Biography of Barack Obama
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Early in his political career, President Obama's advocacy work on the local level in Chicago led to a run for the Illinois State Senate. Obama served for eight years as a state senator and used his position to create programs such as the state Earned Income Tax Credit that provided more than $100 million in tax cuts to families over three years. He also generated an expansion in early childhood education and worked to pass legislation that requires all interrogations and confessions in capital cases to be videotaped.
Obama's eloquent keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention earned him wide praise and cemented his reputation as one of the party's freshest and most inspirational new faces. In 2004, Obama won a seat in the U.S. Senate by a landslide. In the Senate, he worked with Republicans on issues such as weapons control and ethics reform, yet voted with other Democrats against President Bush's surge of 20,000 troops to Iraq and in favor of a resolution that required combat troops to be fully withdrawn by March 2008.
He served on the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; the Foreign Relations Committee; the Veteran's Affairs Committee; and the Environment and Public Works Committee.
2008 Presidential Election
In the 2008 election, Obama was 47 years old and the country's first potential black president. He ran as the candidate of hope and change, and he gained the support of many young and minority voters. He was the first presidential candidate to harness the power of social media. His platform focused on phasing out troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, advocating for working families and poor communities, improving education, protecting the environment, and reforming political ethics.
2012 Presidential Election
Today, Obama's campaign focuses on expanding his base, protecting the new healthcare reforms, continuing with the changes he has implemented in his first term, and making further improvements to the U.S. economy. Issues like Wall Street regulation, domestic job growth, a fair tax system, gay marriage rights, and national immigration policy also seem to be at center stage for the 2012 election.
Whether Americans will elect Obama to continue on the path of reform and economic recovery remains to be seen.