Barack Obama, Democrate Presidential Candidate, Feb 2007(PID:2349303506) Source
posted by Ernest Adams alias eqadams63 on Friday 21st of March 2008 04:47:48 AM
Barack Hussein Obama, II. born August 4, 1961) is the junior United States Senator from Illinois and a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Born to a Kenyan father and an American mother, he spent most of his early life in Honolulu, Hawaii. From ages six to ten, he lived in Jakarta, Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizer, university lecturer, and civil rights lawyer before running for public office and serving in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. After an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for U.S. Senate in 2003. The following year, while still an Illinois state legislator, Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote. As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, he co-sponsored bipartisan legislation for controlling conventional weapons and for promoting greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In the current 110th Congress, he has sponsored legislation on lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for returned U.S. military personnel. Since announcing his presidential campaign in February 2007, Obama has emphasized ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence, and providing universal health care as his top three priorities. He married in 1992 and has two daughters. He has written two bestselling books: a memoir of his youth titled Dreams from My Father, and The Audacity of Hope, a personal commentary on U.S. politics. Obama, known as "Barry" throughout his early years, was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. Obama's parents separated when he was two years old and later divorced. After her divorce, Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Soetoro's home country of Indonesia in 1967, where Obama attended local schools in Jakarta from ages 6 to 10. He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents while attending Punahou School from the fifth grade until his graduation in 1979. Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at Occidental College for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. Obama received his Bachelor of Arts in 1983, then worked at Business International Corporation and New York Public Interest Research Group before moving to Chicago to take a job as a community organizer. As Director of the Developing Communities Project, he worked with low-income residents in Chicago's Roseland community and the Altgeld Gardens public housing development. Obama entered Harvard Law School in 1988 In 1990, The New York Times reported his election as the Harvard Law Review's "first black president in its 104-year history" He completed his J.D. degree magna cum laude in 1991. Obama then returned to Chicago and accepted a job as an associate attorney with Miner, Barnhill & Galland, where he worked from 1993 to 1996, representing community organizers, discrimination claims, and voting rights cases. He was also a lecturer of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1993 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004. State legislature Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996 from the 13th District, which then spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park-Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn. In 2000, he made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by four-term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. He was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998 and 2002 (when the 13th District was redrawn to span Chicago lakefront neighborhoods from the Gold Coast south to South Chicago) In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority in the Illinois Senate. He resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate. As a state legislator, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. Obama also led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped. During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, he won the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, whose president credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. He was criticized by rival pro-choice candidates in the Democratic primary and by his Republican pro-life opponent in the general election for a series of "present" or "no" votes on late-term abortion and parental notification issues. Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, while still serving as a state legislator. 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 said: No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice. Questioning the Bush administration's management of the Iraq War, Obama spoke of an enlisted Marine, Corporal Seamus Ahern from East Moline, Illinois, asking, "Are we serving Seamus as well as he is serving us?" He continued: When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world. Finally, he spoke for national unity: The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into red states and blue states; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and, yes, we've got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. The speech was most Americans' introduction to Obama. Its enthusiastic reception at the convention and widespread coverage by national media gave him instant celebrity status. Obama has credited the inspiration for his convention speech to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermon of the same name, "the Audacity of Hope." Senate campaign In 2003, Obama began his run for the U.S. Senate open seat vacated by Peter Fitzgerald. In early opinion polls leading up to the Democratic primary, Obama trailed multimillionaire businessman Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes.However, Hull's popularity declined following allegations of domestic abuse. .Obama's candidacy was boosted by an advertising campaign featuring images of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and the late U.S. Senator Paul Simon; the support of Simon's daughter; and political endorsements by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Obama received over 52% of the vote in the March 2004 primary, emerging 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival. His opponent in the general election was expected to be Republican primary winner Jack Ryan. However, Ryan withdrew from the race in June 2004, following public disclosure of child custody divorce records containing sexual allegations by Ryan's ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan In August 2004, with less than three months to go before election day, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan. A long-time resident of Maryland, Keyes established legal residency in Illinois with the nomination. Through three televised debates, Obama and Keyes expressed opposing views on stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers, and tax cuts. In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%, the largest electoral victory in Illinois history. Senate career Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005. Although a newcomer to Washington, he recruited a team of established, high-level advisers devoted to broad themes that exceeded the usual requirements of an incoming first-term senator.Obama hired Pete Rouse, a 30-year veteran of national politics and former chief of staff to Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, as his chief of staff, and economist Karen Kornbluh, former deputy chief of staff to Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, as his policy director. His key foreign policy advisers include Samantha Power, author on human rights and genocide, and former Clinton administration officials Anthony Lake and Susan Rice. Obama holds assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relation, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans' Affairs, and he is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus He is a chairman of the Subcommittee on European Affairs. The U.S. Senate Historical Office lists him as the fifth African American Senator in U.S. history, the third to have been popularly elected, and the only African American currently serving in the Senate. 109th Congress Obama took an active role in the Senate's drive for improved border security and immigration reform. In 2005, he co-sponsored the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). He later added three amendments to the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act", which passed the Senate in May 2006, but failed to gain majority support in the U.S. House of Representatives.In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act, authorizing construction of fencing and other security improvements along the United States–Mexico border. President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law in October 2006, calling it "an important step toward immigration reform." Partnering first with Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), and then with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Obama successfully introduced two initiatives bearing his name. "Lugar-Obama" expands the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines.The Lugar-Obama initiative subsequently received $48 million in funding. The "Coburn-Obama Transparency Act" provides for the web site USAspending.gov, managed by the Office of Management and Budget. The site lists all organizations receiving Federal funds from 2007 onward and provides breakdowns by the agency allocating the funds, the dollar amount given, and the purpose of the grant or contract. In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the "Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act," marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor.[ As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In August 2005, he traveled to Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan. The trip focused on strategies to control the world's supply of conventional weapons, biological weapons, and weapons of mass destruction as a first defense against potential terrorist attacks Following meetings with U.S. military in Kuwait and Iraq in January 2006, Obama visited Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. At a meeting with Palestinian students two weeks before Hamas won the legislative election, Obama warned that "the U.S. will never recognize winning Hamas candidates unless the group renounces its fundamental mission to eliminate Israel." He left for his third official trip in August 2006, traveling to South Africa, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Chad. In a nationally televised speech at the University of Nairobi, he spoke forcefully on the influence of ethnic rivalries and corruption in Kenya. The speech touched off a public debate among rival leaders, some formally challenging Obama's remarks as unfair and improper, others defending his positions. 110th Congress In the first month of the newly Democratic-controlled 110th Congress, Obama worked with Russ Feingold (D–WI) to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets by lobbyists to members of Congress and require disclosure of bundled campaign contributions under the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act", which was signed into law in September 2007. He joined Chuck Schumer (D-NY) in sponsoring S. 453, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, including fraudulent flyers and automated phone calls, as witnessed in the 2006 midterm elections. Obama's energy initiatives scored pluses and minuses with environmentalists, who welcomed his sponsorship with John McCain (R-AZ) of a climate change bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds by 2050, but were skeptical of his support for a bill promoting liquefied coal production Obama also introduced the "Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007", a bill to cap troop levels in Iraq, begin phased redeployment, and remove all combat brigades from Iraq before April 2008. Later in 2007, Obama sponsored with Kit Bond (R-MO) an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges, and calling for a review by the Government Accountability Office following reports that the procedure had been used inappropriately to reduce government costs.[He sponsored the "Iran Sanctions Enabling Act" supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry, and joined Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in introducing legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism. A provision from the Obama-Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries. After passing both houses of Congress with bipartisan majorities, SCHIP was vetoed by President Bush in early October 2007, a move Obama said "shows a callousness of priorities that is offensive to the ideals we hold as Americans." Presidential campaign In February 2007, standing before the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, Obama announced his candidacy for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
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