Cover Story Obama and race: life on a high wire

President Obama, guarded on racial issues in his first term, is now speaking out more forcefully. But for the first black president – and the nation – there’s still no more difficult subject.

By , Staff writer

Pete Souza/White House/AP

Barack Obama took the podium in the East Room of the White House, as he has done countless times before. But this time was different. The president was flanked by a group of African-American teenage boys from Chicago who reminded him of his younger self. And he spoke in deeply personal terms – about growing up without a father, about getting high, about slacking off at school.