Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama, Sr. (born in Nyanza Province, Kenya) and Ann Dunham (born in Wichita, Kansas). His parents met while both were attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was enrolled as a foreign student. Obama's parents separated when he was two years old and later divorced. His father went to Harvard University to pursue Ph.D. studies, then returned to Kenya, where he died in an auto accident when the younger Obama was twenty-one years old. His mother married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian foreign student, with whom she had one daughter, Maya. The family moved to Jakarta in 1967, where Obama attended local schools from ages 6 to 10. He then returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents while attending Punahou School from 5th grade until his graduation in 1979. Obama's mother died of ovarian cancer a few months after the publication of his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father.
In the memoir, Obama describes his experiences growing up in his mother's American middle class family. His knowledge about his absent Luo father came mainly through family stories and photographs. 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." The book describes his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage.
After graduating from Punahou, Obama studied at Occidental College for two years, then transferred to Columbia University, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. He received his B.A. degree in 1983, then worked for one year at Business International Corporation. In 1985, Obama moved to Chicago to direct a non-profit project assisting local churches to organize job training programs. He entered Harvard Law School in 1988. In 1990, The New York Times reported his election as the Harvard Law Review's "first black president in its 104-year history." He completed his J.D. degree magna cum laude in 1991. On returning to Chicago, Obama directed a voter registration drive. As an associate attorney with Miner, Barnhill & Galland from 1993 to 1996, he represented community organizers, discrimination claims, and voting rights cases. 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.
Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 from the state's 13th District in the south-side Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park. 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. He was overwhelmingly reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998 and 2002, officially resigning in November 2004, following his election to the U.S. Senate. Among his major accomplishments as a state legislator, Obama's U.S. Senate web site lists: "creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit"; "an expansion of early childhood education"; and "legislation requiring the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases." Reviewing Obama's career in the Illinois Senate, a February 2007 article in the Washington Post noted his work with both Democrats and Republicans in drafting bipartisan legislation on ethics and health care reform. During his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama won the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, whose officials cited his "longtime support of gun control measures and his willingness to negotiate compromises," despite his support for some bills the police union had opposed. He was also criticized by a rival pro-choice candidate in the Democratic primary and by his Republican pro-life opponent in the general election for having voted either "present" or "no" on anti-abortion legislation.
In February 2007, standing before the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, Obama announced his candidacy for the 2008 U.S. presidential election. 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."
The announcement followed months of speculation on whether Obama would run in 2008.
Through the fall of 2006, Obama had spoken at political events across the country in support of Democratic candidates for the midterm elections. In September 2006, he was the featured speaker at Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry, an event traditionally attended by presidential hopefuls in the lead-up to the Iowa caucus. Speculation intensified in October 2006 when Obama first said he had "thought about the possibility" of running for president, departing from earlier statements that he intended to serve out his six-year Senate term through 2010. Following Obama's statement, opinion polling organizations added his name to surveyed lists of Democratic candidates. The first such poll, taken in November 2006, ranked Obama in second place with 17% support among Democrats after Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) who placed first with 28% of the responses. In December 2006, Obama spoke at a New Hampshire event celebrating Democratic Party midterm election victories in the first-in-the-nation U.S. presidential primary state.
Obama's campaign reported raising US$25.8 million between January 1 and March 31 of 2007. The donations came from 104,000 individual donors, with US$6.9 million raised through the Internet from 50,000 of the donors. US$24.8 million of Obama's first quarter funds can be used in the primaries, the highest of any 2008 presidential candidate. Obama's fundraising prowess was affirmed again in the second quarter of 2007, when his campaign raised an additional $32.5 million, the most ever raised by a Democratic Presidential candidate in a single quarter. Through the first two quarters of fundraising, Obama's campaign has received donations from a grand total of about 258,000 contributors, the most of any 2008 candidate.
In early May 2007, the U.S. Secret Service announced that Obama had been placed under their protection. The protection was not in response to any specific threat, but the campaign had received "hate mail, calls and other 'threatening materials'" in the past, and officials felt that the large crowds and increased campaign activity warranted the order. The Rasmussen polling organization reported in May 2007 that 49% of Americans consider it "somewhat likely" or "very likely" that Obama will be elected. In the same week, Zogby International reported that Obama leads all prospective Republican opponents in polling for the 2008 general election. If elected, Obama would become the first non-white U.S. president.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Temmuz 2007, 17:22