Barack Obama Biograph
Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, to Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham. His parents met while attending the University of Hawaii, where his father was enrolled as a foreign student. His mother was from heartland-of-the-U.S. Kansas, and his father from Kenya. Barack’s parents eventually divorced, and after his mother remarried, he lived in Indonesia for a time before returning to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. He later moved to New York, where he graduated from Columbia University in 1983.
True to the values of empathy and service that his mother instilled in him, Barack put law school on hold after college and moved to Chicago, where he became a community organizer with a church-based group that was dedicated to improving living conditions in poor neighborhoods. For example, helping poor people work with service agencies to get their plumbing and heating fixed and to find jobs for unemployed. It was here that he realized it would take changes in our laws and politics to truly improve the lives of the people in these impoverished neighborhoods. A little known but impressive fact is that when Barack applied to Harvard Law School, he did not even indicate his race on his Harvard application.
Barack earned his law degree from Harvard in 1991, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He then returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law. His advocacy work led him to run for the Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years beginning in 1996. While in the Illinois State Senate, Barack served as chairman of the Public Health and Welfare Committee. In 2004, well into his U.S. Senate campaign, Barack wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, and became a rising star in U.S. politics. A few months later, he was elected to the U.S. Senate with a landslide 70% of the vote. Four months into his senate career, Time magazine named him “one of the world’s most influential people,” calling him “one of the most admired politicians in America.” Barack formally announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election in Springfield, Illinois on February 10, 2007.
Barack is also an accomplished author. His 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, is a memoir of his youth and early career. The book was reprinted in 2004 with a new preface and an annex containing the text of his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speech. The audio book edition earned Barack the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.
In December 2004, Barack signed a contract to write three more books. The first, The Audacity of Hope, was published in October 2006. The book has remained at or near the top of the New York Times Best Seller list since its publication. It was also the theme of his 2004 keynote address. The second book will be a children’s book to be co-written with his wife Michelle and their two daughters, with profits going to charity. The content of the third book has yet to be announced.
In August 2008, Barack was nominated by the Democratic party as their candidate to be President of the United States. Barack selected long-time and well-respected U.S. Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.
Barack is married to Michelle Robinson, whom he met in 1988 while working at a law firm. They were married in 1992 and have two daughters: Malia, born in 1999, and Sasha, born in 2001.
Born: August 4, 1961
Famous For: Candidate for Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination.
Key Accomplishments: Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law. Fifth African-American senator in U.S. history. His book, The Audacity of Hope, has been at or near the top of the New York Times Best Seller List since its publication in October, 2006.
Significant Quote: “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.”
Fun Quote: “That’s silly talk… Talk to my wife. She’ll tell me I need to learn to just put my socks on the hamper.”
1) Barack Obama is “palling around” with terrorists.
ALLEGATION: Obama is sympathetic to domestic
terrorists, since his home in Chicago is in the same neighborhood as
60’s radical William Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn, and the two
have also worked together. Ayers and Dohrn, former members of the
radical Weather Underground, a group that carried out a string of
bombings of federal buildings, spent 10 years as fugitives before all
charges were eventually dropped. Ayers and Dohrn both eventually became
professors in Chicago.
FACTS: Starting in 1995, Ayers and Obama worked
with the non-profit Chicago Annenberg Challenge on a vast school
improvement project, which invited cities to compete for $50 million
grants to improve public education. Whle Ayers was working
to bring the grant to Chicago, and Obama was recruited onto the board.
Additionally, from 1999 through 2001, both Ayers and Obama were board
members on the Woods Fund, a charitable foundation that gave money to
various causes, including the Trinity United Church that Obama attended
and Northwestern University Law Schools’ Children and Family Justice
Center, where Dohrn worked.
2) Barack Obama takes campaign advice from Fannie Mae executives.
ALLEGATION: John McCain started smearing Barack
Obama about ties to Fannie Mae in some of his attack ads. Anonymous
smear emails have found a life of their own, following McCain’s lead by
fabricating even more connections.
FACTS: The non-partisan fact-check website Snopes.com
looked into these allegations and concluded about Fannie Mae executives
that “none of them has (or apparently ever had) ongoing roles with the
campaign as chief economic advisors.”
3) Barack Obama is really a Muslim.
This rumor became widespread around the time Obama announced his run
for president. The argument was that he attended a Muslim school in his
youth and that his father was a radical Muslim. Various photos featuing
Obama wearing Muslim-influenced clothing helped fuel this rumor.
For more than 20 years Barack Obama has been a Christian, regularly
attending Sunday service at the Trinity United Church of Christ in
Chicago. His father was a Muslim at one time, but he eventually became
an Atheist. The photos that added fuel to this rumor were of a trip
Obama took to Africa in which he posed for a photo wearing the
traditional Muslim garb as a sign of respect, not because he is a
4) Barack Obama was sworn into office with a Qu’ran, and will do the same if elected president.
ALLEGATION: Barack Obama was sworn into the Senate with his hand on a Qu’ran instead of the Bible.
Barack Obama was sworn into office with his hand on his own family
Bible. The first Muslim member of congress, Keith Ellison, was elected
in November, 2006, and sworn in with his hand on a Qu’ran. Apparently
when the media got wind of this story, they began associating it with
5) Obama attended a Madrassa for four years.
ALLEGATION: While living in Indonesia as a child, Barack Obama attended a Madrassa (Muslim school) for 4 years.
Barack Obama has stated that heattended 2 years of Catholic school and
two years at a public school in Indonesia. In addition, the school he
attended in Jakarta is a public school that has never been a Madrassa.
6) Obama tried to hide his smoking habit.
ALLEGATION: Obama is trying to hide his smoking habit.
In December 2005, Obama told the Chicago Tribune that his smoking habit
“is an uphill battle”. He has never denied that he smokes, but he also
doesn’t bring it up unless directly asked about it.
7) Barack Obama was involved in a shady land deal.
ALLEGATION: Obama was involved in a questionable real estate transaction with Tony Rezko.
FACTS: Many articles were written about this real estate
transaction. One indicated Obama had “ethics” issues while another ran
the caption “BarackWater”. These articles never really provided any
evidence of wrongdoing on Obama’s part. There has yet to be any
evidence brought forward to suggest that anything illegal was done.
8) Obama has never introduced a Bill in Congress
Former Clinton Advisor and current Fox political Advisor Dick Morris
claimed on FOX that Obama has never introduced a Bill in Congress.
Prior toDick Morris’ statement on December 18, 2006, Obama had been the
primary sponsor on 152 Bills. Additionally, more than 14 bills that
Obama has sponsored or co-sponsored have become law.
Michelle Obama: The Woman Beside the Man
Michelle Obama is playing a vital role in her husband Barack’s
campaign for president – but she wasn’t always so convinced he should
run for president. She had questions and wanted them answered. She
wanted to know how the campaign would raise money and what the campaign
strategy would be. Once those plans were more concrete, she began to
see the possibilities, and set about using her talents to aid her
husband’s campaign – but not before she negotiated an agreement with
him that he would quit smoking in exchange for her support in his
Michelle Obama was born Michelle LaVaughn Robinson on January 17,
1964, to Frasier and Marian Robinson. She was born and raised in
Chicago’s South Side and went on to attend Princeton University and
Harvard Law School. She met Barack Obama when they were the only two
African Americans at their law firm (Sidley Austin), where she was
assigned to mentor him while he was a summer associate. The couple
married in 1992.
Michelle’s professional resume includes her time at Sidley Austin,
where she worked on marketing and intellectual property, as well as a
career in the public sector. In the Chicago city government, she served
as an Assistant to the Mayor and Assistant Commissioner of Planning and
Development. In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago
office of Public Allies, a non-profit organization that encourages
young people to work on social issues in nonprofit groups and
government agencies. In 1996, Michelle served as the Associate Dean of
Student Services at the University of Chicago, where she developed the
University’s Community Service Center. In 2002, she began working for
the University of Chicago Hospitals, first as Executive Director for
Community Affairs, and beginning in May 2005, as Vice President for
Community and External Affairs. Until recently, Michelle served on the
board of TreeHouse Foods, Inc., which is a major Wal-Mart supplier.
Following her husband’s critical remarks of Wal-Mart, she immediately
cut ties with TreeHouse Foods. She also serves on the board of
directors of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. She currently does
not have a full time job, focusing instead on her husband’s
A formidable opponent in her own right, Michelle’s determination,
wit and strong will make her a force to be reckoned with. Completely at
ease talking with crowds, she tirelessly campaigns for her husband and
speaks of him and the election issues with passion and courage – and
she’s not afraid to tell it like she sees it. Asked in February 2008
whether she would support Hillary Clinton if she got the nomination,
Michelle responded, “I’d have to think about that. I’d have to think
about policies, her approach, her tone.” She also added, “You know,
everyone in this party is going to work hard for whoever the nominee
is.” And in a statement she made on February 18, 2008, Michelle
remarked, “People in this country are ready for a change, and hungry
for a different kind of politics and let me tell you something, for the
first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it
feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” Several political
commentators criticized this statement, and the campaign soon issued a
statement that “anyone who heard her remarks…would understand that
she was commenting on our politics,” not on America itself.
Michelle’s determination, wit and strong will have also made her a
part of pop culture. In May, 2006, Essence magazine named her among “25
of the World’s Most Inspiring Women,” and in July 2007, Vanity Fair
magazine listed her among “10 of the World’s Best Dressed People.” In
September 2007, 02138 magazine listed her 58th of “The Harvard 100,” a
list of the prior year’s most influential Harvard alumni. Not
surprisingly, her husband was ranked 4th.
But Michelle’s life is not completely consumed by the presidential
campaign – she and Barack also try to make sure her children have some
stability during this chaotic time. No matter where Michelle is, she
tries to fly home each night in order to see her and Barack’s two
daughters, Malia and Natasha (who are currently being cared for by
Michelle’s mother) before they go to bed.