The guy can speak Bahasa Indonesian.
This came out during his appearance Thursday at the State Department. After giving a speech on the Middle East and challenges in Afghanistan and Pakistan, he worked the assembled crowd of diplomats. Charles Silver, who had served in Indonesia, shouted "Good afternoon" in Bahasa Indonesian. Obama, not skipping a beat, responded in Bahasa Indonesian. The two then had a short conversation in English about the neigborhood where Obama lived in Jakarta.
Obama, you'll recall, lived in Indonesia from 1967 to 1971 (until the age of 10).
These language skills surely are a plus.
Indonesia, little known or understood in the United States, is the world's 4th most populous nation, with the world's largest Muslim population (more than all the Middle East Arab nations combined). It is strategically located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It is a front-line nation in confronting terrorism.
Indonesia has the largest economy in Southeast Asia. Perhaps Californians, sharing a Pacific Ocean link, can capitalize on the new attention to Obama to drum up business with this pivotal nation. Hey, use every advantage you've got.
Watch the exchange here.