A Political Prophet- Barack Hussein Obama; His story is the American story!
Barack Hussein Obama's story is the American story, the 44th and current President of the United States born on August 4, 1961. He is the first African American to hold the office. On October 8, 2009, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
President Hussein's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was born in Wichita, Kansas, of mostly English, but also some German, descent. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a Luo from Nyang'oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya. Obama is the first President to have been born in Hawaii. Obama's parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where his father was a foreign student on scholarship. The couple married on February 2, 1961, but separated when Obama Sr. went to Harvard University on scholarship, and divorced in 1964. Obama Sr. remarried and returned to Kenya, visiting Barack in Hawaii only once, in 1971. He died in an automobile accident in 1982.
In 1971, Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Armour Dunham, and attended Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, from the fifth grade until his graduation from high school in 1979. Hussein's mother returned to Hawaii in 1972, remaining there until 1977 when she went back to Indonesia to work as an anthropological field worker. She finally returned to Hawaii in 1994 and lived there for one year, before dying of ovarian cancer.
Of his early childhood, Hussein recalled, "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." He described his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage. Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama Hussein wrote: "The opportunity that Hawaii offered—to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect—became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear." Obama has also written and talked about using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine during his teenage years to "push questions of who I was out of my mind." At the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency, Obama identified his high-school drug use as his "greatest moral failure."
Following high school, Obama Hussein moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend Occidental College. In February 1981, he made his first public speech, calling for Occidental's divestment from South Africa. In mid-1981, Obama traveled to Indonesia to visit his mother and sister Maya, and visited the families of college friends in India and Pakistan for three weeks.
Later in 1981 he transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialty in international relations and graduated with a B.A. in 1983. He worked for a year at the Business International Corporation, then at the New York Public Interest Research Group.
In May 2002, Obama Hussein commissioned a poll to assess his prospects in a 2004 U.S. Senate race; he created a campaign committee, began raising funds and lined up political media consultant David Axelrod by August 2002, and formally announced his candidacy in January 2003. Decisions by Republican incumbent Peter Fitzgerald and his Democratic predecessor Carol Moseley Braun not to contest the race launched wide-open Democratic and Republican primary contests involving fifteen candidates. In the March 2004 primary election, Obama won in an unexpected landslide—which overnight made him a rising star within the national Democratic Party, started speculation about a presidential future, and led to the reissue of his memoir, Dreams from My Father.
In July 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts and it was seen by 9.1 million viewers. His speech was well received and elevated his status within the Democratic Party.
Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004. Six weeks later, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan. In the November 2004 general election, Obama won with 70% of the vote.
Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005, at which time he became the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus. CQ Weekly characterized him as a "loyal Democrat" based on analysis of all Senate votes in 2005–2007. The National Journal ranked him among the "most liberal" senators during 2005 through 2007 (the ranking has been criticized by liberal groups such as Media Matters for America). He enjoyed high popularity as senator with a 72% approval in Illinois. Obama announced on November 13, 2008 that he would resign his Senate seat on November 16, 2008, before the start of the lame-duck session, to focus on his transition period for the presidency.
On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for president of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The choice of the announcement site was viewed as symbolic because it was also where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic "House Divided" speech in 1858. Throughout the campaign, Obama emphasized the issues of rapidly ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence and providing universal health care.
A large number of candidates entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries. The field narrowed to a duel between Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton after early contests, with the race remaining close throughout the primary process but with Obama gaining a steady lead in pledged delegates due to better long-range planning, superior fundraising, dominant organizing in caucus states, and better exploitation of delegate allocation rules. On June 3, with all states counted, Obama was named the presumptive nominee and delivered a victory speech in St. Paul, Minnesota. Clinton ended her campaign and endorsed him on June 7, 2008.
Obama proceeded to focus on the general election campaign against Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, in the lead up to the Democratic National Convention. He announced on August 23, 2008, that he had selected Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. At the convention, held August 25 to August 28 in Denver, Colorado, Hillary Clinton called for her delegates and supporters to endorse Obama, and she and Bill Clinton gave convention speeches in support of Obama. Obama delivered his acceptance speech to a crowd of over 75,000 at Invesco Field at Mile High and presented his policy goals; the speech was viewed by over 38 million people worldwide.
During both the primary process and the general election, Obama's campaign set numerous fundraising records, particularly in the quantity of small donations. On June 19, 2008, Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing in the general election since the system was created in 1976.
After McCain was nominated as the Republican candidate, three presidential debates were held between the contenders spanning September and October 2008. On November 4, Obama won the presidency by winning 365 electoral votes to 173 that McCain received, in the process capturing 52.9% of the popular vote to McCain's 45.7%, to become the first African American to be elected president. Obama delivered his victory speech before hundreds of thousands of supporters in Chicago's Grant Park.
In February and March, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made separate overseas trips to announce a "new era" in U.S. foreign relations with Russia and Europe, using the terms "break" and "reset" to signal major changes from the policies of the preceding administration. Obama's granting of his first television interview as president to an Arabic cable network, Al Arabiya, was seen as an attempt to reach out to Arab leaders.
On March 19, Obama continued his outreach to the Muslim world, releasing a New Year's video message to the people and government of Iran. This attempt at outreach was rebuffed by the Iranian leadership. In April, Obama gave a speech in Ankara, Turkey, which was well received by many Arab governments. On June 4, 2009, Obama delivered a speech at Cairo University in Egypt calling for "a new beginning" in relations between the Islamic world and the United States and promoting Middle East peace.
On June 26, 2009, in response to the Iranian government's actions towards protesters following Iran's 2009 presidential election, Obama said: "The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. We see it and we condemn it." On July 7, while in Moscow, he responded to a Vice President Biden comment on a possible Israeli military strike on Iran by saying: "We have said directly to the Israelis that it is important to try and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East."
On September 24, 2009, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to preside over a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
In March 2010, Obama took a public stance against plans by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue building Jewish housing projects in predominantly Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. During the same month, an agreement was reached with the administration of Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new pact reducing the number of long-range nuclear weapons in the arsenals of both countries by about one-third.
On October 9, 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". Obama accepted this award in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2009, with "deep gratitude and great humility." The award drew a mixture of praise and criticism from world leaders and media figures. Obama is the fourth U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the third to become a Nobel laureate while in office.
A 2010 Siena College poll of 238 Presidential scholars found that Obama was ranked 15th out of 43, with high ratings for imagination, communication ability and intelligence and a low rating for background (family, education and experience).
Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 12, and Sasha, 9.
1. Whitehouse: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama
2. Barack Obama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
3. Organizing for America: http://www.barackobama.com