Perhaps the name Barack Obama rings a bell. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii to a Kenyan father and white mother he has changed the face of politics. Obama graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African-American elected editor of the Harvard Law Review. In 1996, he was elected to the Illinois state Senate, where he earned the reputation of a bipartisan Democrat who was strongly liberal on social and economic issues, backing gay rights, abortion rights, gun control, universal health care and tax breaks for the poor.
Obama’s quick rise to political celebrity began with his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and later his election as a freshman Senator of Illinois the same year. He has written two best-selling autobiographies, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream and Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.
Though Obama insisted during the 2004 campaign and through his first year in the Senate that he had no intention of running for president, by late 2006 his public statements began to leave open that possibility.
Senator Barack Obama is expected to throw his hat in the ring. Political speculators are confident that Obama has taken the steps to make an official bid for President of the United States. If he succeeds he would be the first African American to occupy the White House. The freshman Senator of Illinois spoke of the precarious turn that America has taken in the past six years and wishes to introduce his new kind of politics as a solution to the country’s current state.
Obama is a political tadpole compared to other presidential hopeful but he is not letting this fact stop him. He has managed to turn his political inexperience into an welcoming breathe of fresh air to voters seeking a change. Obama states, “Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can’t tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that’s what we have to change first.”
Though Obama has filed paperwork that allows him to begin a presidential exploratory committee, raise money, and put together a campaign he is expect to officially announce his position as a presidential candidate. This announcement is expected to be delivered on February 10th in Springfield, Illinois.
In a brief interview on Capitol Hill, Obama said the reaction has been positive and added, “we wouldn’t have gone forward this far if it hadn’t been this positive.” “I certainly didn’t expect to find myself in this position a year ago,” said Obama, who added that as he talked to Americans about a possible presidential campaign, “I’ve been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.”
He said people are struggling financially, dependence on foreign oil threatens the environment and national security and “we’re still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged.”
Obama has uncommon political talents, adoring crowds flocked to see him, even the most studious voters in New Hampshire came to hear him during a visit last month. His star has risen on the force of his personality and message of hope. Celebrities like talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, and actors Matt Damon and Edward Norton personally support him.
Other Democrats who have announced a campaign or exploratory committee are 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd and Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich. Also Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts, Joe Biden of Delaware, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and front-runner Senator Hillary Clinton are also getting into the presidential race.
Obama’s star has burned bright over the last few years but his decision to move into the presidential arena was relatively subtle after months of hype. He said he will discuss a presidential campaign with people around the country before his Feb. 10 event, and he has already begun to make contacts with key activists and supporters. More information is available at www.runobama.com