Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Playoff Facts of the Day | The Backseat of a Volkswagen »

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Contenders: Barack Obama

posted by on January 10 at 9:22 AM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.


Barack Obama

Party: Democratic

Age: 45

Status: Undeclared

Barack Obama is beloved by Democrats for many reasons, but in the context of their hopes for winning back the White House he is beloved because he is a fresh, charismatic face unburdened by a 2002 vote to invade Iraq. He is also reminiscent of pre-scandal Bill Clinton in his charm, intelligence, potential, sunny optimism, and magnetic good looks. Obama’s recent book, The Audacity of Hope, is a further Clintonian echo (Bill was the original “boy from Hope, Arkansas”) and in a sign of Obama’s wide appeal, his memoir has been on the New York Times best-seller list since it was published last year.

Another big reason for the attention Obama’s been getting: He is only the fifth black Senator in the nation’s history and would be the country’s first black president.

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to a Kenyan-born father and American-born mother. His globe-trotting early life took him to Indonesia, California, New York, Chicago, and finally Cambridge, where he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School after having become the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1996, after moving back to Chicago, Obama was elected to the Illinois state legislature.

In 2004, he vaulted into the national consciousness, giving a remarkably strong keynote address at the Democratic National Convention and winning the Senate seat from Illinois. Here’s the speech, in two parts:

After two years as a Senator—during which he has served on the Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans’ Affairs committees—Obama’s greatest strength among Democrats, his short record in Washington, is also his biggest potential weakness.

(Aside from his early opposition to the Iraq War, his positions largely track with those of mainstream Democrats.)

Obama is married to attorney Michelle Robinson. The couple has two children and they attend Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.

(With research help from super-star intern Sage Van Wing)

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and Rudy Giuliani.

RSS icon Comments


I would not mind waking up to his voice on NPR every morning and his pretty face on the front page on the newspaper.

Posted by Priorities In Check | January 10, 2007 9:53 AM

THIS is the reason he can win all across America (Sunday's game notwithstanding).

Posted by DOUG. | January 10, 2007 10:08 AM
Barack Hussein Obama was ...

Enough with the middle name, Eli. Totally unnecessary, unless your middle name is Bill O'Reilly.

Posted by horatiosanzserif | January 10, 2007 10:31 AM

I'm thinking it also would be appropriate to refer to Mitt Romney from here on out as "Mitt Willard Romney."

More middle names found here.

Posted by horatiosanzserif | January 10, 2007 10:36 AM
Posted by horatiosanzserif | January 10, 2007 10:38 AM

But, as Fox News reported, Obama has been seen dressed JUST LIKE AHMADINEJAD (i.e., a dark business suit, white shirt open at the collar, no tie), which, combined with his middle name, clearly proves he's a terrorist.

Posted by Fnarf | January 10, 2007 10:41 AM

If you didn't see The Daily Show's take on this linguistic bullshit, boy, did you miss out. Even more brilliant than normal. That being said, with the way that the GOP's implosion is continuing and accelerating, the Democrats could nominate a retarded monkey and still win.

Posted by Gitai | January 10, 2007 10:44 AM

I wood like to annownse my candidassy for prezedent of the yoonighted states of amarika.

chicken pot chicken pot chicken pot piiiiiie.

Posted by monkey | January 10, 2007 11:05 AM

He's dreamy...

Posted by Baxter | January 10, 2007 11:06 AM

He'll make a great VP for Gore or Dean.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 10, 2007 11:22 AM

p.s. he smokes. in case you didn't know. which is fine for a VP - heck, look at Cheney.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 10, 2007 11:24 AM

I wonder if Obama has ever wore an army jacket? 'Cause if he has, we can link him to Osama even closer! Someone call Faux News. Quick!

Posted by Monique | January 10, 2007 12:09 PM

John Sidney McCain, born in Coco Solo Panama. Got a beat you can dance to it.

Posted by UW doc | January 10, 2007 12:33 PM

@12 - well, Bush wore a flight suit - you know how well that worked out ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 10, 2007 12:46 PM

seriously, though, is this country ready for not only a black president, but one with such an ethnic name, a last name that sounds so similar to "Osama" and a middle name of Hussein? I mean, people were joking in 04 that Kucinich didn't make it because his name was just too damn hard to say (and no, I can't even spell it...)
and yes, this guy is hot...

Posted by i want to believe | January 10, 2007 2:40 PM

This is cool- Barack Obama's mother graduated from Mercer Island High School.
He's practically a Seattlelite!
Here's the link:

Posted by MI Girl | January 10, 2007 2:44 PM

Obama is definitely near the top of my list. I'd love to finally see a black president. I'm not sure if a racial minority, or even a woman, can really be elected in this country, but to me he seems like he's got a good chance.

His only honest criticism seems to be that he has only served one term in the senate, and lacks experience. I'm sure the republicans will hound him over it (along with the silly shit like his middle name and comparing his wardrobe to leaders of the axis of evil). But we can see where all of Bush's (supposed) foreign policy experience, along with the foreign policy experience of all his advisers, has gotten us. With experience like that, I'll take someone with less experience, thank you.

The guy is a fantastic speaker, which I think counts for a lot. I can see little downside to Obama.

Posted by SDA in SEA | January 10, 2007 2:45 PM


Pull your head out of your ass - Dean is not running (and I say that as a hard-core Deaniac). Now Gore could still run, but Dean is d o n e, and in a better position pushing the 50-state strategy in the DNC.

Posted by Willis | January 10, 2007 3:22 PM

i see little downside to obama, either. basically his race, his name, and his experience. i think the first two are inconsequential. nobody in numbers large enough to be statistically important cares about someone's race anymore. the name thing? pfsh, whatever. The experience thing? This is more tricky because one could actually make the argument that bush is representative of what lack of experience brings you because being the gov of texas, he came into the presidency with ZERO experience. That said, any attacks from the right that say "oh, well this guy can't get it done internationally" are going to be IGNORED by everyone but the like 26% of people who still think bush is doing a heck of a job. republicans don't have much credibility right now, so any of their attacks aren't going to carry as much weight as they did post 9/11. democrats need to realize this and step up. I think that if you really want to point to a senator with limited international experience, look at JFK. problem solved.

Posted by charles | January 10, 2007 4:32 PM
I mean, people were joking in 04 that Kucinich didn't make it because his name was just too damn hard to say

Uh ... the joke I heard about the Kucinich campaign was the fact that he was running.

Posted by horatiosanzserif | January 10, 2007 5:47 PM

@18 - just saying. But I just checked and there are two news items in the national press about Gore running and having no problem doing so.

Barack will make a fine VP.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 10, 2007 10:14 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).