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President Obama Explained Using Myers-Briggs

MY ESOTERIC likes to think of himself as a bit of a polymath with degrees in Statistics, Accounting, Computer Science, & Operations Research

THE NEWS OF THE DAY AS I BEGIN THIS HUB is the fence-jumper at the White House and that he made it into the interior of the building passed a guard and through an unlocked outer door. That, of course, has gotten the Secret Service into a heap of trouble. The administration also has egg on its face in the way the news is coming out, which is why I am writing this piece.

Instead of telling the basic story, for most of it had to be known the day after the incident, the administrations spokespeople said as little as possible, again. First, it wasn't released the man got into the White House, then it was. Then it wasn't released that he got deep into the White House, then it was. After that, the news reported the guard at the door was overpowered (which may or may not be true), so OK, yes, they guy got passed the guard at the door. Finally it came out the door was unlocked and some sort of "crash box" had been turned off because the usher thought it too noisy. Yep, the administration ultimately admitted all of that today as well

The thing is, I am certain they knew about all of that, including how the guy got passed the guard, except for maybe the crash box, within 24-hours after it happened. Past experience should have told them all of this was going to get out so why didn't they just release the whole story rather than make themselves AND the President look like the Keystone Cops? The only answer I can come up with is "they have 6 years of experience of doing the same thing over and over again and they have now turned it into an art form."

And this is a shame. It's a shame because their stupidity has terribly damaged the image and work of what arguably could have been one of the great Presidents in American politics; I'll get into why I think that near the end. Nobody "understood him". Nobody seemed to take the time to see where the weaknesses were in his make-up and help build support structures to prevent him from being trapped and embarrassed by them. In other words, they didn't do their job, they let him down.



I GLANCED AT THE WEB TO SEE IF THERE WAS information regarding President Obama's Meyers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment; what I think is a pretty good look at a person's strengths and weaknesses. (In Related Links at the bottom of this Hub are various sources which explain how the MBTI works and why it is so successful in measuring personal characteristics.) All I will rehearse at the moment are what the initials stand for:

E - Extravert I - Introvert

S - Sensor N- iNtuitive

F - Feeler T - Thinker

J - Judger P - Perceptor

The names are relatively descriptive but will become clearer as I go on. Each pair are more or less the opposite of each other and, like everything else in life, there are degrees of each characteristic and they vary depending on the situation. For example, I am extremely Introverted in my normal life; it is so bad that when I was young trying meet women, if I tried to talk to one I didn't know, my mind went literally blank ... it was so damn frustrating; and it hasn't changed in 45 years. But, put me in my work environment and you would never know it. When you combine them together, you get sixteen distinctly different personality types.

Well, my web search did not turn up a definitive answer to what Obama's MBTI is; but there were a ton of uneducated and educated guesses. They were all over the board; the only consensus was that President Obama is not a Sensor-S. The Daily Kos did a survey where about a 1000 people took part; so far the results are as follows:

  • 55% thinks he is a NT
  • 37% thinks he is a NF
  • 57% thinks he is an E
  • 37% thinks he is an I
  • 52% thinks he is a J
  • 42% thinks he is a P

An MBTI is a combination of four of these letters, one from each pair. The author of the Daily Kos piece, by "silentbobus" thought President Obama might be an ENTJ (15% of respondents agreed). Personally, I think he is an INTP (10% agreed). What I propose to do next is look at the two personality types in detail, as well as consider how S and F might change things and does that what we observe.


HERE IS WHAT AN 'ENTJ' (link can be used for other types as well) LOOKS LIKE (all you have to do is Google or click on the letters). An ENTJ title is "The Executive"; well that fits. So, this is how it works.

  1. An ENTJ is a "born leader"
  2. The E means his primary source of energy is from people, from the external world.
  3. But, their secondary mode is the opposite Internal (I) where they get information from intuition (N)
  4. The T suggest they process things rationally and logically
  5. The leadership is brought about from the interaction of all of this with the J attribute.
  6. The NT characteristic says they live in a world of possibilities with problems to solve and an ability to absorb and process great quantities of complex information.
  7. The EJ in them leads to wanting to be the one who solves them
  8. The NTJ's are tireless in their efforts on the job, driven to visualize where an organization is headed making them natural corporate leaders.
  9. Js and TJs do not handle errors well and because they are not "people persons" tend to react badly when they occur
  10. ETJs have a "my way or the highway" issue
  11. ETJs tend to be aggressive, forceful, decisive, intimidating, and overbearing
  12. ETJs can be very sentimental, but this is suppressed and hidden


  • Dominant Preference: Extravert Thinking
  • Auxiliary Preference: Introverted Intuition
  • Tertiary Preference: Extraverted Sensing
  • Inferior Preference: Introverted Feeling

ENTJ's make about 3.5% of the total U.S. population and are dominated by Republicans

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Clearly, many of these characteristics fit what we see in President Obama; but then there are many that do not. It is the preponderance of these descriptions which help us determine which bucket to place him in. I will leave it here for you to ponder and move on to INTP.

FAMOUS ENTJs: (Source: Aug 15, 2013 by Brandon Gaille in People)

Adele; Adolf Hitler; Al Gore; Alexander Hamilton; Angela Merkel; Aristotle; Bill Gates; Carl Sagan; David Letterman; Dick Cheney; Donald Trump; Edward Teller;Franklin D. Roosevelt; George Clooney; Hannibal; Harrison Ford; Hillary Clinton; Jack Welch; Jerry Seinfeld; Jim Carrey; Joseph Stalin; Julius Caesar; Karl Rove; Katharine Hepburn; Madeleine Albright; Margaret Thatcher; Matt Damon; Nancy Pelosi; Napoleon Bonaparte; Newt Gingrich; Oskar Schindler; Peter Thiel; Rahm Emanuel; Richard Nixon; Rush Limbaugh; Sean Connery; Sigourney Weaver; Simon Cowell; Steve Jobs; Steve Martin; Tea Leoni; Tony Robbins; Vladimir Putin; Warren Buffett; Whoopi Goldberg; Winston Churchill

HERE IS WHAT AN 'INTP' LOOKS LIKE. An INTP is "The Thinker" or "The Problem Solver" and these are the characteristics (not including those in common with ENTJs):

  1. Unlike the E, your primary mode for an I is to live Internally, to draw your energy from yourself or one other with whom you can verbalize what is in your head.
  2. NTP's, like NTJs, have the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. But, unlike a J, who stops there, the P seeks clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the "absent-minded professors"
  3. Like their EJ counter-part, IPs typically are strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations and to turn theories into concrete understanding. Unlike EJs, once IPs figure things out to their satisfaction, they move on to the next challenge; IPs aren't driven to lead people to implement what they have learned.
  4. In fact, IPs hate to lead people. I know, I'm one and in their infinite wisdom, the AF put me in charge of a branch of cost analysts for several years, not the most pleasant experience I have ever had. IPs make poor leaders and managers because they are very tolerant and flexible in most situations, unless one of their firmly held beliefs has been violated or challenged, in which case they may take a very rigid stance.
  5. The IP is likely to be very shy when it comes to meeting new people, but, when around a few people they know well and are discussing theories which they understand, IPs can be very self-confident and gregarious.
  6. If the INTP scores high in most of the Type categories (normally on a scale of 1 to 9) they have little understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings; they fail to the importance or relevance of applying subjective emotional considerations to decisions which leaves them ill-equipped to know how other people are feeling and to meet their emotional needs.
  7. The INTP is your independent, original, unconventional eccentric who may have problems with may have a problem with self-aggrandizement and social rebellion,
  8. If the T is overly developed, then they may have difficulty with intimate relationships needing warmth and support: not realizing the value of attending to other people's feelings; and being overly critical and sarcastic with others especially with if the others seem to be not trying to "get it".

INTPs make up 3.5% of the U.S. population and is dominated by Independents.


  • Dominant Preference: Introverted Thinking
  • Auxiliary Preference: Extraverted Intuition
  • Tertiary Preference: Introverted Sensing
  • Inferior Preference: Extraverted Feeling

Having written this, I changed my mind about President Obama being an INTP, he isn't. so now let's look at the ENTP.

FAMOUS INTPs: (Source: Aug 15, 2013 by Brandon Gaille in People)

Abraham Lincoln; Adam Smith; Alan Greenspan; Albert Einstein; Albert Speer; Andreas Scholl; Ashley Olsen; Asia Carrera; Ben Stein; Blaise Pascal; Bob Newhart; Brent Spiner; Carl Jung; Charles Darwin; Charlotte Gainsbourg; David Cronenberg; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Franz Kafka; Friedrich A. Hayek; Gerald Ford; Hannah Arendt; Immanuel Kant; J.K. Rowling; James Madison; Jeff Bingaman; Jesse Eisenberg; Jimmy Wales; John Locke; John Quincy Adams; John Tyler; Larry Page; Marie Curie; Mary-Kate Olsen; Meryl Streep; Milton Friedman; Paul Allen; Randall Munroe; Rene Descartes; Richard Dawkins; Rick Moranis; Sergey Brin; Sir Isaac Newton; Thomas Aquinas; Tina Fey; William Harvey; William James; and dare I say My Esoteric?

HERE IS WHAT AN 'ENTP' LOOKS LIKE.. An ENTP is "The Visionary". As should be obvious, the difference between ENTJ and ENTP is the last characteristic while the difference between INTP and ENTP is the first type. A little explanation is needed to understand how a difference in these personality type preferences affect the overall personality.

The first type, E or I, explain where you put your attention and draw you energy from. E, Extraverts, are focused outwardly and draw there energy from others, often large groups of others; they love to be the center of attention. I, Introverts, as you would expect find comfort delving into their own mind and therefore focus there. They draw their energy from doing this. If you put one type in the other's environment, you can often see then crumple as their energy is almost literally sapped from their bodies.

The forth type, J or P, is somewhat related in that it shows the person's preference for how others perceive them, not necessarily how they see themselves. J, Judgers, prefer to have other see how they arrive at decisions, F or T, which makes them decision/results oriented. On the other hand P, perceivers, care that others are aware at how they gather their information, S or N. You can see this in people for J's love "decisiveness", "task orientation, and "organizing through lists", while in P's, you will see "flexibility, will to change plans", "appear loose and casual", "list? who needs lists?", and "stimulated by approaching deadlines"

These are the characteristics (not including those in common with other two) of the ENTP:

  1. Except for the ENFP, the ENTP understands the environment, to understand people and the situation better than anyone else.
  2. LIke all NTPs, they see possibilities in everything, but unlike their I cousin, their E influence allows them to get others excited and are better able to build consensus where the INTP could care less.
  3. The J in ENTJ says these people are structured around the decision, T, side of their personality; they want plans of action which can be carried to completion. ENTPs ... not so much because their Pness drives them to find their intuition more important, so it is the idea that counts, not putting it in motion. (This is extremely frustrating to me because I do have a need to put my ideas in motion but lack the capacity to influence others to make my ideas a reality.)
  4. Because of the E-type, ENTPs love to talk and love to debate both sides of the issue, which leads to another label, "The Lawyer".
  5. An ENTP lawyer would have no problem defending a person they know to be guilty, especially if the T is highly developed. If they win, they are fine with that because that was what their job was, that is what the Constitution expected of them ... to make the State prove it's case.

ENTPs make up 3.5% of the U.S. population and is dominated by Independents.


  • Dominant Preference: Extraverted Intuition
  • Auxiliary Preference: Introverted Thinking
  • Tertiary Preference: Extraverted Feeling
  • Inferior Preference: Introverted Sensing

FAMOUS ENTPs (Source: Aug 15, 2013 by Brandon Gaille in People)

Adam Savage; Alexander the Great; ;Alfred Hitchcock; Barack Obama; Benjamin Franklin; Bill Hicks; Bill Maher; Billy Crystal; Catherine the Great; Celine Dion; David Hume; David Hyde Pierce; David Spade; Edmund Burke; Federico Fellini; Henry Kissinger; Hugh Grant; John Adams; John Stuart Mill; John von Neumann; Jon Stewart; Julia Child; Leonardo da Vinci; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Mao Zedong; Neil Patrick Harris; Newt Gingrich; Nikola Tesla; Richard Feynman; Robert Downey Jr.; Rose McGowan; Rowan Atkinson; Salma Hayek; Sarah McLachlan; Sir Walter Raleigh; Socrates; Stephen Colbert; Theodore Roosevelt; Thomas Edison; Tom Hanks; Voltaire; Walt Disney; Werner Heisenberg

So, What About President Obama?

WHAT IS HE LIKE? HAVE YOU MADE YOUR CHOICE? I have made mine; actually I made it a long time ago and based on what I just wrote, I am going to change my mind ... NPs can do that (I wonder what that makes "flip-floppers" like Senator John Kerry?). For the longest time I thought President Obama was an INTP and now I think he is an ENTP, moderate on the E and P, weak on the T, and strong on the N.

Here is my reasoning. I originally thought of him as somewhat Introverted because he often appeared to be looking inward, but I now think that was mostly his NP showing through. In choosing between E and I, I considered his speech after securing his primary nomination, his Presidential debates, and his press conferences. In thinking about his speech after winning the Democratic nomination in 2008, the light flashed on. I remembered Obama simply soaking up the energy from the crowd, you could almost literally see him grow the longer he talked; that is definitely Extravert.

On the other hand, in other settings this isn't as obvious, which indicates a tendency toward Introversion. To me at least, President Obama never really sets anything on fire in any of his debates or press conferences; instead, he seemed rather clinical, like an INTP would be. Hence my initial inclination to that assessment. But, at the end of the day, it is Obama in front of a crowd that makes his "E-ness" shine through because that is what he wants to be.

That President Obama is a strong Intuitive (N) should be obvious. Intuitors live for ideas, concepts, patterns, and relationships. At the same time they get bored with detail while hard facts don't interest them as much. Sensors (S), on the other hand, deal only in facts as well as the "here-and-now"; Strong Sensors are often not interested in nor do they understand possibilities. My business partner and our Director of Accounting are both strong Sensors ... we get seriously frustrated with each other. I don't think there is any indication that President Obama displays any S characteristics but does display many N characteristics.

The third letter has to do with how people process the information they receive. Do they let their emotions, Feelers (F), direct their analysis of the mind, Thinking (T)? I think President Obama is a weak ,T but often works out of his Feeling side; that, I would think, is why it took to community organizing so easily. Substitute policy for people, however, and his T side clearly comes out, he appears to be very analytical about how he approaches solving problems of policy.

Finally we get to Perceptive, P. As I said, this fourth characteristic is hard to define but let me use a reverse example. Who out there thinks President Obama is decisive, a sign of "J-ness"? I certainly don't. So, if he is not a J, he must be a P. There are other indicators as well such as changing his mind if needed when new information is presented and deadlines matter less than getting it right. So, there you have it, President Obama, in my opinion, is most likely an ENTP.

What Does That Explain About President Obama?

A LOT REALLY! FOR EXAMPLE, RECENTLY PRESIDENT OBAMA caused a flap on both sides of the aisle when he remarked that he "didn't have a plan yet" regarding how he was going to handle the threat ISIS posed. That a characteric NTP response ... except you can't make when you are President. But another characteristic of an NTP is they get lost in their own thoughts, so to speak, and are not focused so much as how things are perceived by others. An NTJ, on the other hand, would most likely have lied and said he did have a plan when, in fact, he didn't.

To me, as an NTP, what President Obama said made perfect sense. What he actually meant, and intuitors would have picked up on this, is that he didn't have a "completed" plan yet and he simply isn't going to announce he has a half-assed plan because not all of the facts were in yet; a P characteristic. An EJ-type doesn't necessarily want all of facts because that interferes with being decisive and being a man or woman of action.

Another problem that has gotten President Obama into deep trouble with his poll ratings is his lack of decisiveness; his desire to have as much information as is reasonable to obtain before making decisions, which is very characteristic of a strong Perceiver (P). I'll let you in on two little know secrets to explain why.

  1. Roughly 47% of Americans are Sensor-Judgers, S-Js. while around 17% are iNtuitor-Perceivers, N-Ps.
  2. Conservatives and Right-leaning Independents are dominated by S-Js, while Liberals and Progressives are dominated by N-Ps.

While N-Ps often understand the S-J personality, the reverse is normally not the case. Why? Because Sensors lack Intuition to varying degrees. So, that leaves President Obama in the interesting situation where his individual policies, or in the case of Obamacare, the individual features, tend to poll very high with Americans, but when viewed as a package with his name attached, nobody likes them. While the massive six-year anti-Obama propaganda campaign probably increased the magnitude of the negative poll numbers, I suspect they would have been disappointing absent the Conservative effort to dethrone him


© 2015 Scott Belford

Comments from upstate, NY on January 10, 2020:

Fair enough, thanks.

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 10, 2020:

Very well could be about Trump but I have to draw the line about a similarity with Obama. From where I sit, they are polar opposites. from upstate, NY on January 10, 2020:

You might be right about James, he seems more adept with concrete facts and data than with big picture abstract thought and theory, although I wouldn't want to debate him. And he seems like a traditionalist. And that would point him to an SJ personality type. I think an ESTJ might fit him. from upstate, NY on January 10, 2020:

Most online information sites Trump as an ESTP. I've had friends with this personality, they tend to lean a little on the narcissistic side but they're a lot of fun to be around. I think Trump thrives in the spotlight and often enjoys mixing it up with opponents, an ESFJ couldn't sleep at night with that much conflict. In Trump's case I think he only pretends to be thin-skinned as a manipulation ploy.

Trump loves to challenge the status quo (sometimes good and sometimes not) and he definitely doesn't play by the rules although he will stick to his own personal code of ethics. He'll cheat to win sometimes, he's utilitarian and a does what it takes to get the job done kind of guy. And think he and Obama are similar in that regard.

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on January 10, 2020:

LOL. Thanks for reading and thinking about this.

As for Trump, I not sure I would go with T since he mainly reacts from his gut. E certainly, S certainly. Do you think he procrastinates much or keeps wanting more information, characteristics of a P. My guess would be ESFJ.

For James, I would go with E or I, it is hard to tell on a forum. I am guessing I come across as an extreme E. In fact, I score a 9 the I scale.

I would agree James is a strong T. But other research I have seen suggest that someone who is committed to his religion as he appears to be would be Sensors and Judgers. So I would go with ESTJ. from upstate, NY on January 10, 2020:

Now, I'm sure you'll use my intel to exploit James weaknesses :) from upstate, NY on January 10, 2020:

I think He's an ENTP also, he's too good of a communicator to be introverted and he's too cool-headed to be a feeler. I never saw him lose his composure.

I think James is also an ENTP what do you think? You and he are fairly alike aside your political leanings And Trump is a classic ESTP troublemaker, right?

Daniel Kirsner on December 04, 2017:

If Obama is an ENTP, why is he universally described as very introverted by his intimates? If Obama is an ENTP, why does he use overwhelmingly judging language?

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on April 27, 2015:

Thanks Larry, I wounder if I got it right?

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on April 27, 2015:

As always, great analysis.

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