Barack Obama, who was re-elected as U.S. President on Wednesday, had invoked the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela while appealing to donors for help in seeking a second term, arguing he needs “time” to achieve true change just like they did.
At a campaign fundraiser in New York City in March this year, Mr. Obama, the first black American to occupy the White House, cast his candidacy for re-election in historical terms.
And in doing so, he drew an implicit comparison between his aspirations and the achievements of the iconic independence leaders in South Africa and India.
“The civil rights movement was hard. Winning the vote for women was hard. Making sure that workers had some basic protections was hard,” Mr. Obama had said.
“Around the world, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, what they did was hard. It takes time. It takes more than a single term. It takes more than a single president. It takes more than a single individual,” he said while talking about how difficult it is to bring about ‘change’ in politics.
Mr. Obama went on to say that citizens needed to “keep believing” and fighting for those beliefs.
The fundraiser speech at New York likening himself to Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Mandela was described by media as extraordinary.
But questions were asked whether the comparison was a “delusion of grandeur.”
Mr. Obama in his speeches has often said that Mr. Gandhi has inspired Americans and African Americans, including Dr Martin Luther King. During a school interaction in the U.S., Mr. Obama had said once that if it were possible, he would have loved to have dinner with Mahatma Gandhi.
Mr. Obama had also invoked Gandhi in his speech at the annual session of the UN General Assembly in New York in September this year when he said that the controversial ‘anti-Islam film’ was no excuse for attack on U.S.