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Presidency 2008


dennis kucinich pollsdennis kucinich pollshillary clinton pollsjohn edwards pollsbarack obama polls

ron paul pollsrudy giuliani pollsjohn mccain pollsmitt romney pollsfred thompson pollsmike huckabee polls

For the first time since 1928, both major parties will have open contests for the Presidential nomination without a sitting President or Vice President in the running. Politics1 presents a "first look" at those people being mentioned as possible, likely, speculative, or draft candidates for President in 2008.

United States presidential election, 2004

‹ 2000 Flag of the United States 2008 ›


Senator Kerry at a primary rally in St. Louis, MO at the St. Louis Community College - Forest Park
Senator Kerry at a primary rally in St. Louis, MO at the St. Louis Community College - Forest Park

2 November 2004

Nominee George W. Bush John Kerry
Party Republican Democratic
Home state Texas Massachusetts
Running mate Richard B. Cheney John Edwards
Electoral vote 286 251
States carried 31 19+DC
Popular vote 62,040,610 59,028,111
Percentage 50.7% 48.3%

The United States presidential election of 2004 was held on Tuesday,November 22004. It was the 55th consecutive quadrennial election for the presidentand vice president of the United StatesRepublican candidate George Walker Bush, the President of the United States, defeated Democratic candidate John Kerry, the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts. This marked the first time in United States election history where the sitting president was re-elected after losing the popular vote (but winning the presidency) in the previous election This was done in strong fashion, too. Bush not only finished first in the popular vote, but also became the first person since his father in 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote. It was also a very active election. In 2004, Bush received more popular votes than any presidential candidate in history, and Kerry finished with the second most ever for a candidate in history. Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

As in the presidential election of 2000voting controversies and concerns of irregularities emerged during and after the vote. The winner was not determined until the following day, when Kerry decided not to dispute Bush's win in the state of Ohio. The state held enough electoral votes to determine the winner of the presidency. Both Kerry and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have stated their opinion that voting in Ohio did not proceed fairly, and that had it done so, the Democratic ticket might have won that state and therefore the election.[1]

Bush received about 51 percent of the votes cast (62 million votes), making him the first presidential candidate to win a majority of the popular vote since his fatherGeorge H. W. Bush in the presidential election of 1988. The 62 million votes cast for Bush were the most individual votes cast for anyone in history, though John Kerry's 59 million votes ranked second in that category as well.

In the Electoral College George W. Bush received 286 Electoral Votes, John Kerryreceived 251 Electoral Votes, and John Edwards received 1 Electoral Vote (see “Faithless elector” in Minnesota section of this article).



Presidential election results map. Red denotes states won by Bush/Cheney (31), Bluedenotes those won by Kerry/Edwards (19+DC). Light blue denotes the faithless elector's vote counted for John Edwards. Each number represents the electoral votes a state gave to one candidate.


Incumbent
George W. Bush
Republican


Successor
George W. Bush
Republican

The United States presidential election of 2004 was held on Tuesday,November 22004. It was the 55th consecutive quadrennial election for the presidentand vice president of the United StatesRepublican candidate George Walker Bush, the President of the United States, defeated Democratic candidate John Kerry, the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts. This marked the first time in United States election history where the sitting president was re-elected after losing the popular vote (but winning the presidency) in the previous election This was done in strong fashion, too. Bush not only finished first in the popular vote, but also became the first person since his father in 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote. It was also a very active election. In 2004, Bush received more popular votes than any presidential candidate in history, and Kerry finished with the second most ever for a candidate in history. Foreign policy was the dominant theme throughout the election campaign, particularly Bush's conduct of the War on Terrorism and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

As in the presidential election of 2000voting controversies and concerns of irregularities emerged during and after the vote. The winner was not determined until the following day, when Kerry decided not to dispute Bush's win in the state of Ohio. The state held enough electoral votes to determine the winner of the presidency. Both Kerry and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have stated their opinion that voting in Ohio did not proceed fairly, and that had it done so, the Democratic ticket might have won that state and therefore the election.[1]

Bush received about 51 percent of the votes cast (62 million votes), making him the first presidential candidate to win a majority of the popular vote since his fatherGeorge H. W. Bush in the presidential election of 1988. The 62 million votes cast for Bush were the most individual votes cast for anyone in history, though John Kerry's 59 million votes ranked second in that category as well.

In the Electoral College George W. Bush received 286 Electoral Votes, John Kerryreceived 251 Electoral Votes, and John Edwards received 1 Electoral Vote (see “Faithless elector” in Minnesota section of this article).

Contents

[hide]
Bush speaking at campaign rally in St. Petersburg, Florida, October 19, 2004
Bush speaking at campaign rally in St. Petersburg, Florida, October 19, 2004

Candidates gallery


Background


George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000 after the Supreme Court settled issues over ballot re-counts and standards in a contest where Al Gore, the Democratic candidate alleged voting irregularities in Florida. The votes were recounted in certain Democratic counties, first by machine and then manually, with George W. Bush leading narrowly after each recount. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Florida Supreme Court's 4-3 reversal of a lower court ruling in favor of the Republican candidate's arguments, ordering the state to stop further selective recounts.

Just eight months into his presidency, the terrorist attacks of September 112001 suddenly transformed Bush into a "wartime president." Bush's approval ratings surged to near 90%. Within a month, the forces of a coalition led by the United States invaded Afghanistan, which had been sheltering Osama bin Laden, suspected mastermind of the September 11attacks. By December, the Taliban had been removed as rulers of Kabul, although a long and ongoing occupation would follow.

The Bush administration then turned its attention to Iraq. The administration argued that the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq had become urgent. The stated premise was that Saddam's regime had tried to acquire nuclear material and had not properly accounted for biological and chemical material it was known to possess, potential weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in violation of U.N. sanctions. This interpretation has been hotly debated since its proposal, and its basis in U.S. military intelligence has since been compromised with the failure of the U.S. to find the aforementioned WMDs in Iraq. This situation escalated to the point that the United States assembled a group of about forty nations, including the United KingdomSpainItaly, and Poland, which President Bush called the “coalition of the willing”, to invade Iraq.

The coalition invaded Iraq on March 202003. The invasion succeeded swiftly, with the collapse of the Iraq government and the military of Iraq in about three weeks. The oil infrastructure of Iraq was rapidly secured with limited damage in that time. On May 1George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, where he gave a speech announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq war. Bush's approval rating in the month of May rode at 66%, according to a CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll.[2]


However, Bush's high approval ratings did not last. First, while the war itself was popular, the post-war occupation lost support as months passed and casualty figures increased, with no decrease in violence nor progress toward stability in Iraq. Second, as investigators combed through the country, they failed to find the predicted WMD stockpiles, which led to debate over the rationale for the war. Third, with the war over and 9-11 attacks two years past, domestic concerns began to rise to the forefront, an issue that usually favored the Democrats, as fading national security matters were considered to benefit the Republicans. [1] [2]

Nominations


Republican nomination

Bush's popularity as a wartime president helped consolidate his base, and ward off any serious challenge to the nomination. On March 102004, Bush officially clinched the number of delegates needed to be nominated at the2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. Bush accepted the nomination on September 22004, and selected Vice President Dick Cheney as his running mate. (In New York, the ticket was also on the ballot as candidates of the Conservative Party of New York State.) During the convention and throughout the campaign, Bush focused on two themes: defending America against terrorism and building an "ownership society." The "ownership society" included allowing people to invest some of theirSocial Security in the stock market, increasing home and stock ownership, and encouraging more people to buy their own health insurance.

Democratic nomination

Democratic candidates


By summer of 2003, Dean had become the apparent frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, performing strongly in most polls and leading the pack in fundraising. Dean's strength as a fundraiser was attributed mainly to his embrace of the Internet for campaigning. The majority of his donations came from individual DEANO supporters, who came to be known as Deanites, or, more commonly, Deaniacs. Generally regarded as a pragmatic centrist during his time as governor, Dean emerged during his presidential campaign as a left-wing populist, denouncing the policies of the Bush administration (especially the 2003 invasion of Iraq) as well as fellow Democrats, who, in his view, failed to strongly oppose them. Senator Lieberman, a liberal on domestic issues but a hawk on the War on Terror, failed to gain traction with liberal Democratic primary voters.

In September 2003, retired four-star general Wesley Clark announced his intention to run in the presidential primary election for the Democratic Party nomination. His campaign focused on themes of leadership and patriotism; early campaign ads relied heavily on biography. His late start left him with relatively few detailed policy proposals. This weakness was apparent in his first few debates, although he soon presented a range of position papers, including a major tax-relief plan. Nevertheless, many Democrats did not flock to his campaign.

By the January 2004 Iowa caucuses, the field had dwindled down to nine candidates, as Bob Graham dropped out of the race and Howard Dean was a strong front-runner. However, the Iowa caucuses yielded unexpectedly strong results for Democratic candidates John Kerry, who earned 38% of the state's delegates and John Edwards, who took 32%. Former front-runner Howard Dean slipped to 18% and third place, and Richard Gephardtfinished fourth (11%). What hurt Dean even more than his poor performance was a speech he gave at a post-caucus rally;[dubious ]at the end of the speech—which has become known as the "I have a scream" speech or the "Dean scream"—Dean frantically yelled out the names of states and culminated with a yelp. On January 27 Kerry triumphed again, earning first place in the New Hampshire primary. Clark took third place in New Hampshire, behind New Englanders Kerry and Dean.

The following week, John Edwards won the South Carolina primary and finished a strong second in Oklahoma. After Howard Dean's withdrawal from the contest, Edwards became the only major challenger to Kerry for the Democratic nomination. However, Kerry continued to dominate, taking in a string of wins in MichiganWashingtonMaineTennesseeWashington, D.C.NevadaWisconsinUtahHawaii, and Idaho. Many other candidates dropped out during this time, leaving only Sharpton, Kucinich, and Edwards in the running against Kerry.

In March's Super Tuesday, Kerry won decisive victories in the California,ConnecticutGeorgiaMarylandMassachusettsNew YorkOhio, and Rhode Island primaries and the Minnesota caucuses. Dean, despite having withdrawn from the race two weeks earlier, won his home state of Vermont. Edwards finished only slightly behind Kerry in Georgia, but, failing to win a single state other than South Carolina, chose to withdraw from the presidential race.

On July 6, John Kerry selected John Edwards as his running mate, shortly before the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, held later that month. Days before Kerry announced Edwards as his running mate, Kerry gave a short list of three candidates: Sen John Edwards, Rep Dick Gephardt, and Gov Tom Vilsack. Heading into the convention, the Kerry/Edwards ticket unveiled their new slogan--a promise to make America "stronger at home and more respected in the world." Kerry made his Vietnam War experience the prominent theme of the convention. In accepting the nomination, he began his speech with, "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty." He later delivered what may have been the speech's most memorable line when he said, "the future doesn't belong to fear, it belongs to freedom," a quote that later appeared in a Kerry/Edwards television advertisement.

Other nominations

See also: List of candidates in the United States presidential election, 2004

There were five other pairs of candidates who were on the ballot in states with enough electoral votes to have a theoretical chance of winning a majority in the Electoral College.


General election: campaign


Campaign issues


President Bush focused his campaign on national security, presenting himself as a decisive leader and contrasted Kerry as a "flip-flopper." Bush's point was that Americans could trust him to be tough on terrorism while Kerry would be "uncertain in the face of danger." Bush also sought to portray Kerry as a "Massachusetts liberal" who was out of touch with mainstream Americans. One of Kerry's slogans was "Stronger at home, respected in the world." This advanced the suggestion that Kerry would pay more attention to domestic concerns; it also encapsulated Kerry's contention that Bush had alienated American allies by his foreign policy.

Exit polls revealed Americans who voted for President Bush cited the issues of terrorism and moral values [3] as the most important factors in their decision. Kerry supporters cited the war in Iraq, economic issues like jobs and health care.

Over the course of Bush's first term in office, his extremely high approval ratings immediately following the September 112001 terrorist attacks steadily dwindled, peaking only during combat operations in Iraq in the Spring of 2003, and again following the capture of Saddam Hussein in December the same year.[4] Kerry supporters attempted to capitalize on the dwindling popularity to rally anti-war sentiment.

During August and September of 2004, there was an intense focus on events that occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Bush was accused of failing to fulfill his required service in the Texas Air National Guard.[5]However, the focus quickly shifted to the conduct of CBS News after they aired a segment on 60 Minutes Wednesday introducing what became known as the Killian documents.[6] Serious doubts about the documents' authenticity quickly emerged,[7] leading CBS to appoint a review panel that eventually resulted in the firing of the news producer and other significant staffing changes.[8][9]

Meanwhile, Kerry was accused by the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, who averred that "phony war crimes charges, his exaggerated claims about his own service in Vietnam, and his deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations compels us to step forward." The group challenged the legitimacy of each of the combat medals awarded to Kerry by the U.S. Navy, and the disposition of his discharge.

In the beginning of September, the successful Republican National Convention along with the allegations by Kerry's former mates gave President Bush his first comfortable margin since Kerry had won the nomination. A post-convention Gallup poll showed the President leading the Senator by 14 points.[10][11]

Debates

I learned these guys are not that smart. I expected them to be a lot smarter, a lot more difficult to debate, and I learned a lot of them only have the value system of win, win, win. They don’t believe in anything.... I thought they had some core beliefs. Most of them didn’t have core beliefs.






Three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate were organized by theCommission on Presidential Debates, and held in the autumn of 2004. As expected, these debates set the agenda for the final leg of the political contest. Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested while trying to access the debates. Badnarik was attempting to serve papers to the Commission on Presidential Debates.



President Bush focused his campaign on national security, presenting himself as a decisive leader and contrasted Kerry as a "flip-flopper." Bush's point was that Americans could trust him to be tough on terrorism while Kerry would be "uncertain in the face of danger." Bush also sought to portray Kerry as a "Massachusetts liberal" who was out of touch with mainstream Americans. One of Kerry's slogans was "Stronger at home, respected in the world." This advanced the suggestion that Kerry would pay more attention to domestic concerns; it also encapsulated Kerry's contention that Bush had alienated American allies by his foreign policy.

Exit polls revealed Americans who voted for President Bush cited the issues of terrorism and moral values [3] as the most important factors in their decision. Kerry supporters cited the war in Iraq, economic issues like jobs and health care.


Over the course of Bush's first term in office, his extremely high approval ratings immediately following the September 112001 terrorist attacks steadily dwindled, peaking only during combat operations in Iraq in the Spring of 2003, and again following the capture of Saddam Hussein in December the same year.[4] Kerry supporters attempted to capitalize on the dwindling popularity to rally anti-war sentiment.

During August and September of 2004, there was an intense focus on events that occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Bush was accused of failing to fulfill his required service in the Texas Air National Guard.[5]However, the focus quickly shifted to the conduct of CBS News after they aired a segment on 60 Minutes Wednesday introducing what became known as the Killian documents.[6] Serious doubts about the documents' authenticity quickly emerged,[7] leading CBS to appoint a review panel that eventually resulted in the firing of the news producer and other significant staffing changes.[8][9]

Meanwhile, Kerry was accused by the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, who averred that "phony war crimes charges, his exaggerated claims about his own service in Vietnam, and his deliberate misrepresentation of the nature and effectiveness of Swift boat operations compels us to step forward." The group challenged the legitimacy of each of the combat medals awarded to Kerry by the U.S. Navy, and the disposition of his discharge.

In the beginning of September, the successful Republican National Convention along with the allegations by Kerry's former mates gave President Bush his first comfortable margin since Kerry had won the nomination. A post-convention Gallup poll showed the President leading the Senator by 14 points.[10][11]



Debates

"I learned these guys are not that smart.  I expected them to be a lot smarter, a lot more difficult to debate, and I learned a lot of them only have the value system of win, win, win. They don’t believe in anything.... I thought they had some core beliefs. Most of them didn’t have core beliefs."

Three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate were organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and held in the autumn of 2004. As expected, these debates set the agenda for the final leg of the political contest. Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested while trying to access the debates. Badnarik was attempting to serve papers to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The first debate was held on September 30 at the University of Miami, moderated by Jim Lehrer of PBS. Though originally intended to focus on domestic policy, questions were asked on the War on Terror, the War in Iraq and America's international relations.[13] During the debate John Kerry accused Bush of having failed to gain international support for the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, saying the only countries assisting the USA during the invasion were the United Kingdom and Australia. Bush replied to this by saying, "Well, actually, he forgot Poland." (In an ironic turn of events, Poland announced plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq shortly after the debate.) Later, a consensus formed among mainstream pollsters and pundits that Kerry won the debate decisively, strengthening what had come to be seen as a weak and troubled campaign.[14] In the days after, coverage focused on Bush's apparent annoyance with Kerry and numerous scowls and negative facial expressions. On October 5, the Vice Presidential debate was held between Dick Cheney and John Edwards at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and was moderated by Gwen Ifill ofPBS. It again focused on Iraq and the War on Terror. Cheney showed his so called "Bulldog" debating mentality and appeared to be much tougher than Edwards on most of the issues.[citation needed] Most liberal voters said that Cheney was aggressive pushing Edwards to appear passive.[citation needed]An initial poll by ABC indicated a victory for Cheney, while polls by CNN andMSNBC gave it to Edwards.[15][16][17][18]

The second presidential debate was held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 8, moderated by Charles Gibson of ABC. Conducted in a "town meeting" format, less formal than the first Presidential debate, this debate saw President Bush and Senator Kerry taking questions on a variety of subjects from a local audience.[19] Bush attempted to deflect criticism of what was described as his scowling demeanor during the first debate, joking at one point about one of Kerry's remarks, "That answer made me want to scowl."[20]

Bush and Kerry met for the third and final debate at Arizona State University on October 13.[21] 51 million viewers watched the debate which was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. However, at the time of the ASU debate, there were 15.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the Major League Baseball championship games broadcast simultaneously.


Other nominations

See also:
 List of candidates in the United States presidential election, 2004

There were five other pairs of candidates who were on the ballot in states with enough electoral votes to have a theoretical chance of winning a majority in the Electoral College.




Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., acknowledges applause at a campaign rally, Saturday in Bangor, Maine























Barack Obama

YES WE CAN
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www.yeswecansong.com

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About Barack Obama

United States Senator for Illinois

Barack Obama has dedicated his life to public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and leader in the Illinois state Senate. Obama now continues his fight for working families following his recent election to the United States Senate.
Sworn into office January 4, 2005, Senator Obama is focused on promoting economic growth and bringing good paying jobs to Illinois. Obama serves on the important Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees legislation and funding for the environment and public works projects throughout the country, including the national transportation bill. He also serves on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee where he is focused on investigating the disability pay discrepancies that have left thousands of Illinois veterans without the benefits they earned. Senator Obama will also serve on the Foreign Relations Committee.
During his seven years in the Illinois state Senate, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. Obama also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama enlisted the support of law enforcement officials to draft legislation requiring the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.
Obama is especially proud of being a husband and father of two daughters, Malia, 7 and Sasha, 4. Obama and his wife, Michelle, married in 1992 and live on Chicago ’s South Side where they attend Trinity United Church of Christ. Barack Obama was born on August 4th, 1961, in Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment. In 1991, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review.


On the Issues

To find out more about specific issues, use the links below. You will find Senator Obama's positions, actions, and links to legislation

Tax Reform

Our federal tax code has become increasingly complex and unfair. Tax rates should be as low as we can afford them to be; and everyone should pay their fair share. Reform options should focus on creating a system that is simple, progressive, easy to comply with and devoid of abusive shelters. When examining reform options, Senator Obama believes that we should ensure any changes to the tax code reflect the needs and everyday worries facing ordinary Americans, while also promoting America’s competitiveness in the world economy.

Good Government, Responsible Spending

Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Senator Obama worked closely with Senator Coburn, to draft and ultimately pass the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. President Bush signed this measure into law in September of 2006. This important bill will...

Energy

Senator Obama believes that America must commit to a new national energy policy focused on improvements in technology, investments in renewable fuels such as wind and solar power, and greater efforts in conservation, efficiency, and waste reduction. Shifting from our current investment and consumption practices to this new direction will be one of the great leadership challenges in the coming decade.

Iraq

Since 2002, and now, as a U.S. Senator, Senator Obama has continued to critique the Administration's mishandling of this war, and believes that while our troops have done an outstanding job in Iraq, there can be no military solution to what is inherently a political conflict between Iraq's warring factions. The only hope to end this burgeoning civil war is for Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds to come together and resolve their differences, and that's why Senator Obama agrees with the Iraq Study Group's conclusion that we must begin a phased redeployment of American troops to signal to the government and people of Iraq that ours is not an open-ended commitment.

Defense

With the nation facing unprecedented threats, it is essential that our military continues to be the best in the world. The Pentagon must adapt to face 21st century threats such as global terrorists and loose nuclear weapons in the former Soviet states. Senator Obama is working to ensure that the nation's defense capabilities are strong, agile, and prepared and that our troops are provided with the equipment they need.

Seniors

As we transition to an increasingly global economy, many Americans are at risk of being left behind through no fault of their own. Among those most affected by these changes are senior citizens, many of whom are on fixed incomes. We need to modernize our social safety net to help senior citizens meet these new challenges, but we also must preserve those elements, such as Social Security and Medicare, that have enabled us to fulfill our moral commitment to our parents and grandparents.

Crime

Senator Obama is a strong proponent of tougher measures to fight crime and provide more resources to local law enforcement officers. He is particularly concerned about the growing problem of methamphetamine, which is ravaging many communities in Illinois.

Environment

As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in the 109th Congress, Senator Obama worked to ensure our nation's environmental laws and policies balance America's needs for a healthy, sustainable environment with economic growth. He will continue to push for sound environmental policies with his colleagues in the 110th Congress.

Homeland Security

Senator Obama believes that greater attention needs to be paid to the nation’s homeland security. To that end, he has supported efforts to distribute more funds to cities like Chicago most at risk of a terrorist attack. He has also introduced legislation to strengthen chemical plant and drinking water security and to enhance disaster preparedness.

Immigration

Senator Obama shares the growing public concern about illegal immigration in the United States. The challenge facing President Bush and Congress is how to effectively stop the flow of illegal immigrants across our borders, better manage immigration flows going forward, and deal with illegal aliens who are already living and working in this country.

Education

As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Senator Obama is committed to providing every American with the opportunity to receive a quality education, from pre-kindergarten to college or vocational school to job retraining programs.

Health Care

Promoting affordable, accessible, and high-quality health care was a priority for Barack Obama in the Illinois State Senate and is a priority for him in the United States Senate. He believes firmly that health care should be a right for everyone, not a privilege for the few.

Veterans

As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Obama is committed to helping the heroes who defend our nation today and the veterans who fought in years past.

Ethics and Lobbying Reform

Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has fought for open and honest government. As an Illinois State Senator, he helped pass the state’s first major ethics reform bill in 25 years. And as a U.S. Senator, he has spearheaded the effort to clean up Washington in the wake of numerous scandals.

peeches

Archive of Speeches Given by Senator Barack Obama

Obama: Culture in Washington Must Change, Implement Tough Ethics Reform

August 21, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor in support of the Honest Government and Leadership Act. This legislation would provide increased transparency and accountability, reduce the influence of lobbyists and special interests, and bring about the concrete changes we need in Washington. In January, Obama joined with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to introduce Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act, which set a standard for strong ethics legislation this Congress. Obama also sponsored an amendment to the Honest Government and Open Leadership Act that required the disclosure of lobbyists that bundle campaign contributions for candidates.

Obama Initiative Would Revisit Radical Changes to Immigration System in Five Years

June 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Barack Obama today delivered the following statement on the Senate floor on an amendment to the immigration reform bill he introduced with Senators Menendez and Feingold to sunset the points system to obtain citizenship after 5 years:

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama on the Iraq War

March 21, 2007

On Thursdays, Senator Durbin and I hold a constituent coffee so we can hear from the folks back home. A young man came a few months ago who was about 25, 26 years old. He had been back from Iraq for a year. The first months of that year he spent in a coma. An explosion had shattered his face, blinded him in both eyes, and has left him without the use of one arm.

Statement of Senator Obama on Zimbabwe

March 15, 2007

Mr. President, the events of the last few days in Zimbabwe are outrageous and warrant universal condemnation. It is time for the government of Robert Mugabe to cease its repressive and divisive actions, and to allow Zimbabweans to pursue their hopes for legitimate political change and opportunity.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama Floor Statement on New Leadership Resolution on Iraq

March 13, 2007

Mr. President, the news from Iraq is very bad.

Last week, a suicide bomber stood outside a bookstore and killed 20 people. Other attacks killed 118 Shiite pilgrims. On Sunday, a car bomb went off in central Baghdad and more than 30 people died. And the road from the airport into Baghdad is littered with smoldering debris, craters from improvised explosive devices, and the memories of our sons and daughters.

Statement of Senator Obama on Latin America

March 8, 2007

Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, later today, President Bush will start on a six day visit to five countries in the Western Hemisphere – Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico.

The trip comes at an important time for the region, and for U.S. relations with our hemispheric neighbors. In an historic convergence, during a 13 month period beginning in November, 2005, and ending this past December, a dozen countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean held presidential elections. Those elections are a testament to the tremendous democratic strides made throughout the Americas during the past two decades, and saw governments elected to power that span the ideological spectrum.

AIPAC Policy Forum Remarks

March 2, 2007

Thank you so much for your kind introduction and the invitation to meet with you this morning.

Last week, this event was described to me as a small gathering of friends. Looking at all of you here today; seeing so many of you who care about peace in this world; who care about a strong and lasting friendship between Israel and the United States, and who care about what’s on the next page of our shared futures, I think a small gathering of friends fits this crowd just right.

Floor Statement on Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007

January 30, 2007

Mr. President, today in Iraq, we sadly find ourselves at the very point I feared most when I opposed giving the President the open-ended authority to wage this war in 2002 - an occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences in the midst of a country torn by civil war. The American people have waited and the American people have been patient. We have given chance after chance for a resolution that has not come, and, more importantly, watched with horror and grief the tragic loss of thousands of brave young American soldiers.

The Time Has Come for Universal Health Care

January 25, 2007

On this January morning of two thousand and seven, more than sixty years after President Truman first issued the call for national health insurance, we find ourselves in the midst of an historic moment on health care. From Maine to California, from business to labor, from Democrats to Republicans, the emergence of new and bold proposals from across the spectrum has effectively ended the debate over whether or not we should have universal health care in this country.

Floor Statement on President's Decision to Increase Troops in Iraq

January 19, 2007

Mr. President, I would like to speak briefly on what is a roiling debate not only in the Senate but across the country, and that is the President's policy with respect to Iraq. There are countless reasons the American people have lost confidence in the President's Iraq policy, but chief among them has been the administration's insistence on making promises and assurances about progress and victory that do not appear to be grounded in the reality of the facts.

Race Against Time - World AIDS Day Speech

December 1, 2006

I took my own trip to Africa a few months ago. As I'm sure Rick and Kay would agree, it's an experience that stays with you for quite some time. I visited an HIV/AIDS hospital in South Africa that was filled to capacity with people who walked hours - even days - just for the chance to seek help. I met courageous patients who refused to give up for themselves or their families. And I came across AIDS activists who meet resistance from their own government but keep on fighting anyway.

A Way Forward in Iraq

November 20, 2006

A few Tuesdays ago, the American people embraced this seriousness with regards to America’s policy in Iraq. Americans were originally persuaded by the President to go to war in part because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction, and in part because they were told that it would help reduce the threat of international terrorism. Neither turned out to be true. And now, after three long years of watching the same back and forth in Washington, the American people have sent a clear message that the days of using the war on terror as a political football are over. That policy-by-slogan will no longer pass as an acceptable form of debate in this country.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Groundbreaking Ceremony

November 13, 2006

I have two daughters, ages five and eight. And when I see the plans for this memorial, I think about what it will be like when I first bring them here upon the memorial's completion. I imagine us walking down to this tidal basin, between one memorial dedicated to the man who helped give birth to a nation, and another dedicated to the man who preserved it. I picture us walking beneath the shadows cast by the Mountain of Despair, and gazing up at the Stone of Hope, and reading the quotes on the wall together as the water falls like rain.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama on the Military Commission Legislation

September 28, 2006

Mr. President, I am proud to be sponsoring this amendment with the senior senator from West Virginia. He's absolutely right that Congress has abrogated its oversight responsibilities, and one way to reverse that troubling trend is to adopt a sunset provision in this bill. We did that in the Patriot Act, and that allowed us to make important revisions to the bill that reflected our experience about what worked and didn't work during the previous 5 years. We should do that again with this important piece of legislation.

Floor Statement on the Habeas Corpus Amendment

September 27, 2006

Mr. OBAMA. Mr. President, I would like to address the habeas corpus amendment that is on the floor and that we just heard a lengthy debate about between Senator Specter and Senator Warner. A few years ago, I gave a speech in Boston that people talk about from time to time. In that speech, I spoke about why I love this country, why I love America, and what I believe sets this country apart from so many other nations in so many areas.

An Honest Government, A Hopeful Future

August 28, 2006

The first time I came to Kenya was in 1987. I had just finished three years of work as a community organizer in low-income neighborhoods of Chicago, and was about to enroll in law school. My sister, Auma, was teaching that year at this university, and so I came to stay with her for a month.

Xavier University Commencement Address

August 11, 2006

I want to start by thanking you all for allowing me to share in your miracle today. Over the past year there has been no shortage of doubts about whether this college would live to see another commencement - and doubts remain still about the future of this great city. But on this summer's day in New Orleans, less than one year after the worst storm in American history beat down your door, I look out at the largest class to ever graduate from this college and know that one thing is certain - Xavier University is back.

AFSCME National Convention

August 7, 2006

We meet here at a challenging time for labor and a challenging time for America. All across the country, from nurses in Chicago to correctional officers in Atlanta to sanitation workers in L.A., Americans have been looking to the future with more anxiety than hope. As transformations in technology and communication have ushered in a global economy with new rules and new risks, they've watched their government do its best to try and shift those risks onto the backs of the American worker. And they wonder how they will ever keep up.

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on his vote against the Gulf of Mexico Energy Bill

August 1, 2006

Every one of us in Congress has heard from our constituents about the high cost of gas. A gallon is now $3 or more in most parts of the country, and there is every reason to believe that figure will continue to climb throughout the rest of the summer.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama In Support of H.R. 9, the Voting Rights Act

July 20, 2006

That's why I stand here today. I would not be in the United States Senate had it not been for the efforts and courage of so many parents and grandparents and ordinary people who were willing to reach up and bend that arc in the direction of justice. I hope we continue to see that spirit live on, not just during this debate, but throughout all our work here in the Senate.

Statement of Support for Stem Cell Research

July 17, 2006

Mr. President, a few weeks ago I was visited by two of my constituents-- Mary Schneider and her son Ryan. When Ryan was just two years old, his parents and doctors noted severe delays in his motor and speech development, and he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. His parents were devastated, as the prognosis for many children with cerebral palsy is quite grim, and given the severity of Ryan's condition, his doctors didn't have much hope for his improvement.

Campus Progress Annual Conference

July 12, 2006

I want to congratulate all of you at Campus Progress for the work you've been doing to build a new generation of progressive leadership in this country. At a time when too many in the media have written off your generation as apathetic or uninvolved, you're proving not only that you care very deeply about the future of this country, but that you're willing to do something about it.

'Call to Renewal' Keynote Address

June 28, 2006

"...This is why, if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at - to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own - we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse. Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends."

Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on Iraq Debate

June 21, 2006

Mr. President, in October of 2002, I delivered a speech opposing the War in Iraq. I said that Saddam Hussein was a ruthless man, but that he posed no imminent and direct threat to the United States. I said that a war in Iraq would take our focus away from our efforts to defeat al-Qaeda.

Northwestern University Commencement Address

June 16, 2006

A few months ago, I came across an article in your student newspaper by Elaine Meyer. Elaine, give me a little wave if you're out there. There she is. Glad to see you made it to graduation. So, Elaine wrote this article entitled, "Challenge us, Senator Obama." I thought this seemed like a fair request, so I kept reading. And I noticed that Elaine set out a few expectations for this speech.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Take Back America

June 14, 2006

My friends, we meet here today at a time where we find ourselves at a crossroads in America's history. It's a time where you can go to any town hall or street corner or coffee shop and hear people express the same anxiety about the future; hear them convey the same uncertainty about the direction we're headed as a country. Whether it's the war or Katrina or their health care or their jobs, you hear people say that we've finally arrived at a moment where something must change.

Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the Federal Marriage Amendment

June 5, 2006

Today, we take up the valuable time of the U.S. Senate with a proposed amendment to our Constitution that has absolutely no chance of passing. We do this, allegedly, in an attempt to uphold the institution of marriage in this country. We do this despite the fact that for over two hundred years, Americans have been defining and defending marriage on the state and local level without any help from the U.S. Constitution at all.

University of Massachusetts at Boston Commencement Address

June 2, 2006

More than half of you represent the very first member of your family to ever attend college. In the most diverse university in all of New England, I look out at a sea of faces that are African-American and Hispanic-American and Asian-American and Arab-American. I see students that have come here from over 100 different countries, believing like those first settlers that they too could find a home in this City on a Hill - that they too could find success in this unlikeliest of places.

Senator Barack Obama Floor Statement General Michael Hayden Nomination

May 25, 2006

We don't expect the President to give the American people every detail about a classified surveillance program. But we do expect him to place such a program within the rule of law, and to allow members of the other two coequal branches of government - Congress and the Judiciary - to have the ability to monitor and oversee such a program. Our Constitution and our right to privacy as Americans require as much.

Senator Obama's Floor Speech in Opposition to the Amendment Requiring a Photo ID to Vote

May 24, 2006

There is no more fundamental right accorded to United States citizens by the Constitution than the right to vote. The unimpeded exercise of this right is essential to the functioning of our democracy. Unfortunately, history has not been kind to certain citizens in protecting their ability to exercise this right.

Floor Statement by Senator Barack Obama Employment Verification Amendment for the Immigration Bill

May 23, 2006

One of the central components of immigration reform is enforcement, and this bill contains a number of important provisions to beef up border security. But that's not enough. Real enforcement also means drying up the pool of jobs that encourages illegal immigration. And that can only happen if employers don't hire illegal workers.

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Commencement Address

May 20, 2006

Looking out at this class of 2006, I think my hope is well-placed. With the field you have chosen, you've already shown how much you care about the lives of others; how strongly you have heard the calling to be healers in this world. Today, I ask you to remember that call always, and to remember how it could include more than the patient sitting in your office. It could also include the patients who can't afford to get there, the ones who aren't being provided the best care, and the general health of all Americans.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at Emily's List Annual Luncheon

May 11, 2006

We meet here today at a time where we find ourselves at a crossroads in America's history. It's a time where you can go to any town hall or street corner or coffee shop and hear people express the same anxiety about the future; hear them convey the same uncertainty about the direction we're headed as a country. Whether it's the war or Katrina or their health care or their jobs, you hear people say that we've finally arrived at a moment where something must change.

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on his Amendment to Stop No-Bid Contracts for Gulf Coast Recovery and Reconstruction

May 2, 2006

Mr. President, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, millions of Americans opened their hearts, their homes, and their wallets to help the victims in the Gulf Coast. Even before Katrina’s winds and rains died down, Americans across the country called national hotlines and pledged their hard-earned dollars, their time, and their prayers to the relief effort. 

But they didn’t just pledge – they also delivered. They delivered to the tune of $3.5 billion dollars. Many of these donations came from working-class families who didn’t have much to give, but they gave what they could.

Energy Independence and the Safety of Our Planet

April 3, 2006

For decades, we've been warned by legions of scientists and mountains of evidence that this was coming - that we couldn't just keep burning fossil fuels and contribute to the changing atmosphere without consequence. And yet, for decades, far too many have ignored the warnings, either dismissing the science as a hoax or believing that it was the concern of enviros looking to save polar bears and rainforests.

Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on Immigration Reform

April 3, 2006

I come to the floor today to enter the debate on comprehensive immigration reform. It is a debate that will touch on the basic questions of morality, the law, and what it means to be an American.

Remarks of Senator Obama at Fellowship Baptist Church

March 20, 2006

The Englewood community vowed that the deaths of two girls will not be in vain at an anti-violence rally on Monday March 20th. Officials had to turn people away after hundreds packed Fellowship Baptist Church to remember Siretha White, 10, and Starkesia Reed, 14, who were both killed by stray bullets within a span of eight days.

21st Century Schools for a 21st Century Economy

March 13, 2006

The ideal of public education has always been at the heart of this bargain. From the moment we built the first schools in the towns of New England, it was the driving force behind Thomas Jefferson's declaration that "...talent and virtue, needed in a free society, should be educated regardless of wealth, birth or other accidental condition."

Senator Obama's Floor Statement on Meals Amendment

March 8, 2006

I rise today in support of Senator Feingold's amendment to eliminate a loophole in this bill that would still allow members and staff to receive free meals from lobbyists up to $50 in value. Now, of all the ethics reforms we take up this week, this should be an easy one. Because I can't think of a single reason in the world why we shouldn't be paying for our own lunches in Washington.

Senator Obama's Opening Statement for Floor Debate on Ethics Reform

March 7, 2006

The American people are tired of a Washington that's only open to those with the most cash and the right connections. They're tired of a political process where the vote you cast isn't as important as the favors you can do. And they're tired of trusting us with their tax dollars when they see them spent on frivolous pet projects and corporate giveaways.

Energy Security is National Security

February 28, 2006

"...every single hour we spend $18 million on foreign oil. It doesn't matter if these countries are budding democracies, despotic regimes, or havens for the madrassas that plant the seeds of terror in young minds - they get our money because we need their oil. One need only glance at headlines around the world to understand how dangerous this addictive arrangement truly is."

Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on S.2271 - USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization

February 16, 2006

Mr. President, four years ago, following one of the most devastating attacks in our nation's history, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act to give our nation's law enforcement the tools they needed to track down terrorists who plot and lurk within our own borders and all over the world - terrorists who, right now, are looking to exploit weaknesses in our laws and our security to carry out even deadlier attacks than we saw on September 11th.

Opening Statement of Senator Barack Obama Foreign Relations Committee regarding Lugar-Obama legislation S.1949.

February 9, 2006

The Lugar-Obama legislation, S.1949, does two basic things. First, it enhances our ability, working with friends and allies, to detect and intercept illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction. Second, the bill bolsters ongoing efforts to destroy conventional weapons such as lightweight anti-aircraft missiles.

Senator Obama's Floor Statement on the Hurricane Katrina Child Assistance Amendment

February 1, 2006

The Amendment achieves two goals. First, it helps keep a promise the President made to rebuild the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Second, in a $70 billion bill laden with tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected, it sets aside less than 1 percent for the neediest in our society.

Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the Confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito, Jr.

January 26, 2006

As we all know, there's been a lot of discussion in the country about how the Senate should approach this confirmation process. There are some who believe that the President, having won the election, should have the complete authority to appoint his nominee, and the Senate should only examine whether or not the Justice is intellectually capable and an all-around nice guy. That once you get beyond intellect and personal character, there should be no further question whether the judge should be confirmed.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the Lobbying Reform Summit

January 26, 2006

Now, I've been asked by my caucus to take a role in lobbying reform - a role I'm proud to have. As many of you know I'm from Chicago - a city that hasn't always had the cleanest reputation when it comes to politics in this country. But during my first year in the Illinois State Senate, I helped lead the fight to pass Illinois' first ethics reform bill in twenty-five years. I hope we can do something like that here.

Senate Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on The PATRIOT Act

December 15, 2005

Four years ago, following the most devastating attack in our history, this body passed the USA PATRIOT Act in order to give our nation's law enforcement the tools they need to track down terrorists who plot and lurk within our own borders and all over the world - terrorists who, right now, are looking to exploit weaknesses in our laws and our security to carry out even deadlier attacks than we saw on September 11th.

Moving Forward in Iraq

November 22, 2005

Today, nearly 160,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are risking their lives in the Middle East. They are operating in some of the most dangerous and difficult circumstances imaginable. Well over 2,000 men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice - given their full measure of devotion. Thousands more have returned with wounds like those that I saw at Walter Reed.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Ceremony

November 16, 2005

I come to this with tremendous humility. I was only seven when Bobby Kennedy died. Many of the people in this room knew him as brother, as husband, as father, as friend. I knew him only as an icon. In that sense, it is a distance I share with most of the people who now work in this Capitol – many of whom were not even born when Bobby Kennedy died. But what’s interesting is that if you go throughout the offices in the Capitol, everywhere you’ll find photographs of Kennedy, or collections of his speeches, or some other memento of his life.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the National Women's Law Center

November 10, 2005

As I was thinking about tonight's dinner and all the progress the women's movement has made in the last century, the first thing that came to mind wasn't all the legal cases won or the legislation passed; it wasn't the issues debated or even the individual rights secured. I thought about my daughters.

Remarks of U.S. Senator Barack Obama regarding the "Sex on TV 4" Report

November 9, 2005

I want to start by thanking the Kaiser foundation for the work you've done not only on today's report, but on making these issues of media and family a part of the national conversation. This is a subject many of us come to not as politicians or policy makers, as but as parents most of all.

Non-Proliferation and Russia: The Challenges Ahead

November 1, 2005

Good morning. As some of you know, Senator Lugar and I recently traveled to Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan to witness firsthand both the progress we're making in securing the world's most dangerous weapons, as well as the serious challenges that lie ahead.

Statement of Sen. Barack Obama on the Chicago White Sox

October 27, 2005

Senate Floor Statement I rise today as a U.S. Senator, as an Illinoisan, and as a proud resident of the Southside of Chicago, to congratulate the Chicago White Sox for winning the 2005 World Series. As my fellow Southsiders know,...

Teaching Our Kids in a 21st Century Economy

October 25, 2005

The other day, I was reading through Jonathan Kozol's new book, Shame of a Nation. In it, he talks about his recent travels to schools across America, and how fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, we have an education system in this country that is still visibly separate and painfully unequal.

Statement of Senator Obama on the Death of Rosa Parks

October 25, 2005

Mr. President, today the nation mourns a genuine American hero. Rosa Parks died yesterday in her home in Detroit. Through her courage and by her example, Rosa Parks helped lay the foundation for a country that could begin to live up to its creed. Her life, and her brave actions, reminded each and every one of us of our personal responsibilities to stand up for what is right and the central truth of the American experience that our greatness as a nation derives from seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Statement of U.S. Senator Barack Obama on the Avian Flu

October 18, 2005

We are continuing to witness the relentless spread of avian flu, carried slowly but predictably by wild, migratory birds from countries in Southeast Asia to Western China, to Mongolia, and then over the Ural Mountains into Russia and Ukraine. From there, avian flu has spread over the past week to Romania and Turkey, and we have just learned, possibly into Greece.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama on the Confirmation of Judge John Roberts

September 22, 2005

First of all, let me congratulate Senator Specter and Senator Leahy for moving the process of confirming the nomination of Judge Roberts along with such civility, a civility that I believe speaks well of the Senate. Let me also say that I remain distressed that the White House during this confirmation process, which overall went smoothly, failed to provide critical documents as part of the record that could have provided us with a better basis to make our judgment with respect to the nomination. This White House continues to stymie efforts on the part of the Senate to do its job.

Securing Our Energy Future

September 15, 2005

The days of running a 21st century economy on a 20th century fossil fuel are numbered - and we need to realize that before it's too late. Our persistent dependence on oil is a danger our government has known about for years. And despite constant warnings by researchers and scientists, major corporations and our own government officials, it's a danger they have failed to prepare for, listen to, or seriously try to guard against.

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts

September 6, 2005

I just got back from a trip to Houston with former Presidents Clinton and Bush. And as we wandered through the crowd, we heard in very intimate terms the heart-wrenching stories that all of us have witnessed from a distance over the past several days: mothers separated from babies, adults mourning the loss of elderly parents, descriptions of the heat and filth and fear of the Superdome and the Convention Center.

AFL-CIO National Convention

July 25, 2005

It would be naive of me to start without acknowledging what's been on everyone's mind during this convention. As America tries to find its way in a global economy, we meet here at a challenging time for the labor movement. There are questions of strategy and tactics, leadership and power. And I can imagine that many of you are anxious not only about labor's future, but yours. You're wondering, will I be able to leave my children a better world than I was given? Will I be able to save enough to send them to college or plan for a secure retirement? Will my job even be there tomorrow? Who will stand up for me in this new world?

Remarks of U.S. Senator Barack Obama on the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill and the Avian Flu

July 19, 2005

Mr. President, I rise today in support of H.R. 2057, the Foreign Operations Appropriation Bill. I'd also like to highlight one aspect of the bill. Since coming to the Senate six months ago, one of the foreign policy and health issues I have focused on relates to the avian flu. I am pleased that this bill includes $10 million to combat the spread of this potential pandemic, adding to the $25 million that the Senate provided in the supplemental appropriations bill in April.

American Legion Conference

July 16, 2005

Over the last few months and throughout the campaign, I've been able to travel the state and meet veterans from all across Illinois. And no matter how many stories of heroism I hear, I constantly find myself in awe of your service and inspired by your sacrifice. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that "To fight out a war, you must believe something and want something with all your might."

U.S. Senator Barack Obama addresses the American Library Association

June 27, 2005

Thank you. It's an honor to be here with the hundreds of dedicated librarians who make up the American Library Association. Before we begin, I'd like to say a special hello to ALA member Nancy Gibbs, who is the mother of my communications director, Robert Gibbs. Believe me, I have no idea how the biggest mouth in our office came from a family of two librarians, but we're proud to have him on board and I'm sure you are too.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the Pritzker School of Medicine Commencement

June 13, 2005

Congratulations! After four long years of endless studying, sleepless nights, and constant stress, who's ready to kick back, relax, and jump head first into their residency?

Remarks of U.S. Senator Barack Obama on the nomination of Justice Janice Rogers Brown

June 8, 2005

I rise today to speak on the nomination of California Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, let me begin by saying that the last thing I would like to be spending my time on right now is talking about judges.

Remarks of U.S. Senator Barack Obama at the Knox College Commencement

June 4, 2005

Good morning President Taylor, the Board of Trustees, faculty, parents, family, friends, and the Class of 2005. Congratulations on your graduation, and thank you for allowing me the honor to be a part of it.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery

May 30, 2005

This is my first time visiting the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, and as I was driving through I thought to myself that the staff and the volunteers who have made this possible should feel very proud of the work they're doing - this is a beautiful place for our veterans to come home to.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama About America's Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy

May 26, 2005

Mr. President, throughout the last half of the 20th Century, one nation - more than any other on the face of the earth - defined and shaped the threats posed to the United States.

Remarks by Senator Barack Obama at the Rockford Register Star Young American Awards

May 7, 2005

Thank you, and congratulations to all of this year's Young Americans. Now that you've each received your award, I have one question for all of you: What are you going to do with it?

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner

May 2, 2005

Thank you. Half a century after the first few hundred people sat for justice and equality at these tables, I am honored to be here with this crowd of thousands at the 50th NAACP Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner.

"A Hope to Fulfill"

April 26, 2005

Thank you. It's great to be here at the National Press Club - I want to thank the club as well as the FDR Institute for arranging this luncheon together. I'd also like to thank Anne Roosevelt and Jim Roosevelt, who inspire us all by carrying on the proud legacy of their grandfather.

SIUC College of Agriculture's 50th Anniversary

April 23, 2005

Thank you. It's always great to be here in Carbondale, and a real honor to speak here at SIUC's first Agriculture Industry Day. Now, I'll be honest - I haven't done all that much farming living on the South Side of Chicago. But I have to say, my fondest farming memory is when I once offered to help out a friend with his harvest. Knowing the full range of my agricultural experience and expertise, he took one look at me and said..."no thanks."

Remarks by Senator Barack Obama at the Opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

April 20, 2005

Let me congratulate all of those who have helped to make this wonderful vision a reality. But we gather here today not to celebrate a building. We gather to celebrate a man.

Statement of Senator Barack Obama About His Amendment to Provide Meals and Phone Service to Wounded Veterans

April 14, 2005

Statement of Senator Barack Obama Amendment to Provide Meals and Phone Service to Wounded Veterans Wednesday, April 14, 2005 M. President, today I am offering an amendment to the fiscal year 2005 Emergency Supplemental, which I am pleased to announce...

Statement of Senator Barack Obama on the Nuclear Option

April 13, 2005

Mr. President, I rise today to urge my colleagues to think about the implications the nuclear option would have on this chamber and this country. I urge you to think not just about winning every debate, but about protecting free and democratic debate.

Opening Statement of Senator Barack Obama at the Confirmation Hearing of John Bolton

April 11, 2005

Mr. Chairman and Senator Biden, the position of United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations is one of the most important diplomatic positions in the entire U.S. government.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the Herblock Foundation Annual Lecture

April 11, 2005

Thank you for inviting me here tonight. It's been a pretty busy week, but I figured I'd better do my best to show up here since I can't think of an easier target for political cartoonists than a tall, skinny guy with big ears and a funny name.

Obama Remarks to the American Legion Legislative Rally

March 28, 2005

Remarks by Senator Barack Obama American Legion Legislative Rally Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

CURE Keynote Address

March 11, 2005

Since I first learned about this organization from David and Susan, I've often thought about the simple act of hope that began its journey. I've thought about three mothers, sitting around a kitchen table, sharing the pain and the helplessness that go along with watching the child you love, the child whose happiness you live for, struggle with a disease that mom and dad can't fix. A disease that doesn't necessarily go away with the doctor's medicine, that isn't talked about most nights on the news, that isn't funded and recognized like a lot of the other diseases.

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at TechNet

March 8, 2005

We're here today because when it comes to the global economy, the rules of the game have changed. This is a fact not only understood by a roomful of Silicon Valley CEOs, but by families I met all across Illinois during the campaign. They know that when it comes to their jobs and their wages, they're not only competing with workers in Naperville and Carbondale, but in New Delhi and Calcutta.

Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama on S.256, the Bankruptcy Abuse and Prevention Act of 2005

February 28, 2005

Mr. President, I have come to the floor today to address this pending legislation. This issue should force us to face a fundamental question about who we are as a country, how we progress as a society, and where our values lie as a people: How do we treat our fellow Americans who have fallen on hard times, and what is our responsibility to cushion those falls when they occur?

John Lewis's 65th Birthday Gala

February 21, 2005

Thank you. It's an honor to be here tonight to celebrate one of the most courageous and compassionate Americans of our time. Happy Birthday John. When I was first asked to speak here, I thought to myself, never in a million years would I have guessed that I'd be serving in Congress with John Lewis. 


Committee Assignments

Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Write to the Committee:

U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-6225

Call the Committee:

Majority Phone: (202) 224-4651
Minority Phone: (202) 224-3953


Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Write to the Committee:

412 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC. 20510

Call the Committee:

Democratic Staff (202) 224-9126 
Republican Staff (202) 224-2074


Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

Write to the Committee:

428 Senate Dirksen Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Call the Committee:

Phone (202) 224-5375


Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Write to the Committee

340 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Call the Committee

Democratic Staff (202) 224-2627
Republican Staff (202) 224-4751 


Constituent Services

Services available to residents of Illinois

Please make use of this page to research various government programs. We will also continue to fill this section with information on programs and services available to Illinois residents through my office.

Getting Started

Constituents are encouraged to contact my Senate office for assistance in any matter concerning the federal government. Before a Constituent Services Agent can begin an inquiry on any specific issue, constituents must submit a signed Privacy Act Release Form. This enables my office to access your personal information to determine how best we can be of assistance. Please mail or fax completed forms to the Chicago district office (see contact information of left side of this page).

Service Academy Nominations

Learn more and get started with the United State Service Academies nominating process.

Flag Requests

We are pleased to assist Illinois residents who are interested in ordering a flag from the Senate Stationery Store and having it flown over the United States Capitol. To order your flag, please print and fill out the flag request form (PDF) in its entirety.

Internships

If you are interested in applying for an internship with Senator Obama's office, please download and thoroughly review the application materials below.

Federal Grant Funding

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) http://www.cfda.gov
Developing and Writing Grant Proposals http://aspe.hhs.gov/cfda/ia6.htm
Federal Funding Report http://www.house.gov/ffr
Small Business Administration http://www.sba.gov/expanding/grants.html
The Foundation Center http://www.fdncenter.org

Illinois Resources

State of Illinois http://www.illinois.gov/
Illinois Department of Human Services http://www.dhs.state.il.us/

Federal Government Resources

Official Senate Website http://www.senate.gov
Official House Website http://www.house.gov
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid http://www.cms.gov
eGov--The Official Web Site of the President's E-Government Initiatives http://www.egov.gov
FEMA's "Are You Ready" Guide to Citizen Preparedness: How to prepare for and respond to both natural and man-made disasters http://fema.gov/areyouready/
FirstGov http://firstgov.gov
Information about Doing Business in Afghanistan http://www.export.gov/afghanistan
Information about Doing Business in Iraq http://www.export.gov/iraq
Internal Revenue Service http://www.irs.gov
National Park Service http://www.nps.gov
NIH Senior Health http://nihseniorhealth.gov
Passport Services http://travel.state.gov/passport_services.html
Supreme Court of the United States http://www.supremecourtus.gov
The White House http://www.whitehouse.gov
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U.S. Department of State http://www.state.gov
United States House of Representatives http://www.house.gov
United States Senate http://www.senate.gov
USA Freedom Corps http://www.usafreedomcorps.gov

Obama Sweeps Clinton in 3 States' Presidential Nominating Contests; Huckabee Takes 2 of 3 From McCain  
10 February 2008


Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., acknowledges applause at a campaign rally, Saturday in Bangor, Maine



























Hillary Clinton takes the stage for a campaign rally in Arlington, Virginia, 7 Feb 2008






Mike Huckabee and his wife Janet in Little Rock, Arkansas, 5 Feb 2008











Mike Huckabee and his wife Janet in Little Rock, Arkansas, 5 Feb 2008

John McCain and his wife Cindy, 05 Feb 2008


Illinois Senator Barack Obama swept up more delegates Saturday in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, winning the day's two caucuses and one primary. On the Republican side, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee won two victories. VOA's Greg Flakus has more from Houston.

Barack Obama won handily in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington state, with a comfortable lead in all three contests over New York Senator Hillary Clinton. The biggest prize was Washington state, which has 97 delegates, but Senator Clinton will also get a share of those delegates since the Democrats divide them proportionally.

Obama, who is black, won in Louisiana, which has a large African-American vote, but he also won in the midwestern state of Nebraska, which is mostly white, and in the diverse state of Washington, thereby enhancing his image as a candidate who can appeal across racial lines. Exit polls also indicate that he continued to do well among better educated and more affluent voters of all races.

Speaking to supporters in Richmond, Virginia, Obama celebrated his victories, saying "Today voters from the west coast to the Gulf coast to the heart of America stood up to say, 'Yes, we can.' We won in Louisiana, we won in Nebraska, we won in Washington state, we won north, we won south, we won in between."

These wins should help Obama as he moves to the next set of important contests, in Maryland and the District of Columbia, where he is heavily favored, and Virginia, which is hotly contested. Senator Clinton is spending time and money in Virginia in hopes of impeding Obama's momentum ahead of the contests on March fourth, when two populous and delegate-rich states, Texas and Ohio, are in play.

Analysts have speculated that Clinton could have an advantage among Hispanic voters here in Texas, but Obama has established a large organizational base in the lone star state and he has more money to spend on television advertising than Clinton, something that could prove crucial in a large state where personal appearances do not count as much as they did in some of the smaller states.

On the Republican side Saturday, Mike Huckabee chalked up victories in Kansas and Louisiana. Both states border Arkansas, where he served as governor and in both states there are substantial numbers of evangelical Christians and conservatives, many of whom are opposed to Republican frontrunner John McCain. On Wednesday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney suspended his campaign after McCain took most of the states holding contests on Super Tuesday.

Although McCain, who earned a win in Washington State Saturday, is widely viewed as the probable Republican nominee, he faces rifts within his party over positions he has taken on such issues as tax cuts and immigration reform. Most analysts do not believe Huckabee can overtake McCain, but the former Baptist minister says he is in the race to win and that his victories on Saturday will help him carry his campaign forward.

US Defense Secretary Gates Calls on Europeans to Support Afghan War

Suicide Bombing in Pakistan Leaves At Least 20 Dead  Audio Clip Available

Six Guantanamo Detainees May Face Charges in September 11 Attacks

Thousands Flee Following Sudanese Attacks in Darfur

Military: Burma to Hold Elections in 2010

Space Shuttle Docks with International Space Station; Delivers European Science Lab

Hollywood Writers to Review Tentative Deal That Could End Strike

US Military Chief: Terrorists Threat to US, Pakistan  Audio Clip Available

Bush to Sign Economic Stimulus Plan  Audio Clip Available


Malaysia Star
Barack Obama trounces Hillary Clinton
Times Online, UK - 2 hours ago
Barack Obama trounced Hillary Clinton, his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, in contests across America last night, beating her by margins ...
Obama Sweeps Clinton in 3 States' Presidential Nominating Contests ... Voice of America
Obama trounces Clinton in three states London Free Press
(UPDATE) Obama pummels Clinton in White House duelInquirer.net
The Age - Bloomberg
all 3,245 news articles »

Sioux City Journal
Clinton and Obama bring national issues to Virginia event
Baltimore Sun, United States - 1 hour ago
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each appeared, separately, at the Virginia Democratic Party's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, turning what is normally a ...
Obama, Clinton to Attend Virginia Gala Together FOXNews
Even Living Abroad, Democrats Making Their Voices HeardWashington Post
Clinton, Obama come out swinging Daily Press
FOXNews - The Virginian-Pilot
all 329 news articles »

The Age
Underdog Barack Obama outpaces Hillary Clinton in Democratic race
Times Online, UK - 10 hours ago
WHEN Hillary Clinton started running for president, Sue Whitney, 54, was on her side. “I thought, Yeah! I’m all for her, but now I’m getting a little scared ...
Obama, Clinton and Jewish good fortune Jerusalem Post
Barack history month Jamaica Gleaner
Blue-collar vote tough for Obama Chicago Tribune
Toronto Star - Newsweek
all 156 news articles »

PRESS TV
Thousands Keyed up for Obama
Seattle Post Intelligencer - 10 hours ago
With that in mind, both Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton were in Washington to shore up their support. Senator John McCain came to town for a fundraiser as ...
Clinton, Obama get endorsements in Washington Boston Globe
Sen. Clinton, Obama, McCain campaign in WashingtonSeattle Post Intelligencer
`I was 10 feet away from him, 10 feet' Toronto Star
Gay Wired - Blogcritics.org
all 265 news articles »
KVEO-TV
Obama, Clinton have two versions of history with Texas Hispanics
Dallas Morning News, TX - 2 hours ago
"Make no mistake about it – Hillary Clinton may be the most well-known woman in the world. That's what we're up against," Mr. Garcia said. ...
Presidential Election Lures Latino Voters Locally KVEO-TV
all 5 news articles »

New York Magazine
Obama's Three Advantages: Map, Money And Message
Hartford Courant, United States - 3 hours ago
Hillary Clinton amazes me. Twice in a month the grim reaper knocked on her door and twice she stared him down. In New Hampshire and again this week she was ...
Exit Poll: The Bill Clinton split CNN Political Ticker
Obama Camp to Clinton: Show Us Your Taxes Washington Post
Obama taxes Bay State friendships Boston Herald
renewamerica.us - New York Magazine
all 85 news articles »


Dog Flu Diet and Diseases
'We need change' Obama supporter says; Clinton supporter ...
Seattle Post Intelligencer - 11 hours ago
"Hillary Clinton, for 30 years, has been fighting for health care." Within the White House, Stidham said, "For the first time she would have the chance to ...
Clinton blasts Obama over health care planSeattle Post Intelligencer
Clinton says Obama saying 'No, we can't' on healthcareBoston Globe
Examining Clinton & Obama’s Stances on the Subprime Mortgage... Democracy Now
Dog Flu Diet and Diseases - Post-Bulletin
all 31 news articles »

U.S. Senator Barack Obama Senator for Illinois

Obama Statement on the Senate's 

Passage of the Economic Stimulus Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement after the Senate's passage of the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008, H.R. 5140, which passed by a vote of 81 to 16. Yesterday, Senator Obama voted in favor of the economic stimulus package, which was initially blocked by Senate Republicans.

Click here to read more >>


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
CONTACT: Michael Ortiz, 202 228 5566

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement after the Senate's passage of the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008, H.R. 5140, which passed by a vote of 81 to 16. Yesterday, Senator Obama voted in favor of the economic stimulus package, which was initially blocked by Senate Republicans.

"As millions of hardworking Americans face foreclosure, unemployment, and bills they can't pay, it's critical that Republicans and Democrats finally came together to pass a stimulus package that provides immediate tax relief to working families, seniors, and veterans.

"This is similar to the stimulus package I proposed weeks ago, and it will put needed money back into the pockets of working Americans in order to give our economy the boost it needs as we face down a possible recession.

"While this bill will provide immediate relief to millions of Americans, I also believe that we must do more to extend unemployment insurance for all Americans and more to help those suffering from the home foreclosure crisis. I expect that the President will sign this bill immediately.http://obama.senate.gov/

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Harkin, Hagel, Obama Take Action to Prevent Suicide Among Active Duty Soldiers

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Contact: Jennifer Mullin (Harkin), Jordan Stark (Hagel), or Michael Ortiz (Obama)

Washington Post reports today on record number of soldier suicides last year - highest rate since 1990

Washington, D.C. - As news reports reveal growing numbers of suicide among soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Barack Obama (D-IL) today introduced major legislation aimed at preventing suicide among active duty members of the military. The Senators' bill, the Armed Forces Suicide Prevention Act, would direct the Department of Defense (DoD) to create a comprehensive suicide prevention program including annual training for soldiers, improved instruction for field medics and post deployment assistance. The legislation authorizes six million dollars for implementation of the programs. A companion measure will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA).

Today's Washington Post reported that Army statistics show that 121 soldiers committee suicide last year - a 20 percent increase from 2006. This is the highest rate of Army suicides recorded since the Army started collecting this data in 1980. The Post also reported that last year about 2,100 soldiers "injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002."

"These startling statistics should serve as a wakeup call that suicide among soldiers and veterans is more than a problem, it is an epidemic," said Senator Harkin. "Thankfully, our push to provide America's veterans with a suicide prevention program was heard last year, when the President signed the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act into law. But there is more work ahead - especially in serving our active duty military personnel. We can and must act quickly to save our soldiers who are so bravely fighting for our country."

"Since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan there has been a significant increase in suicides among active-duty soldiers. This is a reality our country must face as we are engaged in two conflicts. This legislation will enhance and strengthen the Defense Department's suicide prevention programs for all active-duty military personnel. It is critical for our service members to be provided with the necessary mental health services they deserve. There can be no higher priority for America than our soldiers and their families," said Senator Hagel.

"Our nation's heroes deserve our greatest support and commitment, and we must immediately address the tragic increase in suicide rates among our active-duty service members," said Senator Obama. "The men and women who serve our country should expect nothing less than world class medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, and counseling services. Suicide can be prevented, and we must do everything we can to help those who are suffering. This bill will help ensure there are comprehensive suicide prevention programs throughout the military, and I commend Senator Harkin's leadership on this needed legislation."

Specifically, the Armed Forces Suicide Prevention Act will:

  • Conduct a service-wide mental health campaign to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues, encourage people to seek help when needed, and increase awareness that mental health is essential to overall health and that treatments can promote recovery from mental illness. The campaign should raise awareness about assistance for substance abuse issues, as well as relationship and financial difficulties. An outreach campaign should also focus health professionals both on and off military installations to raise awareness of the health needs of returning military personnel.
  • Implement annual suicide prevention training of all active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members and involve military leadership in outreach efforts by incorporating suicide prevention training in officer and senior enlisted training courses.
  • Strengthen basic lifesaver training and training for military medics and medical personnel to incorporate recognition of risk factors for suicide, identification of signs and symptoms of mental health issues, and protocols for responding to crisis situations involving members of the Armed Forces who may be at high risk for suicide.
  • Utilize crisis response teams within units to prevent and respond to traumatic events. Such teams will consist of key personnel such as medical staff, chaplains, family support staff, and peers.
  • Provide post-deployment follow-up and assistance for family members and peers of members of the Armed Services on mental health problems, substance use, and financial and relationship difficulties, including information on resources to address these issues.
  • Provides resources to the Department of Defense to examine innovative and effective strategies to recruit qualified uniformed mental health professionals.
  • Provides resources to the Department of Defense to examine innovative and effective ways to fight the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment.
Late last year, Harkin's push for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide a comprehensive suicide prevention program for returning soldiers became a reality through the enactment of the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Action - named after Joshua Omvig, a soldier from Grundy Center who took his own life after returning from Iraq. Harkin's legislation directs the VA to integrate mental health services into veterans' primary care, and step up counseling and other mental health services for returning war veterans.

Obama, Congressmen Call on Agriculture Committee Leaders to include Pigford Provisions in the Farm Bill Conference Report


OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
CONTACT: Michael Ortiz, 202 228 5566

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Artur Davis (D-AL), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), and Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) today sent the following letter to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees' Chairmen and Ranking Members, requesting that they include the Pigford settlement provisions in Farm Bill Conference Report.

The text of the letter is below:

January 30, 2008

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

We write as supporters of a recent Congressional Black Caucus letter listing the CBC's priorities for the upcoming conference agreement on H.R. 2419, the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act. However, as you work to finalize the conference report to H.R. 2419, we want to indicate our particular support for the provisions included by both the House and the Senate versions ensuring that farmers who were denied review of their claims under the Pigford case can obtain a court determination on the merits of their cases.

As you know, in 1999, the USDA settled a class action lawsuit with African American farmers, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved the settlement, which allowed black farmers to file claims against the USDA for failing to respond to racial discrimination complaints between 1983 and 1997. Thousands of claims were denied for various reasons, but due to a lack of notice, a large percentage of filers were denied review based on late filings.

These provisions will provide Pigford claimants who were denied a review on the merits with a fair review of their claims; require the Secretary of Agriculture to provide petitioners with information regarding USDA loan data, which was too often denied in the Pigford claims process; and protect Pigford claimants from foreclosure on loans during the claims process.

We have worked in the House and Senate to secure these important provisions and appreciate your support for including this provision in your respective chamber's version of the farm bill. We urge that the provisions be included in the final conference report. We know you agree that the Pigford settlement was an important first step in righting nearly two decades of discrimination by the USDA - - and that this provision will continue that work.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama  U.S. Senator,  Artur Davis U.S. Representative

Bennie G. Thompson U.S. Representative,

G. K. Butterfield U.S. Representative

Jim Clyburn U.S. Representative

Robert C. "Bobby" Scott U.S. Representative 

Obama Statement on the Marion VA Medical Center Reports


Monday, January 28, 2008


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
CONTACT: Michael Ortiz, 202 228 5566

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement after the publication of two reports by the Department of Veterans Affairs' inspector general and the Veterans Health Administration's medical examiner on unexpected deaths at the Marion VA Medical Center:

"Our veterans should expect nothing less than world class care and treatment at our nation's veterans' facilities. I remain deeply concerned over the unacceptable breakdown that led to these tragic deaths and substandard care at the Marion VA Medical Center.

"These investigations have provided new information about failures in leadership and quality control. However, the VA must provide stronger assurances that these problems aren't occurring elsewhere, and that it has a plan to help the families who have lost loved ones.

"I will continue working with Senator Durbin and the Veterans' Affairs Committee to ensure that the VA adds the necessary safeguards and thoroughly reviews its standards at other facilities throughout the country."

Obama Statement on Ukraine's Commitment to Join NATO

Monday, January 28, 2008


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
CONTACT: Michael Ortiz, 202 228 5566

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement on Ukraine's readiness to advance a Membership Action Plan (MAP) with NATO:

"I welcome the decision by President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and Parliament Chairman Arseny Yatsenyuk to declare Ukraine's readiness to advance a Membership Action Plan (MAP) with NATO.

"The extension of NATO membership to new democracies in Europe has helped create a zone of peace and prosperity across Europe and enhanced NATO's military capability by facilitating contributions from new members. I therefore applaud the Ukrainian leaders' commitment to deepening the democratic reforms required of all NATO members and to undertaking new responsibilities in their relationship with the Alliance. The Ukrainian leadership's determination to foster national unity and consult the Ukrainian people on the question of Ukraine's future in NATO demonstrates the importance they place on national unity and open, democratic debate.

"NATO's upcoming summit in Bucharest in April 2008 is a critical opportunity to continue to build the Europe "whole and free" that has been the goal of all recent U.S. presidents. I call on President Bush and all of NATO's leaders to seize that opportunity."

Obama Joins Boxer, Senators to Introduce Bill to Reverse EPA Global Warming Waiver Decision

Friday, January 25, 2008


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
CONTACT:Peter Rafle (Boxer/EPW), Kate Gilman (Boxer/EPW), or Michael Ortiz (Obama)

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, introduced legislation today that would direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant California a waiver under the Clean Air Act to cut global warming pollution from motor vehicles. 

Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Joseph Lieberman (ID, CT), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), John Kerry (D-MA), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bill Nelson (D-FL.) Barack Obama (D, IL), and Roberts Menendez (D-NJ).

Senator Boxer said, "Administrator Johnson's decision to deny the waiver was not supported by the facts, by the law, by the science, or by precedent. I will use every available tool to ensure that California and the nation are able to reduce the pollution that causes global warming. One of those tools is legislation that essentially overturns Mr. Johnson's actions."

Senator Obama said, "Effectively tackling global warming demands bold and innovative solutions, and given the failure of this Administration to act, California should be allowed to pioneer. I commend Chairman Boxer for her leadership on this bill and on working to eliminate the damaging consequences of climate change around the world."

Senator Feinstein said, "It's become clear that Administrator Johnson's denial of California's waiver was based on politics, not science. Even the EPA's own experts have said that there was a compelling need for action. So, today, Senator Boxer and I have introduced legislation to take this decision out of the hands of the EPA - and allow California to move ahead with curbing tailpipe emissions. Bottom line: I'm committed to protecting California's landmark global warming efforts - and will do everything in my power to ensure that this Administration doesn't stand in the way."

Senator Lieberman said, "The vision and leadership of California, Connecticut, and the other states that have moved to curb global warming pollution from cars should be rewarded by the grant of authority to implement the states' programs. In the wake of the Bush administration's failure to follow federal law and deliver the needed authority, we in Congress must step in with legislation that gives the states the go-ahead to fight climate change."

Senator Clinton said, "It is outrageous that the Bush Administration chose to block the efforts of New York, California and many other states that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. Chairman Boxer's continued oversight on this issue is critically important, and I am proud to join with her in introducing legislation to overturn EPA's wrongheaded decision and allow states to move forward on global warming."

Senator Lautenberg said: "It's bad enough the Bush Administration has been sitting on its hands and done virtually nothing to fight global warming, but now it's trying to block states from taking strong action on their own. Our legislation would work to overturn this misguided decision and allow states like New Jersey and California to continue their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and combat global warming."

Senator Cardin said, "The EPA has clearly chosen to ignore the issue of global warming. It's time that States are allowed to take meaningful action to protect the health of their citizens by reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

Senator Sanders told the EPA administrator, "If you can't do the right thing, at least get out of the way of California, Vermont and other states. If we do not move aggressively, this planet is in danger."

Senator Whitehouse said, "Allowing Rhode Island and all these states to set tough vehicle emissions standards is one of the strongest and most common-sense steps we can take to begin to tackle the enormous challenge of global warming. But once again, this administration has put blind ideology before science; once again, this administration has let politics govern policy; and once again, this administration has taken an action that will directly undermine our efforts to protect our environment and safeguard public health. I applaud Chairman Boxer's commitment to addressing this issue and am proud to cosponsor this important bill."

Senator Kennedy said, "It's extremely unfortunate that the Administration has stood in the way of states' efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. I commend Senator Boxer for her leadership in filing this bill, which is so vital to states like Massachusetts and California which are ready to do the things necessary to curb global warming in spite of the obstacles EPA has set."

Senator Leahy said, "The Bush Administration has been AWOL or worse on air quality issues, and now they even want to undermine states like California and Vermont that are trying to pick up the slack. They won't lead and they won't follow, so the Boxer bill would force them at least to get out of the way and stop obstructing states like ours that are trying to lead on clean air policy."

Senator Dodd said, "The EPA's decision in December to deny the request by California, Connecticut, and 15 other states for the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles was a politically-motivated roadblock erected to stop responsible solutions to the growing problem of global warming. Indeed, evidence suggests that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson ignored the advice of his own climate experts, who recommended that this request be approved. This bill restores those efforts to address one of the most pressing issues of our day. I thank Senator Boxer for her leadership on this issue and am committed to seeing this important piece of legislation passed."

Senator Kerry said, "If the Bush Administration refuses to combat climate change, they at least need to get out of the way when the states do. California needs this waiver, and deserves a lot of credit for meeting an environmental challenge with the reform it demands."

Senator Mikulski said, "The world is facing a climate crisis and we must act now. Maryland and a number of other states have already joined California in setting a higher bar to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles than the federal government has. The country is looking to us for leadership. As we continue to assist our manufacturing industries in making this transition, we need to set the standard so states can do the right thing."

Senator Snowe said, "I am deeply disappointed that the Administration failed to follow the statute outlined in the Clean Air Act that allows California to adopt distinct environmental laws. This is a setback for Maine and as well as our national environmental stewardship. Although I am confident that the court system will ultimately overturn this decision, I am troubled that this Administration has unnecessarily delayed enactment of a strong curtailment of greenhouse gas emissions. This legislation will allow the states to move forward with enacting strong reductions in green house gas emissions filling the void of federal action."

Senator Collins said, "Climate change is one of the most daunting challenges we face and we must develop reasonable solutions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. If states, like my home state of Maine, establish reasonable standards to help address this serious problem, the federal government should not stand in the way."

Senator Nelson said, "The failure of the Bush administration to allow states to clean up auto emissions means that Congress is going to have to step in and pass this legislation."

Sen. Menendez said: "Our planet is in peril and this administration simply refuses to let anyone do very much about it. Under this administration, the EPA is acting like the 'Environmental Pollution Agency'. Since they won't act, states that want to undertake serious efforts to clean our air should not have their hands tied. New Jersey is one of those states and I will stand up for our right to help save our planet. I applaud Chairwoman Boxer for her leadership on this issue."

The bill introduced today directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to grant California's request for the waiver, which will allow California to implement its greenhouse gas emissions standards for motor vehicles. The waiver will also permit other states to adopt California's emissions standards.

Fourteen other states have adopted California's standards, or are in the process of adopting them. Another four are moving toward adopting the California standards. All together, those 19 states represent more than 152,000,000 Americans - a majority of the U.S. population.

About Barack Obama

United States Senator for Illinois

Barack Obama has dedicated his life to public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and leader in the Illinois state Senate. Obama now continues his fight for working families following his recent election to the United States Senate.

Sworn into office January 4, 2005, Senator Obama serves on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which oversees our nation’s health care, schools, employment, and retirement programs. He is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, which plays a vital role in shaping American policy around the world, including our policy in Iraq. And Senator Obama serves on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which is focused on providing our brave veterans with the care and services they deserve. In 2005 and 2006, he served on the Environment and Public Works Committee, which safeguards our environment and provides funding for our highways.

During his eight years in the Illinois state Senate, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. Obama also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama enlisted the support of law enforcement officials to draft legislation requiring the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

Obama is especially proud of being a husband and father of two daughters, Malia, 9 and Sasha, 6. Obama and his wife, Michelle, married in 1992 and live on Chicago’s South Side where they attend Trinity United Church of Christ.

Barack Obama was born on August 4th, 1961, in Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment. In 1991, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review.

* If you have any questions regarding the usage of this photo, please contact Senator Obama’s press office.


News Room

Articles, Press Releases, Speeches and Press Kit

News Articles

Legislators React Angrily to VA Findings

January 30, 2008

MARION - Four Illinois Congressmen have voiced their displeasure with Veterans Administration officials following Monday's release of federal investigation results into 29 deaths the VA Medical Center.

Birth-control Costs in Colleges Soar After Congress' Error

January 26, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Jen Mayekawa temporarily stopped using birth control last spring when she discovered the cost had more than quadrupled, from $11 to $49 per month.

Congress May Track Threat Reduction More Closely

January 14, 2008

WASHINGTON — An omnibus federal funding bill that U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law late last month includes provisions intended to allow Congress to more closely monitor progress in nuclear threat reduction efforts (see GSN, Dec. 21, 2007).


» Read more news articles...

Press Releases

Obama Statement on the Senate's Passage of the Economic Stimulus Package

February 7, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement after the Senate's passage of the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008, H.R. 5140, which passed by a vote of 81 to 16. Yesterday, Senator Obama voted in favor of the economic stimulus package, which was initially blocked by Senate Republicans.

Harkin, Hagel, Obama Take Action to Prevent Suicide Among Active Duty Soldiers

January 31, 2008

Washington, D.C. - As news reports reveal growing numbers of suicide among soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Barack Obama (D-IL) today introduced major legislation aimed at preventing suicide among active duty members of the military. The Senators' bill, the Armed Forces Suicide Prevention Act, would direct the Department of Defense (DoD) to create a comprehensive suicide prevention program including annual training for soldiers, improved instruction for field medics and post deployment assistance. The legislation authorizes six million dollars for implementation of the programs. A companion measure will be introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Leonard Boswell (D-IA).

Obama, Congressmen Call on Agriculture Committee Leaders to include Pigford Provisions in the Farm Bill Conference Report

January 30, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Artur Davis (D-AL), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Jim Clyburn (D-SC), and Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) today sent the following letter to the Senate and House Agriculture Committees' Chairmen and Ranking Members, requesting that they include the Pigford settlement provisions in Farm Bill Conference Report.


» Read more press releases...

Speeches

Obama: Culture in Washington Must Change, Implement Tough Ethics Reform

August 21, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor in support of the Honest Government and Leadership Act. This legislation would provide increased transparency and accountability, reduce the influence of lobbyists and special interests, and bring about the concrete changes we need in Washington. In January, Obama joined with Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) to introduce Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act, which set a standard for strong ethics legislation this Congress.

Obama Initiative Would Revisit Radical Changes to Immigration System in Five Years

June 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Barack Obama today delivered the following statement on the Senate floor on an amendment to the immigration reform bill he introduced with Senators Menendez and Feingold to sunset the points system to obtain citizenship after 5 years:

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama on the Iraq War

March 21, 2007

On Thursdays, Senator Durbin and I hold a constituent coffee so we can hear from the folks back home. A young man came a few months ago who was about 25, 26 years old. He had been back from Iraq for a year. The first months of that year he spent in a coma. An explosion had shattered his face, blinded him in both eyes, and has left him without the use of one arm.


» Read more speeches...

Press Kit

Right click and choose "Save As...." for each.

Obama Statement on the Senate's Passage of the Economic Stimulus Package
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Harkin, Hagel, Obama Take Action to Prevent Suicide Among Active Duty Soldiers
Read more >>

Obama, Congressmen Call on Agriculture Committee Leaders to include Pigford Provisions in the Farm Bill Conference Report
Read more >>

Obama Statement on the Marion VA Medical Center Reports
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Obama Statement on Ukraine's Commitment to Join NATO
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Obama Joins Boxer, Senators to Introduce Bill to Reverse EPA Global Warming Waiver Decision
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Schlussel: Should Barack Hussein Obama be president "when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam"?

In a December 18 column headlined "Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim" and posted on her website, right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel argued that because Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) middle name is Hussein, his late, estranged father was of Muslim descent, and he has shown interest in his father's Kenyan heritage, Obama's "loyalties" must be called into question as he emerges as a possible Democratic presidential candidate. In the column, Schlussel asked: "So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian ... is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?" She ended her column by asking if Obama becoming vice president instead would be acceptable. Answering her own question, she wrote: "NO WAY, JOSE ... Or, is that, HUSSEIN?"

In questioning Obama's "loyalties," Schlussel immediately noted his middle name and then pointed to several "items in his background." First, she wrote that Obama's father was "apparently a Muslim." She went on to note that his mother's second husband was an Indonesian man, whom Schlussel described as "likely a Muslim." She also brought up a March 3, 2004, Salon.com article by Scott Turow which noted that Obama attended a Muslim school while living in Indonesia. But in citing these "items" as evidence of Obama's Muslim leanings, Schlussel ignored several pertinent facts. First, she left out that Turow made clear in his 2004 article that, during his time in Indonesia, Obama transferred to a Catholic school:

[T]he new family moved to Djakarta, where Obama's sister Maya was born. (Obama describes her looks as those "of a Latin queen.")

After two years in a Muslim school, then two more in a Catholic school, Obama was sent by his mother back to her parents' home so that he could attend Hawaii's esteemed Punahou Academy.

Schlussel also left out Obama's assertions in the past that both his father and stepfather were "non-practicing" Muslims. From an April 5, 2004, Chicago Sun-Timesarticle:

Obama describes his father, after whom he is named, as "agnostic." His paternal grandfather was a Muslim. His mother, he says, was a Christian.

[...]

When he was 6 years old, after his parents divorced, Obama moved with his mother and her new husband -- a non-practicing Muslim -- to Indonesia, where he lived until he was 10 and attended a Roman Catholic school.

"I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country, so I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and, at night, you'd hear the [Muslim] prayer call," Obama recalls. "My mother was a deeply spiritual person and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions and talk to me about them.

Schlussel's column fits into a larger pattern in the recent media coverage and commentary regarding Obama. Indeed, like Schlussel -- who has repeatedlyappeared on MSNBC in the past -- numerous media figures have gone out of their way to highlight Obama's middle name in recent weeks:

  • During MSNBC's special election coverage on November 7, co-anchor Chris Matthews remarked that Obama's "middle name is Hussein" and suggested that it would "be interesting down the road."
  • On November 27, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson referred to radio host Bill Press as "a true member of the Barack Hussein Obama fan club."
  • During the November 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Republican strategist Ed Rogers referred to "Barack Hussein Obama."
  • On the December 5 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, senior political correspondent Carl Cameron told viewers: "Though he's written two books about himself already, most people know very little about Barack Hussein Obama Junior's uncommonly privileged life."
  • On the December 11 edition of CNN's Situation Room, correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that "[o]nly one little consonant differentiates" Obama and Osama. She then added, "[A]s if that similarity weren't enough. How about sharing the name of a former dictator? You know his middle name, Hussein."
  • On the December 11 edition of The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Jeff Greenfield compared the similarity of Obama's "business casual" clothing to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "jacket-and-no-tie look." Greenfield concluded the segment by saying: "Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread." He later explained on the CNN website that he was making "a joke."
  • On December 13, Matthews teased another interview with Rogers by describing the strategist as "the one who just loves Barack Obama's middle name Hussein."
  • On the December 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh gave Obama a "nickname" -- "Barack Hussein Odumbo" (in reference to Obama's "big ears").
  • On the December 14 edition of Hardball, NBC's Mike Viqueira announced "a man named Barack Obama, whose middle name, incidentally, is Hussein, running for president."

According to Schlussel's online bio, she claims "unique expertise on radical Islam/Islamic terrorism and a host of other issues" and that her "online fan club is the Internet's second largest for a political personality -- behind only Ann Coulter."

From Schlussel's December 18 column:

Many months ago, readers began asking me whether Barack Obama is Muslim. Since he identifies as a Christian, I said, "no," and responded that he was not raised by his Kenyan father.

But, then, I decided to look further into Obama's background. His full name -- as by now you have probably heard -- is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Hussein is a Muslim name, which comes from the name of Ali's son -- Hussein Ibn Ali. And Obama is named after his late Kenyan father, the late Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., apparently a Muslim.

And while Obama may not identify as a Muslim, that's not how the Arab and Muslim Streets see it. In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not.

Then, there are the other items in his background. As best-selling author Scott Turow wrote in Salon, Obama went to a Muslim school for two years in Indonesia. His mother, Anna, married an Indonesian man (likely another Muslim, as Indonesia is Muslim-dominated and has the largest Islamic population in the world).

And Obama has a "born-again" affinity for the nation of his Muslim father, Kenya, and his Kenyan sister. (Although Kenya is largely Christian, it has a fast-growing Muslim population that has engaged in a good deal of religious violence and riots against Christians. And Kenyan courts will apply Sharia law, when the participants are Muslim.) Wrote Turow:

Obama's father died in a traffic accident in Nairobi in 1982, but while Obama was working in Chicago, he met his Kenyan sister, Auma, a linguist educated in Germany who was visiting the United States. When she returned to Kenya in 1986 to teach for a year at the University of Nairobi, Obama finally made the trip to his father's homeland he had long promised himself. There, he managed to fully embrace a heritage and a family he'd never fully known and come to terms with his father, whom he'd long regarded as an august foreign prince, but now realized was a human being burdened by his own illusions and vulnerabilities.

So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian, and even if he despised the behavior of his father (as Obama said on Oprah); is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?

Is that even the man we'd want to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency, if Hillary Clinton offers him the Vice Presidential candidacy on her ticket (which he certainly wouldn't turn down)?

NO WAY, JOSE ... Or, is that, HUSSEIN?

—J.K.

Barack Obama - U.S. Senator for Illinois

Official site includes biographical material, latest news, constituent services, upcoming events, photo gallery, information for visiting DC, ...
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Barack Obama

YES WE CAN
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYwfi3_KyAw&NR=1
www.yeswecansong.com

www.abcnews.com/entertainment


The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama has blended political savvy and personal charm to take him from the streets of Harlem and Chicago to the floor of the U.S. Senate. Previously he spent seven years in the Illinois legislature. --AP


Yes We Can Obama Song by will.i.am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fZHou18Cdk&eurl=
http://www.barackobama.com/index.php


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http://www.myspace.com/jarellperrymusic So I have to admit will.i.am's interpretation of Barack Obama's breakthrough speech was definitely inspiring(more)
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Yes We Can Song by Hollywood stars produced by Will.I.Am. Vote for change, vote for hope, vote for barack obama http:/ (more)
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Barack Obama



Barack Hussein Obama (pronounced /b?'???k hu'se?n o?'b??m?/;[1] born August 4,1961) is the junior United States Senator from Illinois and a leading candidate for theDemocratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.[2][3] 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.[4]

Obama was born in Honolulu to a black Kenyan father and a white American mother. He lived most of his early life in the U.S. state of Hawaii. From ages six to ten, he lived in JakartaIndonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. A graduate ofColumbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizerUniversity of Chicago lecturer, and civil rights lawyer before running forpublic 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.[5] He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote.[6] As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, Obama co-sponsored legislation for controllingconventional weapons and for promoting transparency in public life; in addition, he made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In the 110th, and current, Congress, he has sponsored legislation on lobbying and electoral fraud,climate changenuclear 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 providinguniversal health care as major priorities.[7] 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.[8]




D-DAY: 

Super Tuesday underway in the US

Neil Varcoe with AAP 

/02/2008 7:31:00 AM.

The biggest day ever in US presidential nominating contests is well underway, with Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a close fight, and Republican John McCain claiming for a knockout blow against Mitt Romney.

Twenty-four of the 50 states are holding nominating contests for one or both parties on 'Super Tuesday,' yielding a huge haul of delegates to this summer's nominating conventions to choose the candidates for the November presidential election.

Clinton’s trying to hold off a late surge by Obama, who is cut into her once commanding leads in opinion polls nationally, and in some states in the coast-to-coast voting.

More than half the total Democratic delegates and about 40 per cent of the Republican delegates are up for grabs.

Georgia is the first state to end voting at 11 o'clock (AEDT)



The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

by Barack Obama - Biography & Autobiography - 2006 - 375 pages
He also writes, with surprising intimacy and self-deprecating humor, about settling in
as a senator, seeking to balance the demands of public service and...
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library -More editions

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

by Barack Obama - Social Science - 2006 - 691 pages
This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from
which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and...
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Barack Obama in His Own Words

Barack Obama in His Own Words

by Barack Obama - Political Science - 2007 - 224 pages
Barack Obama in His Own Words, a book of quotes from the Illinois Senator, allows those
who aren't as familiar with his politics to learn quickly where he...
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Barack Obama: Speeches 2002-2006

Barack Obama: Speeches 2002-2006

by Barack Obama, Maureen Harrison, Steve Gilbert - Political Science - 2007 - 167 pages
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

Lobbying Reform: Congressional Ethics in the Wake of Scandal : Does the ...

by Trent Lott, Barack Obama, Congressional Digest Corporation - 2006
"A pro & con monthly."
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

Otieno jarieko

by Barack H. Obama - Luo language (Kenya and Tanzania) - 1959
Title from cover; English title: Otieno, the wise man.
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

Hoffnung Wagen: Gedanken zur Rückbesinnung auf den American Dream

by Barack Obama - 2007 - 450 pages
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

L'audacia della speranza. Il sogno americano per un mondo nuovo

by Barack Obama - 2007 - 366 pages
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

I sogni di mio padre. Un racconto sulla razza e l'eredità

by Barack Obama - 2007 - 460 pages
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

Ein amerikanischer Traum: Die Geschichte meiner Familie

by Barack Obama - 2008 - 448 pages
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

L' audace d'espérer une nouvelle conception de la politique américaine

by Barack Obama - 2007
No preview available - About this book - Add to my library

For Obama, the good outweighs the bad

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

NEW YORK — For Barack Obama, it comes down to this question: Can he exploit his potent fundraising advantage and impressive momentum to seal the deal within the next three weeks?

Because if he cannot, his hopes for the Democratic presidential nomination could slip out of reach.

In this primary race, each statement is as true as its opposite. So Mr. Obama had a bad night on Super Tuesday. And he had a good night, too.

Bad night: Mr. Obama's surging popularity crashed against the rocks of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and California. Senator Hillary Clinton won all of these big states, though not necessarily by large margins. She will take away bragging rights and delegates, though not many more than Mr. Obama, since the Democrats largely apportion delegates based on the percentage of the popular vote that each candidate obtains.

Mr. Obama learned that Latino voters, women voters and lower-income voters remain skeptical of his youthful, idealistic message. He simply must win more of them over, if he is to secure the nomination.

Good night: Mr. Obama nonetheless did very well, taking 13 states to Ms. Clinton's eight, and roughly splitting both the national popular vote and the delegate count.

For a candidate who, as late as last month, trailed by double digits in many polls, this is a tremendous result.

In fact, over all, the good outweighs the bad for Mr. Obama, because February should be a very rewarding month.

First of all, money is starting to matter in this race.

The Obama campaign took in more than twice as much in donations as the Clinton campaign in January: $32-million (U.S.) to $13.5-million, plus Ms. Clinton lent her campaign an additional $5-million in January. Despite that, the Associated Press reports that some senior staff are going voluntarily without pay. Ms. Clinton's strong showing on Super Tuesday may help out her fundraising effort but Mr. Obama's Internet campaign of raising funds from individual donors is paying huge dividends and could significantly influence the outcome.

Second, the shape of the race should favour Mr. Obama. He has demonstrated that the more time he has to introduce himself to voters in a state, the better he does there. Mr. Obama made a highly publicized visit to Kansas last week to remind voters that this was where his mother was born. On Super Tuesday, he won Kansas by an astounding 73 per cent to 25 per cent. He made a single visit to Idaho, and took Idaho 79 per cent to 17 per cent.

There were other factors in play as well, but it remains true that the more face time Mr. Obama can manage with voters, the better he does.

So Mr. Obama will be canvassing the upcoming states intensively. And his prospects in those states are very encouraging.

Louisiana votes Saturday. In previous states, blacks have supported Mr. Obama over Ms. Clinton by ratios of 4 to 1 or more, and Louisiana has the second-largest black population, proportionately, in the United States. Louisiana must be accounted an Obama state.

Nebraska and Washington also vote Saturday, and Maine follows on Sunday. Demographically, the odds are better for Ms. Clinton in these states. But all three states are holding caucuses, in which voters must attend meetings and choose publicly, rather than primaries, where they simply cast ballots. Mr. Obama has shown amazing organizational strength and popular support in states that hold caucuses, taking six out of seven contests thus far (with New Mexico still too close to call). So he could sweep the board this weekend.

On Tuesday, Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia vote.

Again, all three states have large black populations, so Mr. Obama should also do well there.

Hawaii and Wisconsin vote Feb. 19. Mr. Obama was raised in Hawaii, which should help. Wisconsin is an important state; previous candidacies have been wrecked and rescued by it. Both sides say the result could be very close, but those who know the state says its upper-income Democratic demographic favours Mr. Obama.

Finally, there is the question of momentum. Mr. Obama has had a lot of it, since December. It helped him to greatly reduce the enormous leads that Ms. Clinton once enjoyed in both national and state polls. There is no reason to believe that Super Tuesday's ambiguous results will undermine that momentum, provided he can follow it up with a string of February wins.

But then March arrives, and things get tougher. On March 4, Texas and Ohio vote, among others, with 389 delegates between them. Thirty-five per cent of Texas's population is Hispanic, and the Latino vote has been breaking heavily in Ms. Clinton's favour. Blacks make up only 12 per cent of Ohio's population, so Mr. Obama will need to court the broader population. The next big state is Pennsylvania on April 22, and since Ms. Clinton took New York and New Jersey, Pennsylvania should be hers, too.

Of course, by then the dynamic of this campaign will have changed and changed again. But this broad-brush prediction can at least be hazarded: If Mr. Obama can exploit assets and circumstances in February to make his victory seem inevitable, it might become that. Otherwise, Ms. Clinton could snatch the inevitable for herself in March and April.

Of course, it is entirely possible that neither candidate will pull far enough ahead of the other to secure the nomination, leading to a brokered convention in Denver at the end of August. In which case, consider this: The Democratic National Committee stripped both Michigan and Florida of their delegates because they held their primaries in advance of Super Tuesday.

Nonetheless, votes were held, even though none of the candidates campaigned there, with Ms. Clinton winning both states.

Just how much pressure can we expect the Clinton camp to apply to the DNC to seat those delegates? And how much pressure will the Obama camp apply to keep them out? What are the chances that both states will hold new primaries, rather than go unrepresented at what could be the most contentious Democratic convention since 1968?

The lawyers must be rubbing their hands.

LIVENEWS.com.a


Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 22005
Serving with Richard Durbin
Preceded by Peter Fitzgerald

Member of the Illinois State Senate
from the 13th district
In office
1997 – 2004
Succeeded by Kwame Raoul

Born August 41961 (age 46)
HonoluluHawaiiU.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse Michelle Obama
Alma mater Columbia University,
Harvard Law School
Religion Christian (United Church of Christ)
Signature Barack Obama's signature

Early life and career

See also: Dreams from My Father

Obama was born on August 41961 in HonoluluHawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. (born in Nyanza ProvinceKenya, of Luo ethnicity) and Ann Dunham (born in WichitaKansas).[9] Throughout his early years, he was commonly known at home and school as "Barry".[10] Obama's parents met while both were attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was enrolled as a foreign student.[11] They separated when he was two years old and later divorced.[12] His father went to Harvard University to pursue Ph.D. studies, then returned to Kenya, where he died in an auto accident in 1982.[13] His mother married another foreign student, Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Soetoro's home country of Indonesia in 1967.[14] Obama attended local schools in Jakarta from ages 6 to 10, where classes were taught in the Indonesian language.[15][16] He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, while attending Punahou School from the fifth grade until his graduation in 1979.[17] Obama's mother died of ovarian cancer a few months after the publication of his 1995 memoirDreams from My Father.[18]

In the memoir, Obama describes his experiences growing up in his mother's American middle class family. His knowledge about his African father, who returned once for a brief visit in 1971, came mainly through family stories and photographs.[13] Of his early childhood, Obama writes: "That my father looked nothing like the people around me—that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk—barely registered in my mind."[19] The book describes his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage.[20] He wrote that he usedalcoholmarijuana, and cocaine during his teenage years to "push questions of who I was out of my mind".[21]

After high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied atOccidental College for two years.[22] He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations.[23] Obama received his B.A.degree in 1983, then worked at Business International Corporation andNYPIRG before moving to Chicago to take a job as a community organizer.[24] 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.[25] He entered Harvard Law School in 1988.[26] In 1990, The New York Times reported his election as the Harvard Law Review's "first black president in its 104-year history".[27] He completed his J.D. degree magna cum laude in 1991.[28] On returning to Chicago, Obama directed a voter registration drive.[28] As an associate attorney with Miner, Barnhill & Galland from 1993 to 1996, he represented community organizers, discriminationclaims, and voting rights cases.[29] He was a lecturer of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1993 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004.[30]


State legislature


In 1996, Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate to serve the state's 13th District in the south side Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park.[31] 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.[32] He was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998 and 2002, officially resigning in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate.[33] As a state legislator, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws.[34] He sponsored a law enhancing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for child care.[35] Obama also led the passage of legislation mandating videotaping of homicide interrogations, and a law to monitorracial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they stopped.[35]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.[36]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.[37]

Keynote address at 2004 Democratic National Convention


See also: 2004 Democratic National Convention

Obama wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in BostonMassachusetts, while still serving as a state legislator.[38] 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.[39]

Questioning the Bush administration's management of the Iraq War, Obama spoke of an enlisted Marine, Corporal Seamus Ahern from East MolineIllinois, 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.[39]

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 our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.[39]

The speech was Obama's introduction to most of America. Its enthusiastic reception at the convention and widespread coverage by national media gave him instant celebrity status.[40]

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 trailedmultimillionaire businessman Blair Hull and Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes.[41]However, Hull's popularity declined following allegations of domestic abuse.[41]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 andChicago Sun-Times.[42][dead link][43] Obama received over 52% of the vote in the March 2004 primary, emerging 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival.[44] 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'sex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan.[45] In August 2004, with less than three months to go before election dayAlan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan.[46] A long-time resident of Maryland, Keyes established legal residency in Illinois with the nomination.[47] Through three televised debates, Obama and Keyes expressed opposing views on stem cell researchabortiongun control,school vouchers, and tax cuts.[48] In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%, the largest electoral victory in Illinois history.[49]

Senate career


Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 42005.[50] 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.[51]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 economistKaren Kornbluh, former deputy chief of staff to Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, as his policy director.[52] His key foreign policy advisers include Samantha Power, author on human rights and genocide, and former Clinton administrationofficials Anthony Lake and Susan Rice.[53] Obama holds assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign RelationsHealth, Education, Labor and PensionsHomeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans' Affairs, and he is a member of theCongressional Black Caucus.[54] Obama has consistently opposed the Iraq War.

109th Congress


Obama took an active role in the Senate's drive for improved border security andimmigration reform. In 2005, he co-sponsored the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).[56] 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.[57] In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act, authorizing construction of fencing and other security improvements along the Mexico–United States border.[58] President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law in October 2006, calling it "an important step toward immigration reform."[59]

Partnering first with Sen. Richard 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 toconventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines.[60]The "Coburn-Obama Transparency Act" provides for a web site, managed by theOffice of Management and Budget, listing all organizations receiving Federal fundsfrom 2007 onward, and providing breakdowns by the agency allocating the funds, the dollar amount given, and the purpose of the grant or contract.[61] 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.[62]

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 weaponsbiological weapons, and weapons of mass destruction as a first defense against potential terrorist attacks.[63] Following meetings with U.S. military in Kuwait and Iraq in January 2006, Obama visited JordanIsrael, and thePalestinian territories. At a meeting with Palestinian students two weeks beforeHamas 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."[64] He left for his third official trip in August 2006, traveling toSouth AfricaKenyaDjiboutiEthiopia and Chad. In a nationally televised speech at the University of Nairobi, he spoke forcefully on the influence of ethnic rivalries andcorruption in Kenya.[65] The speech touched off a public debate among rival leaders, some formally challenging Obama's remarks as unfair and improper, others defending his positions.[66]

110th Congress

In the first month of the newly Democratic-controlled 110th Congress, Obama worked with Russ Feingold (DWI) to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets bylobbyists 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.[67] He joined Charles 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.[68] Obama's energy initiatives scored pluses and minuses withenvironmentalists, who welcomed his sponsorship with John McCain (R-AZ) of aclimate 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.[69] Obama also introduced the "Iraq War De-Escalation Act", a bill to cap troop levels in Iraq, begin phased redeployment, and remove all combat brigades from Iraq before April 2008.[70]

Later in 2007, Obama sponsored with Kit Bond (R-MO) an amendment to the 2008Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges, and calling for a review by the Government Accountability Officefollowing reports that the procedure had been used inappropriately to reduce government costs.[71][dead link] He sponsored the "Iran Sanctions Enabling Act" supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry,[72] 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.[73] 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.[74] 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."[75]

Presidential campaign


Obama on stage with his wife and two daughters just before announcing his presidential campaign on February 10, 2007.
Obama on stage with his wife and two daughters just before announcing his presidential campaign on February 10,2007.[76]

In February 2007, standing before the Old State Capitol building in SpringfieldIllinois, Obama announced his candidacy for the2008 U.S. presidential election.[2]Describing his working life in Illinois, and symbolically linking his presidential campaign to Abraham Lincoln's 1858 House Divided speech, Obama said: "That is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America."[77] Speaking at a Democratic National Committee meeting one week before the February announcement, Obama called for putting an end to negative campaigning. "This can't be about who digs up more skeletons on who, who makes the fewest slip-ups on the campaign trail," he said. "We owe it to the American people to do more than that."[78]

Obama's campaign raised US$58 million during the first half of 2007, topping all other candidates and exceeding previous records for the first six months of any year before an election year.[79] Small donors, those contributing in increments of less than $200, accounted for $16.4 million of Obama's record-breaking total, more than for any other Democratic candidate.[80] His campaign reported adding 108,000 new donors through third quarter fundraising, for a total of 365,000 individual contributors in the first nine months.[81] Amid concerns for his safety as,the first black candidate seen as having a viable chance of being elected president, the U.S. governmentassigned Secret Service protection to Obama 18 months before the general election.[82]

With two months remaining before the Iowa Democratic caucuses and New Hampshire Democratic primary, 2008, and nationalopinion polls showing him trailing Hillary Clinton, Obama began directly charging his top rival with failing to clearly state her political positions.[83] Campaigning in Iowa, he told the Washington Post that as the Democratic nominee he would draw more support than Clinton from independent and Republican voters in the general election.[84] At Iowa's Jefferson-Jacksonfundraising dinner in November 2007, he expanded the theme, saying that his presidency would "bring the country together in a new majority" to seek solutions to long-standing problems.[85] In January 2008, Obama won the Iowa caucuswith 37.58% support, ahead of 29.75% forJohn Edwards and 29.47% for Clinton.[86]His Iowa lead was boosted by majority support from a record turnout of voters under 30 years old, most of them first-time caucus goers.[87] Five days later, Clinton won the New Hampshire primary with 39% of the vote to Obama's 37%.[88]

On January 26, 2008, Barack Obama easily defeated top rival Hillary Clinton in theSouth Carolina Democratic primary, in a victory that could reinvigorate his campaign after losing New Hampshire by a slight margin to Hillary Clinton, the New York senator. Fox News says, "Returns showed Clinton leading former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards for second place, but Obama held on to a gaping lead. The final results had Obama with 55%, Clinton with 27% and Edwards with 18%."[89] Senator Obama attained the endorsement of former Reagan speechwriter Jeffrey Hart.[90]

Political advocacy

See also: Political positions of Barack Obama
Obama speaking at a rally in Conway, South Carolina on August 23, 2007.
Obama speaking at a rally in Conway, South Carolina on August 23,2007.[91]




On the role of government in economic affairs, Obama has written: "We should be asking ourselves what mix of policies will lead to a dynamic free market and widespread economic security, entrepreneurial innovation and upward mobility [...] we should be guided by what works."[92] Speaking before the National Press Club in April 2005, he defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, associating Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security withsocial Darwinism.[93] In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Obama spoke out against government indifference to growing economic class divisions, calling on both political parties to take action to restore the social safety net for the poor.[94] Shortly before announcing his presidential campaign, Obama told the health care advocacy groupFamilies USA: "I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country."[95]

Meeting with Google employees in November 2007, Obama pledged to appoint aChief Technology Officer to oversee the U.S. government's management of ITresources and promote wider access to government information and decision making.[96] Reaffirming his commitment to net neutrality legislation, Obama said "once providers start to privilege some applications or web sites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out, and we all lose."[97] Campaigning in New Hampshire, he announced an $18 billion plan for investments in early childhood education, math and science education, and expanded summer learning opportunities.[98] Obama's campaign distinguished his proposals to reward teachers for performance from traditional merit pay systems, assuring unions that changes would be pursued through the collective bargaining process.[99]

At the Tax Policy Center in September 2007, he blamed special interests for distorting the U.S. tax code. "We are taxing income from work at nearly twice the level that we're taxing gains for investors," Obama said. "We've lost the balance between work and wealth."[100] His plan would eliminate taxes for senior citizens with incomes of less than $50,000 a year, repeal tax cuts said to favor the wealthy, closecorporate tax loopholes and restrict offshore tax havens, and simplify filing of income tax returns by pre-filling wage and bank information already collected by theIRS.[101] Announcing his presidential campaign's energy plan in October 2007, Obama said: "Businesses don’t own the sky, the public does, and if we want them to stop polluting it, we have to put a price on all pollution." He proposed a cap and tradeauction system to restrict carbon emissions and a 10 year program of investments in new energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.[102]

Obama was an early critic of Bush administration policies on Iraq.[103] On October 2,2002, the day Bush and Congress agreed on a joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War,[104] Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally inFederal Plaza,[105] saying:

I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars.[106]

On March 172003, the day Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq before the U.S. invasion of Iraq,[107] Obama addressed the largest Chicago anti-Iraq War rally to date in Daley Plaza and told the crowd "It's not too late" to stop the war, though many demonstrators conceded that war appeared inevitable.[108]

Obama sought to make his early public opposition to the Iraq War before it started a major issue, to distinguish himself from his Democratic primary rivals in his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign who supported the resolution authorizing the Iraq War,[109]and in his 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign to distinguish himself from four Democratic primary rivals who voted for the resolution authorizing the Iraq War (Sen. Hillary ClintonSen. Joe BidenSen. Chris Dodd, and former Sen. John Edwards).[110]

Speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in November 2006, Obama called for a "phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq" and an opening of diplomatic dialogue with Syria and Iran.[111] In a March 2007 speech to AIPAC, a pro-Israellobby, he said that while the U.S. "should take no option, including military action, off the table, sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions should be our primary means to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons."[112] Detailing his strategy for fighting global terrorism in August 2007, Obama said "it was a terrible mistake to fail to act" against a 2005 meeting of al-Qaeda leaders that U.S. intelligence had confirmed to be taking place in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He said that as president he would not miss a similar opportunity, even without the support of the Pakistani government.[113]

Obama addressed the Save Darfur rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2006.
Obama addressed the Save Darfur rally at the National Mallin Washington, D.C. on April 30,2006.[114]

In a December 2005Washington Post opinion column, and at the Save Darfurrally in April 2006, Obama called for more assertive action to oppose genocide in theDarfur region of Sudan.[115] He has divested $180,000 in personal holdings of Sudan-related stock, and has urged divestment from companies doing business in Iran.[116] In the July-August 2007 issue ofForeign Affairs, Obama called for an outward looking post-Iraq War foreign policy and the renewal of American military, diplomatic, and moral leadership in the world. Saying "we can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission," he called on Americans to "lead the world, by deed and by example."[117]

Obama has encouraged Democrats to reach out toevangelicals and other religious people, saying, "if we truly hope to speak to people where they’re at—to communicate our hopes and values in a way that’s relevant to their own—we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse."[118] In December 2006, he joined Sen.Sam Brownback (R-KS) at the "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" organized by church leaders Kay and Rick Warren.[119] Together with Warren and Brownback, Obama took an HIV test, as he had done in Kenya less than four months earlier.[120] He encouraged "others in public life to do the same" to show "there is no shame in going for an HIV test."[121] Before the conference, 18 pro-life groups published an open letterstating, in reference to Obama's support for legal abortion: "In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren's decision to ignore Senator Obama's clear pro-death stance and invite him toSaddleback Churchanyway."[122] Addressing over 8,000 United Church of Christmembers in June 2007, Obama challenged "so-called leaders of the Christian Right" for being "all too eager to exploit what divides us."[123]

Personal life


Obama (middle) playing basketball with U.S. military service members from Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa during his visit at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, on August 31, 2006
Obama (middle) playing basketball with U.S. military service members fromCombined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africaduring his visit at Camp LemonierDjibouti, onAugust 312006

Obama met his wife,Michelle Robinson, in 1988 when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicagolaw firm of Sidley Austin.[124] Assigned for three months as Obama's advisor at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial offers todate.[125] They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married in October 1992.[126] The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1999, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001.[127]Applying the proceeds of a $2 million book deal, the family paid off debts in 2005 and moved from a Hyde Park, Chicagocondominium to their current $1.6-million house in neighboringKenwood.[128] The house purchase and subsequent acquisition of an adjoining strip of land drew media scrutiny in November 2006 because of financial links with controversial Illinois businessman Antoin Rezko.[129][130]

Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team.[131][132] Before announcing his presidential candidacy, he began a well-publicized effort to quit smoking. "I've never been a heavy smoker," Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "I've quit periodically over the last several years. I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I do not succumb. I've been chewing Nicorettestrenuously."[133]Replying to anAssociated Press survey of 2008 presidential candidates' personal tastes, he specified "architect" as his alternate career choice and "chili" as his favorite meal to cook.[134]Asked to name a "hidden talent," Obama answered: "I'm a pretty good poker player."[135]

A theme of Obama's keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and the title of his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, was inspired by his pastor, Rev.Jeremiah Wright.[136] In Chapter 6 of the book, titled "Faith," Obama writes that he "was not raised in a religious household." He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents, as detached from religion, yet "in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known." He describes his Kenyan father as "raised a Muslim," but a "confirmed atheist" by the time his parents met, and his Indonesian stepfather as "a man who saw religion as not particularly useful." The chapter details how Obama, in his twenties, while working with local churches as acommunity organizer, came to understand "the power of the African American religious tradition to spur social change." Obama writes: "It was because of these newfound understandings—that religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking, disengage from the battle for economic andsocial justice, or otherwise retreat from the world that I knew and loved—that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christone day and be baptized."[137] He has been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ for over twenty years.

As of March 2007, theWashington Postestimated that Barack Obama was the least wealthy of the major 2008 Presidential candidates, with a net worth of between $1 and $2.5 million, depending on the ultimate sales figures for Obama's book The Audacity of Hope.[138] Obama's half sister has also joined his campaign[139]

Books


The Audacity of Hope
The Audacity of Hope

Obama has written two bestselling books. The first, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, was published after his graduation from law school and before running for public office. In it he recalls his childhood in Honoluluand Jakarta, college years in Los Angelesand New York City, and his employment as a community organizer inChicago in the 1980s. The book's last chapters describe his first visit to Kenya, a journey to connect with his Luofamily and heritage. In his preface to the 2004 revised edition, Obama explains that he had hoped the story of his family "might speak in some way to the fissures of race that have characterized the American experience, as well as the fluid state of identity—the leaps through time, the collision of cultures—that mark our modern life."[140] Timemagazine's Joe Kleinwrote that the book "may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."[141] Theaudiobook edition earned Obama the 2006Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.[142]

His second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was published in October 2006, three weeks before the 2006midterm election. It was an immediate bestseller and rose to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list by early November 2006.[143]The Chicago Tribunecredits the large crowds that gathered at book signings with influencing Obama's decision to run for president.[144]Former presidential candidate Gary Hartdescribes the book as Obama's "thesis submission" for the U.S. presidency: "It presents a man of relative youth yet maturity, a wise observer of the human condition, a figure who possesses perseverance and writing skills that have flashes of grandeur."[145]Reviewer Michael Tomasky writes that it does not contain "boldly innovative policy prescriptions that will lead the Democrats out of their wilderness," but does show Obama's potential to "construct a new politics that is progressive but grounded in civic traditions that speak to a wider range of Americans."[146] An Italian translation was published in April 2007 with a preface by Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Romeand leader of Italy'sDemocratic Party.[147]Spanish and German editions were published in June 2007.[148]

Cultural and political image


Obama has written two bestselling books. The first, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, was published after his graduation from law school and before running for public office. In it he recalls his childhood in Honoluluand Jakarta, college years in Los Angelesand New York City, and his employment as a community organizer inChicago in the 1980s. The book's last chapters describe his first visit to Kenya, a journey to connect with his Luofamily and heritage. In his preface to the 2004 revised edition, Obama explains that he had hoped the story of his family "might speak in some way to the fissures of race that have characterized the American experience, as well as the fluid state of identity—the leaps through time, the collision of cultures—that mark our modern life."[140] Timemagazine's Joe Kleinwrote that the book "may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."[141] Theaudiobook edition earned Obama the 2006Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.[142]

His second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was published in October 2006, three weeks before the 2006midterm election. It was an immediate bestseller and rose to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list by early November 2006.[143]The Chicago Tribunecredits the large crowds that gathered at book signings with influencing Obama's decision to run for president.[144]Former presidential candidate Gary Hartdescribes the book as Obama's "thesis submission" for the U.S. presidency: "It presents a man of relative youth yet maturity, a wise observer of the human condition, a figure who possesses perseverance and writing skills that have flashes of grandeur."[145]Reviewer Michael Tomasky writes that it does not contain "boldly innovative policy prescriptions that will lead the Democrats out of their wilderness," but does show Obama's potential to "construct a new politics that is progressive but grounded in civic traditions that speak to a wider range of Americans."[146] An Italian translation was published in April 2007 with a preface by Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Romeand leader of Italy'sDemocratic Party.[147]Spanish and German editions were published in June 2007.[148]

Cultural and political image


Obama supporters at a campaign rally in Austin, Texas, on February 23, 2007.
Obama supporters at a campaign rally in Austin,Texas, on February 23,2007.[149]



Supporters and critics have likened Obama's popular image to a cultural Rorschach test, a neutral persona on whom people can project their personal histories and aspirations.[150][151]Obama's own stories about his family origins reinforce what a May 2004 New Yorkermagazine article described as his "everyman" image.[152]In Dreams from My Father, he ties his maternal family historyto possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives ofJefferson Davis, president of the southern Confederacyduring the American Civil War.[153] Speaking to an elderly Jewishaudience during his 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate, Obama linked the linguistic root of hisEast African first nameBarack to the Hebrewword baruch, meaning "blessed."[154] In an October 2006 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family: "Michelle will tell you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, it's like a little mini-United Nations," he said. "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher. We've got it all."[155]

With his Kenyan father and American mother, his upbringing in Honolulu and Jakarta, and Ivy Leagueeducation, Obama's early life experiences differ markedly from those of African American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement.[156]During his Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Congress in 2000, two rival candidates charged that Obama was not sufficiently rooted in Chicago's black neighborhoods to represent constituents' concerns.[157] In January 2007, The End of Blackness authorDebra Dickerson warned against drawing favorable cultural implications from Obama's political rise. "Lumping us all together," Dickerson wrote in Salon, "erases the significance ofslavery and continuingracism while giving the appearance of progress."[158] Film critic David Ehrenstein, writing in a March 2007Los Angeles Timesarticle, compared the cultural sources of Obama's favorable polling among whites to those of "magical negro" roles played by black actors in Hollywoodmovies.[159] Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is "black enough," Obama told an August 2007 meeting of theNational Association of Black Journalists that the debate is not about his physical appearanceor his record on issues of concern to black voters. "What it really lays bare," Obama offered, is that "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong."[160]

Writing about Obama's political image in a March 2007 Washington Post opinion column,Eugene Robinsoncharacterized him as "the personification ofboth-and," a messenger who rejects "either-or" political choices, and could "move the nation beyond the culture wars" of the 1960s.[161]Obama, who defines himself in The Audacity of Hope as "a Democrat, after all," has been criticized by progressivecommentator David Sirota for demonstrating too much "Senate clubbiness", and was encouraged to run for the U.S. presidency byconservative columnistGeorge Will.[162] But in a December 2006 Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "The Man from Nowhere," formerRonald Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonanadvised Will and other "establishment" commentators to avoid becoming too quickly excited about Obama's still early political career.[163] Echoing theinaugural address of John F. Kennedy, Obama acknowledged his youthful image, saying in an October 2007 campaign speech, "I wouldn't be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation."[164]

Recognition and honors

An October 2005 article in the British journalNew Statesman listed Obama as one of "10 people who could change the world,"[165]the only politician included on the list. In 2005 and again in 2007,Time magazine named him one of "the world's most influential people."[166] During his first three years in the U.S. Senate, Obama received HonoraryDoctorates of Law fromKnox College(2005),[167] University of Massachusetts Boston(2006),[168]Northwestern University(2006),[169] Xavier University of Louisiana(2006),[170] Southern New Hampshire University (2007),[171]and Howard University(2007).[172]

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  35. a b Scott, Janny. "In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd",New York Times,July 302007. Retrieved on2008-01-14.  See also: Pearson, Rick; Ray Long. "Careful Steps, Looking Ahead",Chicago Tribune,May 32007. Retrieved on2008-01-14. 
  36. ^ Youngman, Sam; and Aaron Blake. "Obama’s Crime Votes Are Fodder for Rivals", The Hill,March 142007. Retrieved on2008-01-14.  See also: "US Presidential Candidate Obama Cites Work on State Death Penalty Reforms",Associated Press, International Herald Tribune,November 12,2007. Retrieved on 2008-01-14. 
  37. ^ Zorn, Eric. "Disparagement of Obama Votes Doesn't Hold Up",Chicago Tribune,March 92004. Retrieved on2008-01-14. Archived fromthe original on2007-12-04. "Keyes Assails Obama's Abortion Views",Associated Press, MSNBC, August 9,2004. Retrieved on 2008-01-14. See also: Youngman, Sam. "Abortion Foes Target Obama Because of His Vote Record on Illinois Legislation", The HillFebruary 15,2007. Retrieved on 2008-01-14. 
  38. ^ For details about the speech's genesis and delivery, see: Boss-Bicak, Shira. "Barack Obama ’83: Is He the New Face of The Democratic Party?", Columbia College Today, January 2005. Retrieved on2008-01-14.  See also: Bernstein, David. "The Speech", Chicago Magazine, June 2007. Retrieved on 2008-01-14. 
  39. a b c Obama, Barack. "Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention",BarackObama.com,July 272004. Retrieved on2008-01-14. Video at Brightcove.TV.
  40. ^ Wolf, Richard. "Illinois' Obama Revisits Idea of 2008 Run for White House",USA Today,October 22,2006. Retrieved on 2008-01-14. 
  41. a b Mendell, David. "Obama Routs Democratic Foes; Ryan Tops Crowded GOP Field", Chicago TribuneMarch 172004. Retrieved on2008-01-14. 
  42. ^ Fornek, Scott. "Obama's Appeal Spans Racial Lines", Chicago Sun-Times, at Find Articles,March 182004. Retrieved on2008-01-14. 
  43. ^ Hayes, Christopher. "Check Bounce",TNR Online,March 172004. Retrieved on2008-01-14. [dead link](