Oct 20, 2008

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is the son of Barack Obama, Sr., a black Kenyan from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Siaya District, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white American from Wichita, Kansas. His parents met while studying at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where his father was a foreign student. They were separated when he was two years of age and later divorced. Obama's father returned to Kenya and was only given one more chance to see his son before dying in an automoblie accident in 1982. After her divorce, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro and the family moved to Indonesia, Soetoro's home country in 1967, where Obama attended local schools in Jakarta until he wasten years old. he then returned to Honolulu, living with his maternal grandparents while attending Punahou School from fifth grade in 1971 until his graduation from igh school in 1979. Obama's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972 for several years then went back to Indonesia in order to complete her dissertation. Ovarian cancer claimed her life in 1995. As an asult, Obama admitted to using marijuana, cocaine and alcohol during his high school years, which he described as his gratest moral failure at the Civil Forum on the Presidency of 2008.

After high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles , where he studied at Occidental College for two years. then transfering to Columbia University in New York City, majoring in political science with a specialization in internal relations. He graduated with a B.A. from Colombia in 1983, worked for a year at the Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group.

After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago, where he was hired as director of Developing Communities Project (DCP) and worked there for three years from June 1985 to MAy 1988. During his three years as the director, the organization underwent many improvements and managed major accomplishments from its staff to its budget and other sponsored programs. He also worked as a consultant and intructor for the Gamaliel Foundation. In mid-1988, he was able to travel to Europe for the first time for three weeks then for fine weeks to Kenya, where for the very first time, he was able to meet many of his Kenyan relatives.

Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988, where he was selected, based on his grades and a writing competition as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. In February 1990, in his secone year, he was elected president of the Law Review, a full-time volunteer position which functions as the editor-in-chief which surprised the LAw Review's staff of eighty editors. His election as the first black president of the Reviewg was widely publicized, followed by ceveral long interviews and profiles.During is summers, Obama returned to Chicago working as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley & Austin in 1989 nd Hopkins & Sutter in 1990. After graduating with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude from HArvard in 1991, he went back to Chicago.

Beginning in 1992, Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, being first classified as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996, and then as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004.

He also, in 1993, joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.

Obama was a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies in 1992, resigning before his wife, Michelle, became the founding executive director of Public Allies Chicago in early 1993. He served from 1993 to 2002 on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund Obama's DCP, and also from 1994 to 2002 on the board of directors of The Joyce Foundation. Obama served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995–2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995–1999. He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from Illinois' 13th District. Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan's payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures in 2001 as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Commitee on Administrative Rules.

Obama was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, and again in 2002. In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush.

In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority. He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations. During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the US Senate.

In mid-2002, Obama began considering a run for the U.S. Senate; he enlisted political strategist David Axelrod that fall and formally announced his candidacy in January 2003. Obama's candidacy was boosted by Axelrod's advertising campaign featuring images of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and an endorsement by the daughter of the late Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator for Illinois. Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004.

In July 2004, Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. After describing his maternal grandfather's experiences as a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the New Deal's FHA and G.I. Bill programs, Obama spoke about changing the U.S. government's economic and social priorities. He questioned the Bush administration's management of the Iraq War and highlighted America's obligations to its soldiers. Drawing examples from U.S. history, he criticized heavily partisan views of the electorate and asked Americans to find unity in diversity, saying, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America." Broadcasts of the speech launched Obama's status as a national political figure and boosted his campaign for U.S. Senate. In August 2004, two months after Ryan's withdrawal and less than three months before Election Day, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan. In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%, the largest victory margin for a statewide race in Illinois history.

Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005.
Obama voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and cosponsored the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act. On June 3, 2008, Senator Obama, along with Senators Thomas R. Carper, Tom Coburn, and John McCain, introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.
Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges. He sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry, and co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program providing one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.

On February 10, 2007 Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The choice of the announcement site was symbolic since it was also where Abraham Lincoln in 1858 delivered his historic "House Divided" speech.

Among the January 2008 DNC-sanctioned state contests, Obama tied with Hillary Clinton for delegates in the New Hampshire primary and won more delegates than Clinton in the Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina elections and caucuses. On Super Tuesday, he emerged with 20 more delegates than Clinton.

In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama's former pastor of twenty years, Jeremiah Wright.

During April, May, and June, Obama won the North Carolina, Oregon, and Montana primaries and remained ahead in the count of pledged delegates, while Clinton won the Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, and South Dakota primaries. During the period, Obama received endorsements from more superdelegates than did Clinton.

On June 19, Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing in the general election since the system was created in 1976, reversing his earlier intention to accept it.

On August 28, Obama delivered a speech in front of 84,000 supporters in Denver and viewed by over 38 million on television. During the speech he accepted his party's nomination and presented details of his policy goals.

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