Obama was surely influenced by the ideas swirling around the law school campus: the prevailing market-friendliness, or economic analysis of the impact of laws. But none could say how. "I'm not sure we changed him," Mr. Baird said.
Because he never fully engaged, Mr. Obama "doesn't have the slightest sense of where folks like me are coming from," Mr. Epstein said. "He was a successful teacher and an absentee tenant on the other issues."
Which one is wrong?