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Finances: Obama for America, Obama Victory Fund, Obama 2010, Inc., Hopefund, Open Secrets, summary
Pre-Convention Photos
The Early States: Iowa, NHPre-Campaign: Independent Sites
   Chicago Sun Times: Barack Obama   Chicago Tribune: Obama Watch   RNC: Meet Barack Obama

In Brief - Elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004.  Elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996 and re-elected in 1998 and 2002 (served 1997-2004).  Civil rights attorney at Miner, Barnhill & Galland and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School specializing in constitutional law.   Executive director of Illinois Project Vote, April-Nov. 1992.  J.D. from Harvard Law School, 1991.  Moved to Chicago in June 1985 and worked three years as director of the Developing Communities Project, a group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods.  One year as a writer and financial analyst at Business International Corporation.  Graduated from Columbia University in 1983.  Born August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, HI.   [Timeline].

Star Power
Barack Obama first gained widespread notice when as a State Senator and U.S. Senate candidate he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston on July 27, 2004.  In this speech, less than 17 minutes long, he spoke of "the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.  Hope in the face of difficulty.  Hope in the face of uncertainty.  The audacity of hope!"

In November 2004 Obama resoundingly won election to the Senate, where he took his seat ranking 99th in seniority.  He set to work in the Senate, dismissing talk of higher office.  On January 22, 2006, appearing on NBC News' "Meet the Press," Obama ruled out a presidential run in 2008, declaring, "I will serve out my full six year term."  Throughout 2005 and for the first eight months of 2006 Obama did not figure much in presidential speculation, but by October his thinking on the possibility of a presidential run had changed.

A Change in Thinking
Obama was much in the news in September and October 2006.  He made a high profile two-week trip to Africa, and closer to home was the special guest at Sen. Tom Harkin's 29th Annual Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa.  [see letter].  He appeared on the covers of Men's Vogue ("The Path to Power") and Time ("Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President").  Oprah Winfrey lauded him as her "favorite guy" on the September 28 "Larry King Live."  On October 17 he launched his new book The Audacity of Hope with three events in Chicago, the start of a book tour scheduled to take him to thirteen cities in two weeks.  Appearing on "Meet the Press" on October 22 Obama told host Tim Russert that he had thought a bit about the possibility of a 2008 presidential run in recent months:

"Given the responses that I've been getting over the last several months, I have thought about the possibility.  But I have not thought it—about it with the seriousness and depth that I think is required.  My main focus right now is in the '06 and making sure that we retake the Congress.  After oh—after November 7, I'll sit down and, and consider, and if at some point, I change my mind, I will make a public announcement and everybody will be able to go at me."
After a week of rumors that he would announce his candidacy on the January 17, 2007 "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Obama filed with the FEC on January 16 to establish a presidential exploratory committee stating in a video, "We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans."   (Instead of Obama, Oprah viewer saws "Inside Oprah's Holiday Vacation and More.")  Obama plans to announce his plans on February 10 in Illinois.

Enough Experience?
If Obama decides to run, and if he were to stand the trials of the long campaign and gain the nomination and win the general election, he would be 47 years old when sworn in.  By comparison John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when elected and sworn in, but he had served six years in the House and eight in the Senate.  (Teddy Roosevelt became the youngest president when he was sworn in at 42).  During Obama's October 22 appearance on "Meet the Press" Russert, pointed to Obama's lack of executive experience and asked him, "Are you ready to be president?"  Obama responded, "Well, I’m not sure anybody is ready to be president before they’re president."  Obama does have a range of experience including three years as a community organizer, his work as an attorney and lecturer, and seven years as a very active state legislator, a combination that might help him better relate to voters than some other potential candidates who have spent several decades in Congress.

One of Obama's noteworthy successes in the Senate was as an original co-sponsor with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) of the "Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006."  The Coburn-Obama legislation, signed into law by President Bush on September 26, requires "full disclosure of all entities and organizations receiving Federal funds;" the goal is to create a Google-like search engine of federal government spending.  Obama also worked with Coburn to get to a measure in the Homeland Security Bill to prevent abuse of no-bid contracts following disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Obama's youth could allow him to transcend the stale politics of the day.  On "Meet the Press" he talked about how "the categories we’ve been using were forged in the ‘60s."  He said, "You know, I think the arguments about big government vs. small government, the arguments about, you know, the sexual revolution, military vs. nonmilitary solutions to problems."  Obama cited as an example the debate over big government versus small government.  He said, "My instinct is is that the current generation is more interested in smart government.  Let’s have enough government to get the job done.  If, if we’re looking at problems, if the market solution works, let’s go with the market solution.  If a solution requires government intervention, let’s do that.  But let’s look at what are the practical outcomes."

On December 10, 2006 Obama made his first visit to New Hampshire, where, still undecided but looking more like a candidate, he spoke to a crowd of 1,500 at the NHDP's 2006 Election Celebration in Manchester.  He advocated "not a Democratic or a Republican agenda" but "commonsense, pragmatic, non ideological agenda."  In a press conference before the event Obama sought to explain his appeal.  "I think what's going on is that people are very hungry for something new," he said.  "I think they are interested in being called to be part of something larger than the kind of small, petty, slash and burn politics that we've been seeing over the last several years.  And to some degree I think I'm a stand in for that desire on the part of the country," Obama stated.


-Election Night, Chicago, IL, Nov. 4, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-Acceptance Speech at the Democratic National Convention, Denver, CO, Aug. 28, 2008
.  [transcript]
-Vice Presidential Announcement, Springfield, IL, Aug. 23, 2008.  [transcript]
-"A World that Stands as One," Berlin, GERMANY, July 24, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-"The America We Love," Independence, MO, June 30, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-KY/OR Primaries Election Night Rally, Des Moines, IA, May 20, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-NC/IN Primary Election Night Rally, Raleigh, NC, May 6, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-PA Primary Election Night Rally, Evansville, IN, April 22, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
"A More Perfect Union", Philadelphia, PA, March 18, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-March 4 Primary Night Rally, San Antonio, TX, March 4, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-Super Tuesday Election Night Rally, Chicago, IL, Feb. 5, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-SC Primary Election Night Rally, Columbia, SC, Jan. 29, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-NH Primary Election Night Rally, Nashua, NH, Jan. 8, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
-IA Caucus Night Rally, Des Moines, IA, Jan. 3, 2008.  [prepared remarks]
Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC, June 19, 2007.  [prepared remarks]
IAFF Bipartisan Presidential Forum, Washington, DC, March 14, 2007.  [prepared remarks]
Announcement Speech, Springfield, IL, Feb. 10, 2007.  [text]
DNC Winter Meeting, Washington, DC, Feb. 2, 2007.  [transcript]

Video Statement on Formation of Exploratory Committee, Jan. 16, 2007.  [transcript]
NHDP's 2006 Election Celebration, Manchester, NH, Dec. 10, 2006.  [transcript]

July 15, 2008-Major address on Iraq and American national security.
March 10, 2008-Campaign military advisors hold a press conference.
Feb. 11, 2008-Obama Washington, DC campaign headquarters.
Feb. 10, 2008-T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, VA.

Sept. 17, 2007-SEIU Member Political Action Conference.
June 19, 2007-Campaign for America's Future's "Take Back America" Conference.
June 19, 2007-AFSCME Democratic Presidential Forum.
June 2, 2007-Michelle Obama at New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention in Concord, NH.
May 23, 2007-"Generation BO" kick-off event at H20.
March 31, 2007-Supporters at a "Hope, Action, Change" community meeting.
March 28, 2007-Building and Construction Trades Department Presidential Forum.
March 14, 2007-IAFF Bipartisan Presidential Forum.
Feb. 2, 2007-DNC Winter Meeting.

Dec. 19, 2006-Draft Obama fundraiser at Local 16.
Oct. 22, 2006-After appearing on NBC News' "Meet the Press."
Sept. 21, 2006-With a group of Senators urging quick passage of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act.
July 19, 2006-NAACP 97th Annual Convention.
June 14, 2006-Campaign for America's Future's "Take Back America" Conference.

Offices: IA, 2; NH, 2; NV; SC; MN; PA.

Total Contributions
Total Receipts
Total Disbursements
Cash on Hand/Debts
Cycle to Date
$662,239,750.27 $83,450,000.00* $770,469,842.85 $740,557,858.49 $29,911,984.36
(Oct. 16-Nov. 24)

$79,124,845.30 $25,000,000.00* $110,772,016.91 $146,622,961.56
(Oct. 1-Oct. 15)

$35,944,365.05 --
$37,713,199.78 $105,599,963.76 $65,762,929.01
Oct. 2008
(Sept. 1-Sept. 30)

$118,208,708.07 $32,500,000.00* $153,142,786.74 $96,897,212.18 $133,649,692.99
Sept. 2008 1
(Aug. 1-Aug. 31)
$53,090,662.93 $12,000,000.00* $67,514,704.54 $55,948,395.99 $77,404,118.43
Aug. 2008 1
(July 1-July 31)

$37,787,860.28 $12,550,000.00* $51,449,094.39 $57,246,262.54 $65,837,809.88
July 2008
(June 1-June 30)

$50,494,760.71 $1,400,000.00* $54,269,392.53 $25,746,402.70
June 2008
(May 1-May 31)

$23,348,774.15 $26,756,497.40 $43,147,333.80
May 2008
(Apr. 1-Apr. 30)
$31,922,904.75 $36,441,847.69 $46,555,057.05
April 2008 1
(Mar. 1-Mar. 31)
$42,832,120.65 $30,591,210.20 $51,073,999.99
Mar. 2008
(Feb. 1-Feb. 29)
$56,766,037.85 $42,873,107.74 $38,833,089.54
Feb. 2008
(Jan. 1-Jan. 31)
$36,774,374.00 $30,460,462.70 $24,940,159.43
Year End 2007
(Oct. 1-Dec. 31)
$23,526,003.92 $40,896,076.23 $18,626,248.13
3rd Q 2007 1
(Jul. 1-Sep. 30)

2nd Q 2007 1
(Apr. 1-Jun.30)

1st Q 2007 1,2
(Jan. 1-Mar. 31)

$ 6,606,443.82
*Transfers from Obama Victory Fund, a joint committee established by the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America.


Obama is the author of two books: Dreams From My Father (Crown, July 18, 1995; reissued in Aug. 2004) andThe Audacity of Hope (Crown, Oct. 17, 2006).  More than a dozen books about him were published during the course of the campaign.

Oct. 17, 2006

Early Articles
Ben Wallace-Wells.  "Destiny's Child."  Rolling StoneFeb. 9, 2007.
Joe Klein.  "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President."  Time.  Oct. 23, 2006 (cover story).
Jacob Weisberg.  "The Path to Power."  Men's Vogue.  September/October 2006 (cover story).
Jodi Enda.  "Great Expectations."  The American Prospect.  Feb. 5, 2006 (cover story).

On the Web
Obama '08
(Feb. 10, 2007 grab)
Obama Exploratory Committee
(Jan. 16, 2007 grab)
Obama 2010, Inc
(Oct. 19, 2006 grabs)

Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008. 2009  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action