In a wide-ranging interview, Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters spoke with Bernice Bowers, one of President Barack Obama’s former classmates at the Punahou School in Honolulu, about her memories of young “Barry.” She spoke about his friends, family, drugs, how the school helped shape the president’s “global view,” and even the Obama birth certificate conspiracy.
Bowers was a classmate of Obama’s from “fifth grade” until Obama went to college.
When asked if she saw any “democratic leanings” or “liberal leadership,” Bowers said “we all really benefited in having a global view,” which was reinforced at the school.
“And, I’d say when we first started to hear Barack’s policies and the President’s stance on different issues, it made us so proud to hear a global voice. And that’s what we saw growing up, we were very lucky to have that,” she added. “[The] Punahou curriculum in the 70s was extremely focused on building global citizens.”
Watters also asked about Obama’s admitted experimentation with drugs, including pot and cocaine. Bowers certainly did not deny that the future president used drugs during the time she knew him.
“I especially think that the late 70s in Hawaii, drugs were available and I think whenever you have a private school, where kids might have more access, you’re gonna see more of it,” she said.
One of the most interesting aspects of Watters’ wide-ranging interview involved Obama’s mysterious father, who visited the Punahou School when his son was in 5th grade.
Bowers said Barack Obama, Sr. spoke about Kenya and again, spoke about “this world-view that there is a world outside of the United States and a different perspective that started to resonate with what we were being taught.”
“Everybody was really in sort of in awe of him. He came in a suit,” she added. “He [was] not only very professorial, but we all thought that here was, he felt like an ambassador or a statesman, that made a big impression I think on all of us.”
Regarding Obama’s self-described struggle to find his racial identity, the president’s former classmate said that many students in Hawaii struggled with the same thing due to the “many different racial groups” at the school.
“But, African Americans were not widely populating our schools,” she said. “They were mostly located in the military families. So, that was really an eye-opener for us because African Americans in our school really blended in with the rest of us and it made us more sensitive to the fact that they really were a very small minority of the population.”
In addition to some of the more serious topics, Bowers also recalled “Barry” as having a “great personality” and being very well liked by all his classmates. She explained Obama didn’t “stand out from an academic stand point” but he was still “quite bright.”
“We also have seen and clearly understand that he transformed quite dramatically in college and in graduate school and since then,” she said.
And on Obama’s so-called birth certificate controversy, Bowers called it the “most ridiculous debate I had ever seen.”
“Because all of us were born in Hawaii at that time, we have the same birth certificates… If you happen to have kept the original one, which is a very thin extremely blackened out piece of paper with, you know, it’s very fragile, and what was even funnier was that our classmates, we have twins in our class, they were born right before then, literally their numbers in that hospital were right before his. Their mother knew the doctor who delivered him. So, we all felt that that was an extremely useless debate and wish that American hadn’t gone there.”
Watters’ interview contains some other nuggets, like Obama’s dating life and his love of basketball. To read the full transcript from the interview, click here.