This is Obama's strength -- appealing to so many different walks of life. I see the geek in Obama as well. At the very least, he views smart people as essential to solving problems.
ABC: Obama is good at "repressing his inner geek, but you can tell it's there," especially when he goes into nuanced explanations of technical matters, said Benjamin Nugent, author of the book "American Nerd: The Story of My People."
"One imagines a terrifying rally of 'Star Trek' people shouting, 'One of us!'" Nugent said, in an interview conducted by e-mail, of course.
Others see only some geek qualities, qualifying the president-elect as merely "nerd-adjacent." After all, he's an athlete and kind of cool, some experts demur. Still, there's enough there for geeks to celebrate.
Psychology professor Larry Welkowitz of Keene State College in New Hampshire hopefully speculated that there's a shift in what's cool and that "smart can be in. Maybe that started with the computer programmers of the '90s. The Bill Gateses of the world are OK."
The Obama transition team would not comment on the president-elect's geek qualities, even when it was suggested those could be positive. And his old college friends give the geek idea a split vote. While Margot Mifflin, now a journalism professor in New York, said she saw no geeky signs in Obama as a freshman at Occidental College in California, Amiekoleh Kimbrew Usafi recalled it differently, despite the lack of technology back in 1979.
"He's a geek because he was smart," Usafi said, noting that Occidental was a geeky school to start with, billing itself as the Yale of the West. "I remember he would be hitting his books. I would see him in the library. ... There were a lot of girls that liked him because he was cute, but he kept his head in the direction he was going in. I would see him studying all the time."
Wired magazine first crowed about Obama the geek, complete with five reasons in its GeekDad blog. A lot depends on definition of geek, which to Wired is more a compliment than insult.