See the Promise in Our Future

It is difficult to open a magazine or newspaper without seeing an article, if not several articles, on the subject of Barack Obama. His emergence as a Presidential candidate and on November 4, 2008 as President-Elect has captured the attention of the country and the world in a fashion never seen before. Even more surprising is the fact that almost half of the populace in America had never even heard of Barack Obama just two years ago.

Obama’s Background

Barack Obama was born in 1961 in Hawaii; his parents met while attending the University of Hawaii. Barack’s father, Barack Obama Sr., grew up in a small village in Kenya, and his mother, Ann Durham, was originally from Kansas. Obama attended Columbia University in New York and graduated in 1983, and later he went on to Harvard Law School, where he obtained his law degree.

Prior to his entry into politics, Obama worked as a community organizer, a civil rights lawyer and a professor of constitutional law. In 2004, Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, and in February, 2007 announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. Obama is married and has two daughters.

The Presidential Election

Originally, nine Democratic contenders for the candidacy were announced, but after a series of debates and other campaign activities, Senator Hilary Clinton, former Senator John Edwards and Senator Barack Obama emerged as the front-runners. Until early 2008, Clinton led in nationwide polls, but as the state primary elections began, public support for Obama eclipsed Clinton’s lead. During the same period, the twelve Republican contenders battled for their party’s nomination; Senator John McCain was confirmed as the Republican nominee in March of 2008.

On June 6, 2008, after a 17-month campaign against Clinton, Obama clinched the Democratic nomination. Clinton had characterized herself as the office-seeker with the most experience, while Obama positioned himself as the contender most able to bring much-needed change to Washington. This message was seen again during the course of the general election.

McCain adopted a very similar theme from the start in his campaign against Obama, painting himself as the war veteran with the experience necessary to succeed as President, while Obama continued to emphasize his message of much-needed change for the political system and the country as a whole. After a tumultuous campaign with the candidates’ every word immediately publicized and analyzed by the frenzied media, Barack Obama was elected to the position of President of the United States on November 4, 2008.

President Obama’s Future Challenges

President Obama inherits many formidable challenges: massive financial upheaval, staggering unemployment figures, and a domestic economy that is barely limping along. Additionally, an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq and rising unrest in the ongoing Israel/Gaza conflict mean that Obama has a very full plate indeed. Despite this dismal outlook, he has started quickly assembling an Administration to stem the bleeding and repair the confidence of a shaken nation. President Obama’s message to the country includes encouraging choices to limit further damage in 2009 and, even as the hour is the darkest, to see the promise in our future.

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