BARACK OBAMA

Barack Obama

ABOUT

Prior to winning the 2008 election by a margin of 7 percent over John McCain, Obama was a U.S. Senator representing Illinois for 3 years, and an Illinois state senator for 8 years.

Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago, as an attorney, and a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago.

Obama is the first black American to win the presidency.

ELECTIVE OFFICE

President of the United States, 2009-present; U.S. senator from Illinois, 2005-2008; Illinois state senator, 1996-2004.

FUNDRAISING

Obama's campaign is expected to raise as much as $1 billion for his re-election effort, according to some press reports. But others say he will raise about $750 million, the same as for the 2008 campaign.

By the most recent September 30 reporting date, Obama had raised $124M

SOURCES

Votesmart.org, Des Moines Register archives, Associated Press, BarackObama.com, cbsnews.com, about.com, whitehouse.gov, ballotpedia.org

VITAL STATISTICS

Date of Birth: August 4, 1961

Education:Bachelor's degree, 1983, Columbia University; law degree, 1991, Harvard Law School.

Family:Wife, Michelle; two daughters, Malia and Sasha. Current home: Washington, D.C.

Official Web Site: www.BarackObama.com

TALKING POINTS...

He won the Iowa Democratic caucuses on Jan. 4, 2008, with a weighted percentage of 37.6 percent of the vote. John Edwards came in second, with 29.8 percent, edging Hillary Clinton at 29.5 percent. Obama's strategists had targeted a victory in Iowa as key to building the momentum that would carry him to the White House.

Obama is the first black president of the United States, the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas. He was born in Hawaii, and as a child, he lived for several years in Indonesia.

He vaulted into the public eye as a U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois when he delivered a 17-minute speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 that called for action, unity and hope. "…There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America," he said. He challenged the audience: "Do we participate in a politics of cynicism, or do we participate in a politics of hope?"

His constituencies include gay rights activists, women's rights activists, immigration reform advocates, union leaders, public employees and environmentalists.

His style has engendered criticism. Some charge he's naive, too professorial and at times too cocky, but he won praise for his decisiveness in ordering an assault by Navy Seals that led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." The Norwegian Nobel Committee also "attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons." He continues to proclaim a message of hope on a local and global scale. During a May 2011 commencement speech at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tenn., he told students, "You decided you would not be defined by where you come from but by where you want to go, by what you want to achieve, by the dreams you hope to fulfill."

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