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'Defining The Times' Denver Author Recounts Barack Obama Era That Changed Everything

DENVER (CBS4)- Most authors want to make the New York Times best seller list. But a Denver woman is making history with her books.

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The books are about the nation's 44th President and there's a story behind this story.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention with running mate Joe Biden on August 27, 2008 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. (credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

"If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I was going to become an author, I would have told them you're crazy. Not me," says Pat Duncan, who is not only an author but the author of two books in the Library of Congress and Smithsonian.

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The books "A Defining Moment" and "Defining the Times" trace the historic journey of the country's first African American President, a journey Coloradans were a significant part of.

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"He made history in Colorado. He's the first Presidential candidate that was here 17 times in eight years," said Duncan. "His first speech as a candidate was here at DU."

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"That President Barack Obama was nominated here is well known. What you may not know is that he delivered many of his biggest speeches here, "When the Dow dropped over 600 points, he had to rewrite his whole speech. We were 45 minutes late... It's in the book."

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Known for drawing big crowds, Obama drew his biggest ever, Duncan says, here in Civic Center Park, "102,000."

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The President's connection to Colorado is why Duncan's books are now archived in Colorado's permanent history collection at the Smithsonian.  But it almost didn't happen, "It took me two and a half years to finish it because of the type of person that I was. I was a procrastinator. I was a quitter. I had no self-belief."

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As Pat Duncan documented Barack Obama's journey, she was on her own journey, "It was about Pat Duncan finishing a project in her life, which she'd never done."

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The girl who'd always struggled to read and never went to college finished not just any project but two books with historical significance.

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Even now, she knows President Obama only through the 60,000 pictures and many speeches she captured. Her favorite, she says, is his last speech, which she read aloud from her book, "I do have one final ask of you as your President, the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I'm asking you to believe, not in my ability to bring about change but yours."

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Duncan says those words still inspire her today, "This says it all, - for Colorado, for Pat Duncan, for Defining the Times."

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign rally at Sloan's Lake Park on Oct. 4, 2012 in Denver,. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

A Defining Moment and Defining the Times are used as reference books in libraries and some college and high school classrooms. Duncan plans to release a new edition of "Defining the Times" next fall.

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