Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2014

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Barack Obama - bio information

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Steve Marcus

Senator Barack Obama hosts a discussion on home ownership at the College of Southern Nevada in North Las Vegas.

PERSONAL

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has billed his presidential campaign as a grassroots movement for change. In speeches, he often cites the standing-room only crowds he has drawn across the country as a clear sign of an American electorate starved for a new kind of politics.

Early gatherings brought in 20,000 in Atlanta, and 15,000 in Austin, Texas, in 2007. He battled Hillary Clinton through the spring to eventually win the Democratic nomination in August, the first African-American to do so. And it has become clear that Obama was the Democratic Party's rock star of the 2008 race — so much so that a Republican ad has called him the biggest celebrity in the world.

Obama has carefully built a campaign around his background – the son of a Kenyan goat herder who won a scholarship to study in America and a white Kansas student who met in Hawaii; the first black president of the Harvard Law Review; a community organizer on the south side of Chicago; a civil rights attorney; an accomplished state senator – and his powerful personality.

His speech before the Democratic National Convention in 2004 instantly catapulted him to political celebrity, with some saying it eclipsed nominee John Kerry’s moment.

Obama voiced opposition to the Iraq war at a rally in fall 2002, something that consistently draws his biggest applause. Obama has promised to begin a withdrawal immediately, and to have only a minimal presence in Iraq within 16 months.

Only those with the sense to oppose the war from the start can be trusted to end it, he said.

Still, critics have consistently called attention to Obama’s experience gap (he was elected to the Senate in 2004).

And partly to quiet his critics, he named fellow Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., who experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as his running mate.

Obama still draws large gatherings when he speaks, including in mid September at the baseball field at Cashman Center in Las Vegas, where the crowd was estimated at 11,000.

At that gathering, Obama continued to swing away at the Republican ticket, saying that he and Biden will bring much-needed change to politics in Washington, D.C., and a change to the way the government deals with issues such as the war, the economy and health care.

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— Las Vegas Sun writer Michael Mishak and web content editor Andy Samuelson compiled this report.

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