Election 2008


The Presidential Candidates: Barack Obama

January 16, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Since his unexpected victory in the Iowa caucus, Illinois senator Barack Obama has become a political sensation, beating Senator Clinton to earn the Democratic nomination.

Early Life

Born to a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, Senator Obama was educated in Indonesia, Hawaii, California, and New York, before beginning work as a lawyer in Chicago.

Obama’s early life was marked by transition. He lost touch with his father when he was two years old. Soon after, his mother remarried—this time to an Indonesian student—and Obama moved with his family from Hawaii, where he was born, to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he received his early education. Later, Obama moved back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents during high school, and then attended both Occidental College in California and Columbia University in New York City to earn his undergraduate degree. For a more detailed look at Obama’s biography, visit his official site.

In the Senate

Obama’s voting record has been charted by The Washington Post. For specific voting records and initiatives Obama took in Illinois, visit his official Senate profile from the U.S. Senate site and Gov Track.us, which tracks Congress bills, issues, and votes, and profiles legislators.

Path to the Presidential Race

In 2006, Joe Klein of Time magazine profiled Obama in a cover story, "The Fresh Face." Klein predicted Obama's run for presidency, writing that he "is doing something pretty rare in latter-day American politics: he is respecting [people's] intelligence. He's a liberal, but not a screechy partisan. Indeed, he seems obsessively eager to find common ground with conservatives."
On the issue of foreign policy, both Obama and John McCain focus much of their statements on the Middle East. The BBC outlines the candidates' stances on the major issues in the election. Obama, on par with most American politicians, believes that Hamas is a "terrorist organization." He desires negotiation with leaders like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a path to peace and disarmament, and supports a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

On another focal topic, the economy, Obama has vowed to lower taxes for the lower and middle classes and raise taxes for the richest Americans. He is also against free trade agreements such as NAFTA unless they provide better labor and environmental standards. Obama spoke with The Wall Street Journal in an extensive interview about the role of the federal government in the economy. He expressed his belief in infrastructure investment as a means for economic growth. For more on Obama's economic policies, visit the findingDulcinea feature "Election Issues: Economy."

Speech & Dialogue

Obama's official Web site has collected transcripts of dozens of the senator's speeches, including his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, his remarks in the Senate against the Iraq invasion in 2002, and many more recent addresses.

Profile in Pictures

Reuters captures some moments from the Obama campaign in a photo slideshow.

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