A woman gave Obama the tiny statue long ago, he said in an interview for YouTube creators Destin Sandlin, Ingrid Nilsen and Adande Thorne.
"Ever since I started running for office, people started handing me things — lucky charms or keepsakes or things that meant something to them," he explained. "Now I have a habit where I always carry around some of them."
Obama said he has a "whole bowlful" of such keepsakes and he picks out a few of them to carry them in his pockets. Revealing what he was carrying in his pocket that day, during the interview in the East Room of the White House, Obama pulled out rosary beads that Pope Francis gave him, a little Buddha gifted by a Buddhist monk, a lucky metal poker chip from a biker — and the Hanuman statue.
He explained that carrying these keepsakes remind him of all the people who he has met along the way since he first ran for office more than a decade ago, and he likes to remember the stories they told him.
Watch the full interview above.
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