Meet the Press   |  December 08, 2013

Mandela impact on Obama's presidency

David Gregory examines how the life of Nelson Mandela personally affected the ambition and passion of President Barack Obama.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back from new york this morning on "meet the press" talking about the legacy and the lessons of nelson mandela . charles overtree is in boston with us this morning. professor, the modern influence that he has had. you think about president obama who meets him, and we have the pictures of it back in 2005 . he's still a senator, and mandela had been encouraged to meet with this rising star in the democratic party , and this was their only meeting at the four seasons hotel in washington, the president reflecting on the life and times of mandela from the white house on thursday.

>> i'm one of the countless millions who drew inspiration from nelson mandela 's life. my very first political action, the first thing i ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against apartheid.

>> and it's interesting, he being too young for the civil rights era , reverend jackson, but first to charles ogletree , this was the connection point was apartheid. this was the inspiration nelson mandela , who he could experience realtime, the joy of that deliverance realtime.

>> that's exactly right. i was a student at stanford when i heard the movement about divestment from south africa in 1972 . in 1971 , barack obama was only ten years old so he was very young and never able to appreciate that. what i want to make clear, though, we shouldn't call him militant, we shouldn't call him a terrorist, he's a patriot. he's just like the patriots fighting here many, many centuries ago for equality. and that's what he was. he was a patriot who tried to make sure that his country where he was born, where he controlled would recognize the fact that the majority of people who were african were suppressed by the minority of people who were white, and that has to be changed. he is a patriot who did a great deal in his 27 years in prison and did a great deal as president and continues to have that legacy as a patriot. i am a south african . i am an african, as he said when he got his honorary degree from harvard in 1998 . that became a watershed moment of him recognizing who he was, what he was and who he's speaking for.