Barack Hussein Obama

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Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (b. Honolulu, August 4, 1961) is the 2008 Democratic presidential primary nominee, and the first African-American to be the nominee for the Democratic Party.[1] Obama is a freshman Democratic Senator from Illinois, first elected to statewide office in 2004.
Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama on the campaign trail with Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton during the National Anthem.

Obama falsely claimed that he was a constitutional law professor when in actuality he only held the title of "Senior Lecturer." [2][3]

Obama falsely claimed that he "had an uncle who was one of the — who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family was that when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn't leave the house for six months."[4] In fact, the Soviet army liberated Auschwitz. Embarrassed, the Obama campaign later admitted that Obama was wrong, and claimed he should have said that Obama's great-uncle helped liberate a subcamp of Buchenwald.[5]

Obama states that he consistently opposed the Iraq War since 2002, a claim and position that former President Bill Clinton criticized as "the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen."[6]

Positions and Qualifications

Quote from Obama on Sex Education

Obama is pro-abortion. Obama said "the first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act".[7] He supports comprehensive sex education, including information about contraception. He quipped that he would not want his daughters "punished with a baby" or an STD for not using appropriate protection.

Obama has no military or executive experience and little foreign policy experience.[8] Yet he is the favorite of the leftist attack site "MoveOn.org" for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2008 election,[9] campaigning to the left of Hillary Clinton.[10]

He has no clear personal achievement that cannot be explained as the likely result of affirmative action.[Citation Needed] Some examples border on the absurd: Obama has no background in physics, yet it is claimed that "Obama analyzed and integrated Einstein's theory of relativity, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, as well as the concept of curved space as an alternative to gravity, for a Law Review article that Tribe, for whom Obama worked as a research assistant, wrote titled, 'The Curvature of Constitutional Space'." [11] Obama's "research" for Constitutional Law Professor Tribe on this article also raises issues about preferences, as Obama had not yet even completed any law school courses[12] on the Constitution.[13]

Throughout his career, Obama repeatedly ducked controversial stands in an apparent attempt to make it easier to be elected to higher office. For example, as a state senator in Illinois, he voted "present" rather than "aye" or "nay" nearly an astounding 130 times.[14] During that same period, he was planning to run for the House of Representatives, which was unsuccessful, and then for U.S. Senate, which was successful after his opponent Jack Ryan, a millionaire school teacher, was smeared with a court-ordered disclosure of confidential divorce records that both he and his ex-wife wanted to remain sealed. A newspaper that favored Obama took the unusual step of suing to force the confidential divorce information to become public, and a California judge opened the records at a pivotal time in the campaign.[Citation Needed]

Barack Obama is often praised for his speeches, except when he is not able to read them from a teleprompter. "Shorn of his Teleprompter, we saw a different Obama. His delivery was halting and unsure. ... The prepared text for his remarks, as released on his website, sounded a lot like a typical Obama speech. ... [But with] no Teleprompter signaling the prepared text, Obama failed to deliver the speech in his characteristically flawless fashion."[15] The New York Times noted that "Mr. Obama excels at inspirational speeches read from a teleprompter before television cameras, critics have noted, but many of his other speeches on the campaign trail have failed to electrify."[16] When Obama ridiculed Hillary Clinton for being like Annie Oakley, it was apparent that he was not writing his own speeches.[17]

Early life and education

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Sr., and Ann Dunham in 1961. In 1967, he moved with his mother and new stepfather to Jakarta, Indonesia. He attended a Catholic elementary school, followed by an Indonesian public school, until he returned with his mother to Hawaii. There he attended the Punahou School, the leading private preparatory school in Hawaii, until he graduated in 1979.

Obama continued his education at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, before graduating with his Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in New York, New York. After working as a community organizer in New York City and Chicago, Illinois, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School. He became a member of the liberal Harvard Law Review in 1989, which used racial quotas for membership, and was then elected by popular vote as its first African American president in 1990. He graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. in 1991 and chose not to pursue a federal clerkship, which is the typical post-graduate position for top law students.

He was "Senior Lecturer in the Law" -- not a professor-level position -- at the University of Chicago Law School as of 2004,[18] and is no longer active at the school.[19]

Legal career

Following law school, Obama continued his work as a community organizer in Chicago as Director of Illinois Project Vote. In 1993 he was hired as an associate at the Chicago law firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C., and began lecturing in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He remains on the faculty on leave of absence through today. During this time he wrote his first book, Dreams from My Father, detailing his background, his youth, and his education. Dreams was published in 1995.

Senate career

Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate for the first time in 1996 and served there for the next eight years. Following a failed campaign for the House of Representatives, Obama ran for the open Senate seat from Illinois in 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He won a seat in the U.S. Senate after liberals obtained the release of confidential and personally embarrassing divorce records of his opponent, Jack Ryan, forcing him to resign from the race and be replaced by an out-of-state candidate, Alan Keyes.

His 2007 voting record in the U.S. Senate places him as its most liberal member. Among fellow Senate Democrats, he was further left than liberals like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Russ Feingold, Carl Levin, Joseph Biden and Harry Reid.[20] He has grown steadily more liberal since arriving at the Senate: the same analysis assessed him as 10th most liberal in 2006[21] and 16th most liberal in 2005.[22]

In late 2006, Obama's second book, The Audacity of Hope, was published. Its title was supplied by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., a minister who has stated that "racism is how this country was founded and how this country was run .... We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God."[23] The book contains more of Senator Obama's personal story including the roles of both family and politics. Audacity spent 30 weeks on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers list.[24]

Senator Obama is the chairman of an important subcommittee that has oversight of our efforts in Afghanistan. He has not held one hearing on Afghanistan even though American forces are risking their lives in a theatre of war. Since joining Foreign Relations, Obama has missed three meetings on a "new strategy" in Afghanistan, a country he has never visited.[25] As of June 2008, Barack Obama has been campaigning for the Democrat Presidency for 16 months.


Bills co-sponsored

Obama's principal legislation was S. 2433, which was an attempt to force the U.S. to increase its foreign aid by hundreds of billions of dollars under the guide of reducing global poverty, which was subsequently blocked by conservatives.[26]

Obama did support and co-sponsor a bill championed by Tom Coburn and known as the Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Sept. 9, 2006. This law created a website that will list the federal government's grants and contracts.[27]

Between Jan 13, 2007 and March 13, 2008, Sen. Obama has sponsored 120 mostly liberal resolutions and bills in the Senate.[28] His supporters cite the following less liberal examples, but this list is not representative:

  • S.117 : A bill to amend titles 10 and 38, United States Code, to improve benefits and services for members of the Armed Forces, veterans of the Global War on Terrorism, and other veterans, to require reports on the effects of the Global War on Terrorism, and for other purposes.
  • S.133 : A bill to promote the national security and stability of the economy of the United States by reducing the dependence of the United States on oil through the use of alternative fuels and new technology, and for other purposes.
  • S.453 : A bill to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections.
  • S.713 : A bill to ensure dignity in care for members of the Armed Forces recovering from injuries.

Work in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

In February 2008, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Obama's proposal on a new strategy to reduce poverty throughout the world.

Obama worked with Sen. Lugar writing legislation aimed at improving conventional and nuclear non-proliferation efforts. This legislation was signed by President Bush in January 2008.

In June 2007 the Senate passed his resolution condemning violence by the Zimbabwe government. It also passed legislation co-sponsored by Obama that financed a Special Court for Sierra Leone to prosecute former Liberian President Charles Taylor. [29]

Presidential campaign

Senator Barack Obama

Senator Obama began his anti-war candidacy for President of the United States on February 10, 2007, in Springfield, Illinois. His announcement speech largely avoided specific campaign issues and focused on his general political message of hope for the future. It also attempted to strongly invoke the memory of Abraham Lincoln and his "House Divided" speech.[30]

Obama's campaign has been financed largely by leftist donors opposed to the war and to the American military in general, although he has also been funded by a surprising 'grassroots' campaign of many smaller donations. Obama has encouraged anti- war donors by refusing to wear the customary flag on his lapel during appearances (asserting that he would prefer his patriotism to be represented through his actions rather than an arbitrary symbol) and by other less-than-patriotic gestures and symbols[Citation Needed], such as declining to put his hand over his heart during a patriotic recitation.[Citation Needed]In an appearance on May 16 where he addressed President Bush's statements that some politicians would prefer appeasing terrorists through negotiations, Senator Obama once again wore the flag pin as he did following 9-11.[Citation Needed]

By early April 2007, his campaign generated over $25 million dollars from over 100,000 contributors. $23.5 million of that money will be available for the Democratic Primary.[31] After the first Democratic presidential debate in Columbia, South Carolina, Obama's image as an "articulate" spokesman came into question after his failure to state right away that he would retaliate in case of further terrorist strikes against the United States.[32][33]

During a fund raising event in Virginia in May 2007 Obama told donors,

This week there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died. An entire town destroyed.[34]

Obama evidently was misinformed, whereas in reality the tornado which touched down in Kansas cost the lives of nine people in the town of Greensburg, and twelve overall in Kansas.

By August it appeared Obama was running to be left off the ticket completely rather than the much ballyhooed Hillary/Obama ticket the mainstream media was pushing. After a series of ill-advised foreign policy statements, Obama was openly criticized as a lightweight even by liberals, in much the same vein as John Edwards and Dan Quayle had been depicted. First, Obama said he would have face to face meetings with two of Florida's most fearful enemies, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. Florida is a key state to any presidential ambitions. Then Obama advised he would be willing to invade the sovereign territory of a U.S. ally without prior consultation. Finally, Obama broke the cardinal rule of declaring he would not use nuclear weapons, removing the element of bluff U.S. Presidents had vitally depended upon throughout the Cold War era. The incidents all added up to a picture of a candidate ill-prepared and ill-advised, lacking in a basic understanding of the office of the presidency, and failing to surround himself with appointees able to make up for his deficiencies. However, Obama won the Iowa Democratic caucuses, pushing Hillary Clinton into third place, which gave him a serious chance of becoming the Democratic nominee.

On June 3rd, Barack Obama had received enough pledged delegates and the endorsement of superdelegates to be called the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party by the Democratic National Committee. The nomination became official four days later when Senator Hillary Clinton conceded.

On June 5th, Obama is speaking at Briston, Virginia- Heathcare Town Hall forum regarding Political Action Committees and his campaign. "Well, we’re here today because we know that if we’re going to make real progress, this time must be different. Throughout my career, in Illinois and the United States senate, I’ve worked to reduce the power of the special interests by leading the fight for ethics reform. I’ve sent a strong signal in this campaign by refusing the contributions of registered federal lobbyists and PACs. And today, I’m announcing that going forward, the Democratic National Committee will uphold the same standard and won’t take another dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. They do not fund my campaign. They will not fund our party. And they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I’m President of the United States."

On June 6th, an AP article [35] presents the rules for lobbyist donations to the DNC and for the Presidential nominee. Obama does accept money from lobbyists who do not do business with the federal government and he also accepts money from spouses and family members of lobbyists. And the DNC ban is also not retroactive, which means the DNC will keep lobbyist and PAC contributions it received earlier in the election cycle. Retroactive period being the date Barack Obama started his campaign, February 10, 2007. The DNC possibly the day after the November 2006 Congressional elections until June 5th, 2008. In addition, Barack Obama's ban does not apply to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee nor to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Political views

Obama's political views have been subjected to controversy even before he put himself forward as a presidential candidate. Former House majority leader Tom DeLay has described Obama's record in the Illinois Senate as that of a “Marxist leftist".[36] In May 2007, Obama (and Sen. Hillary Clinton) voted against funding the Iraq War for the first time.[37][38]

Obama's views on gun control is focused on an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal:[39]

As a state senate candidate in 1996, Mr. Obama endorsed a complete ban on all handguns in a questionnaire. The Obama campaign has claimed he "never saw or approved the questionnaire," and that an aide filled it out incorrectly. But a few weeks ago, Politico.com found an amended version of the questionnaire. It included material added in Mr. Obama's handwriting.

Obama has said, "Doing the Lord's work is a thread that runs through our politics since the very beginning," and "it puts the lie to the notion that separation of church and state in America means somehow that faith should have no role in public life."[40]

Nonetheless, he asserted that elements of sex education should be taught in kindergarten.[41]

Obama spoke at the May 1, 2006, illegal immigration march in Chicago.[42]

We are hungry for change! S.C. January 26, 2008.

Foreign policy experience

In Russia and the former Soviet republics, he met with representatives of the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute to discuss democracy in the former Soviet republics. He also met with Russian military officials and visited numerous nuclear/biological weapons destruction sites in Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN). On the same tour, he visited London, UK, and met with Tony Blair, sitting UK Prime Minister.[12]

Obama visited South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Chad; he discussed his tour of Robben Island prison, met with U.S. troops, and visited refugee camps of the people fleeing Darfur and addressed Africa's growing AIDS epidemic. [43]

During a ten day tour of the Middle East, he talked with government leaders in Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. [44]

Religious affiliations

Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright.

Daniel Pipes concludes that Obama was raised a Muslim, [45] yet in The Audacity of Hope Obama is described as growing up in a non-religious environment. When he was a child in Indonesia, he attended a local Muslim school for two years and a local Catholic school for two years, according to his own books.[46] His father was a non-practicing Muslim.

Obama attended a Muslim school but CNN states that it was not a madrassa.[47]

Obama and his his wife (reared a Baptist) have been active members since 1988 at the Trinity United Church of Christ[48] in Chicago. Obama describes his conversion in The Audacity of Hope. The title of this book is taken from one of Pastor Wright's sermons. In April 2008, to advance his presidential campaign, Obama disavowed Pastor Wright's views.

Books

  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.
  • The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.
  • Barack Obama in His Own Words. (B. Obama and Lisa Rogak)

Published criticism

On April 11, 2007, staff writers of The Boston Globe reported the criticisms of several black commentators regarding Obama's apparent hesitation to join the race to condemn acclaimed radio personality Don Imus,[49] who made an allegedly racially insensitive remark[50] on the air during the April 4 broadcast. Obama did not comment on Imus's remarks until well after prominent civil rights leaders Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson had called Imus to account and after Imus was suspended by MSNBC and CBS Radio. Obama later weighed in on April 10 by saying, "The comments of Don Imus were divisive, hurtful, and offensive to Americans of all backgrounds."

The Globe reported that Obama's perceived delay in addressing Don Imus's remarks was described by Melissa Harris Lacewell, a professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, as "miss[ing] an opportunity to prove himself to blacks and white liberals who would have wanted Obama take the lead in denouncing Imus."[51][52]

In June 2007 the Chicago Sun-Times reported Obama had actually received nearly three times more campaign cash from indicted slum landlord Tony Rezko[53] and his associates than Obama has publicly acknowledged.[54]

See also

Further reading

Sources

References

  1. Democratic Party website
  2. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/03/30/politics/p132303D74.DTL&type=politics
  3. http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132x4238307
  4. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,359061,00.html
  5. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/05/27/obamas_uncle_and_the_liberatio.html#more Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton later claimed that Obama's great-uncle "served in the 89th Infantry Division that Liberated Ohrdruf, a Subcamp of Buchenwald, the First Camp Liberated by Americans, on April 4, 1945." Given that Obama misrepresented what happened, one can also wonder about his story that his relative went into the attic and did not leave his house for six months afterwards.
  6. http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1131516320080111
  7. [1]
  8. "Fresh doubts over Barack Obama's foreign policy credentials were expressed on both sides of the Atlantic last night, after it emerged that he had made only one brief official visit to London – and none elsewhere in Western Europe or Latin America. ... Mr. Obama had failed to convene a single policy meeting of the Senate European subcommittee, of which he is chairman."[2]
  9. MoveOn.org reportedly favored Obama by 70-30% over Clinton. [3]
  10. For example, Obama promised not to use nuclear weapons against terrorists, a promise Hillary Clinton refused to make. [4]
  11. http://cbs2chicago.com/politics/barack.obama.harvard.2.334825.html
  12. Obama did not start his second year of law school until September 1989, the earliest he could have taken constitutional law, yet this article must have been written, submitted and accepted prior to that time to be published in the November 1989 issue of the Law Review.
  13. The liberal Professor Tribe saw the best law students for several decades, yet insisted that Obama was the "best student I ever had" and the "most exciting research assistant." [5]
  14. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/us/politics/20obama.html
  15. http://www.weeklystandard.com/content/public/articles/000/000/014/728ofzey.asp
  16. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/fashion/20speechwriter.html?_r=2&ex=1358485200&en=bb179297e5f61acb&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
  17. "Some Obama adviser probably earned his or her dollars for that cut," the USA Today wrote. [6]
  18. http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/04/041103.obama.shtml
  19. http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/obama
  20. [7]
  21. [8]
  22. [9]
  23. http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/03/14/obama_condemns_pastors_remarks.html
  24. New York Times Best Sellers Non Fiction
  25. [http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/obama-absent-at-afghanistan-hearings-2008-03-01.html
  26. http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200802/POL20080225a.html
  27. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060926.html
  28. http://thomas.loc.gov/
  29. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/02/26/obamas_senate_foreign_relations_work/
  30. "Obama declares he's running for president" 11 February 2007, www.CNN.com
  31. Obama Shows His Strength in a Fund-Raising Feat on Par With Clinton, 4 April 2007, Jeff Zeleny and Patrick Healy, The New York Times
  32. Clinton Campaign Tries to Keep Heat on Obama Over Debate Response, Dan Balz, Washington Post April 28, 2007.
  33. Chicago Sun-Times, 'I was a little nervous' at debate', Lynn Sweet, April 29, 2007,
  34. Transcript: 'Special Report with Brit Hume,' May 9, 2007, retrieved from FOX News, 06/13/07.
  35. Transcript: 'Democratic Party returns lobbyist, PAC money ,' June 6, 2008
  36. Rock Star Obama Whines About His Ears, RushLimbaugh.com, December 13 2006
  37. HR 2206 - Emergency Appropriations, Kathy Gill, Your Guide to U.S. Politics: Current Events. May 26 2007.
  38. Votes - H.R. 2206: Iraq Supplemental, May 28, 2007. Retrieved from Deeper Inside the Mountain, June 4, 2007.
  39. David Kopel, "The Democrats and Gun Control," Wall St.J., Page A19, April 17, 2008 [10]
  40. Obama says religion has place in politics, By Todd Dorman, Sioux City Journal, June 18, 2007.
  41. "Barack Obama reaffirmed to Planned Parenthood this week that he believes elements of sex education should begin in kindergarten." (ABC News) July 20, 2007
  42. Immigration marches
  43. http://obama.senate.gov/podcast/060906-090606_africa_t/
  44. http://obama.senate.gov/news/060113-obama_wraps_up/
  45. In his autobiography, Dreams of My Father, Obama relates how he got into trouble for making faces during Koranic studies, thereby revealing he was a Muslim, for Indonesian students in his day attended religious classes according to their faith.
  46. "Obama has noted in his two books, 'Dreams From My Father' and 'The Audacity of Hope,' that he spent two years in a Muslim school and another two years in a Catholic school while living in Indonesia from age 6 to 10." [11]
  47. http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/22/obama.madrassa/
  48. http://www.tucc.org/about.htm
  49. Obama's silence on Imus alarms some blacks, Rick Klein and Joseph Williams, The Boston Globe, April 11, 2007.
  50. over Imus puts heat on other broadcasters, Daniel Trotta, Reuters, 2007-04-12.
  51. Obama's silence on Imus alarms some blacks, Rick Klein and Joseph Williams, The Boston Globe, April 11, 2007.
  52. Obama, Race, and The Election, Real Clear Politics.com
  53. Barack Obama and his slumlord patron, Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, April 23, 2007.
  54. Rezko cash triple what Obama says, Chris Fusco and Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, June 18, 2007.