Barack Hussein Obama
Barack Hussein Obama (b. 4 August 1961) is the junior Senator from Illinois, elected to the United States Senate as a Democrat in 2004. He is currently a high profile candidate for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States in the 2008 election. He is, at present, the only African American serving in the United States Senate.
Early Life and Education
Senator Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham in 1961. In 1967 he moved to Jakarta, Indonesia with his mother and new stepfather. He attended an Indonesian Public School followed by a Catholic school until he returned with his mother to Hawaii. There he attended the Punahou School, a private preparatory school until 1979, the year of his graduation.
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 as a community organizer in New York City and Chicago, Illinois, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School. He was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude with his J.D. in 1992.
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.
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 rose to national prominence following his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He defeated his opponent, Alan Keyes, and was elected to the 109th Congress.
His voting record places him as the tenth-most Liberal member of the U. S. Senate. His composite liberal rating was 86 percent, just seven points behind Ted Kennedy. Among fellow Senate Democrats, he was further left than liberals like John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Charles Schumer, Russ Feingold, Carl Levin, Joseph Biden and Harry Reid. Senator Obama is a Democratic front-runner for the 2008 United States presidential election.
In late 2006, Obama's second book authored, The Audacity of Hope, was published. The book contains more of Senator Obama's personal story including the roles of both family and politics. Audacity has spent 23 weeks on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Sellers List. 
Senator Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States on Saturday, 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." 
In early April 2007, Obama's campaign announced his first quarter fund raising figures. The campaign generated over $25 million dollars from over 100,000 users. $23.5 million of that money will be available for the Democratic Primary. 
In April 2007 staff writers of The Boston Globe reported the criticisms of several prominent Black academics and social leaders regarding Obama's failure to speak out regarding acclaimed radio personality Don Imus who made racially insensitive on air remarks. Obama did not comment on the Imus situation until well after prominent civil right's leaders Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson had called Imus to account and after Imus was suspended by MSNBC and CBS Radio. Obama's comment on the situation on April 10 was, "The comments of Don Imus were divisive, hurtful, and offensive to Americans of all backgrounds."
The incident serves to further illustrate Obama's disconnection from the civil rights era "leadership" due to both his age and nontraditional background. Failing to address the Imus issue was described by Melissa Harris Lacewell, a professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University, as a "missed opportunity" to prove himself as a force for civil rights.
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- University of Chicago Law School Faculty Listing
- Official Senate Website
- Barack Obama Biography from Biography.com
- New York Times Topics, Barack Obama
- New York Times Best Sellers Non Fiction
- "Obama declares he's running for president" 11 February 2007, www.CNN.com
- 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
- Obama's silence on Imus alarms some blacks, Rick Klein and Joseph Williams, The Boston Globe, April 11, 2007.