Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How much do you really know about Obama and Biden? -- Aug. 29, 2012 column

The Democratic National Convention opens Tuesday in Charlotte for three days of celebrating -- and selling -- President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for a second term.

Even though the Democratic Duo is always in the news, how much do you really know about the men asking for four more years? Test your political trivia savvy with our bio quiz on Obama and Biden.

Ten questions and answers are below. You know the rules: No peeking, no Googling and no consulting your favorite Super PAC.

If you missed last week’s quiz on Team Double-R -- Romney and Ryan – take it here.

Here we go.

1. What did Barry Obama, as he was known then, NOT do during his two years at Occidental College in California?

A. Wear stupid hats

B. Captain the cheerleading squad

C. Impersonate Mick Jagger

D. Listen to Billie Holiday

2. Who or what are Beau and Bo?

A. Nicknames Barack Obama uses when signing notes to Michelle

B. Logins Obama has used

C. Middle names of Malia and Sasha Obama, respectively

D. Biden’s oldest son and the Obama dog, respectively

3. A plaque now marks the ice cream shop where Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama first kissed in 1989. How did they meet?

A. Barack bumped into Michelle’s car accidentally on purpose in a parking lot.

B. Michelle spilled champagne on Barack at a wedding.

C. Young attorney Michelle was assigned to mentor Barack at her Chicago law firm.

D. A blind date after Michelle answered a personals ad in the local alternative weekly paper.

4. In third grade, Obama wrote a paper saying he wanted to become … what?

A. Astronaut

B. President

C. Veterinarian

D. Basketball star

5. True or false: Jill Biden, wife of Joe, wrote the book, “Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops.”

6. What does Barack Obama have in common with Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush?

A. Skydiving

B. Degrees from Harvard or Yale

C. Left handed

D. Foes of broccoli

7. More voters say Obama is a Muslim and fewer that he’s a Christian now than before his election. What percentage believes Obama is a Muslim?

A. 30 percent

B. 17 percent

C. 10 percent

D. 5 percent

8. Obama played his 100th round of golf as president in June. Has he played more golf than any other president?

A. You betcha.

B. Not by a long shot.

9. Winning the presidency was his second-toughest election, Obama says. What was his toughest win?

A. Harvard Law Review presidency

B. Grammy

C. Michelle’s “vote” as her husband

D. Academy Award

10. Who described then-Senator Obama in 2007 as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” adding, “That’s storybook, man.”

A. George W. Bush

B. Bill Clinton

C. Hillary Clinton

D. Joe Biden

BONUS QUESTION: In how many languages besides English has Obama’s “Dreams from My Father” been published?

A. 10

B. 18

C. 26

D. Who can count that high?


1. B. Hats, Jagger, Holiday – yes, yes, yes. Cheerleader? Nope.

2. D. Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III is attorney general of Delaware. Bo is the Obamas’ Portuguese water dog.

3. C. Harvard law grad Michelle, 25, had completed her first year at the firm when she was assigned to mentor Barack, 27, a Harvard law student hired for the summer. “So we had lunch…and I thought, ‘Oh here you go. Here’s this good-looking, smooth-talking guy. I’ve been down this road before,’” she told author David Mendell.

4. B. Young Barry wrote that his mom was his idol and he hoped to be president someday.

5. True. The children’s book tells the story of a family’s experience with military deployment through the eyes of the Bidens’ granddaughter during the year her dad was deployed to Iraq.

6. C. Lefties are only 10 percent of the population, but eight of our 44 presidents have been left handed.

7. B. In October 2008, just 12 percent of voters thought Obama was a Muslim, the Pew Research Center reported last month. About half those surveyed now say he’s a Christian, down from 55 percent in 2008.

8. B. While he has played far more golf than George W. Bush’s 24 games, Obama isn’t close to Woodrow Wilson’s reported record of 1,200 or Dwight Eisenhower’s 800 presidential golf games.

9. A. In 1990, when Obama became the first black student elected president of the Harvard Law Review, the Review's 80 editors deliberated 17 hours.

10. D. Gaffe-prone Biden issued a statement, saying, "I deeply regret any offense my remark…might have caused anyone. That was not my intent.”

BONUS: C. You can read “Dreams” in Arabic to Vietnamese, including Marathi, Tamil and Urdu.

SCORING -- 10 points for each correct answer and five points for bonus.

85 to 100 – Congratulations! You’re so savvy you could be family.

70 to 85 – Political pro. Angling for a job in the second Obama administration?

55 to 70 – Author, author. You could write a book.

40 to 55 – No slacker, your knowledge exceeds that of most bloggers.

25 to 40 – Tweet away. You certainly have 140 characters’ worth of insight.

Below 25 – Too busy leading your own life for politics? You have time to brush up.

--Compiled by Marsha Mercer

SOURCES: ABC News, “Barack Obama: The Making of the Man” by David Maraniss,, CNN,, New York Times, “Obama: From Promise to Power” by David Mendell, Pew Research Center, Washington Post,,

(c) 2012 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.


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