Barack H. Obama II

44th President of the United States

Democratic Party

Vice President
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

A nation has once again witnessed the peaceful transition of power to a new president.  Elected on the firm promise, if somewhat unspecified, of “change,” Barack Obama only two years earlier was not considered the most likely Democratic nominee, much less the candidate most likely to be elected the nation’s 44th President.  Even though many of his political opponents conceded that the freshman United States senator from Illinois was a determined campaigner who ignored the early conventional political wisdom relative to his candidacy.  While traditionally being relatively younger and less politically experienced than most candidates for president has been viewed as a liability, the Obama campaign used these “disadvantages” to mobilize large numbers of younger voters.  Coupled with the excitement within the African-American community for the prospect of electing a man born of a Black father and a White mother, excitement for a nontraditional candidate helped propel Senator Obama’s candidacy forward among Democratic caucus and primary voters in the early months of the 2008 election. 

While Senator Obama was not able to secure enough delegates to ensure his nomination prior to the Democratic National Convention, by the time of the convention, Senator Obama was leading in the delegate count over his primary Democratic opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, who had a year earlier been nearly universally assumed to be the candidate that would win the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.  Both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton each held substantial delegate counts won by the votes of their respective Democratic supporters.  However, the Democratic Party’s unusual “super delegate” system, which allows large numbers of party officials to be counted in the delegate total, began to show diminishing support for Senator Clinton. 

Ultimately, with the growing support of the Democratic Party’s super delegates, Barack Obama was selected as the Democratic Party’s standard bearer for president.  Drawing upon public frustration with a weak economy and weak support for the war in Iraq, which was universally associated with President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, the Obama campaign used the wide celebrity-like appeal of their candidate to raise unprecedented levels of campaign contributions, making particularly effective use of the Internet to raise money.  While the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Senator John McCain from Arizona briefly surged forward in the polling immediately following his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee, in October 2008 a major crisis in the American financial markets was a key to solidifying support for Senator Obama in the weeks before the election.  Nonetheless, as Election Day approached, McCain supporters raised renewed concerns over Senator’s Obama’s limited experience and controversial prior associations. 

Two associations raised the most vocal criticism.  The first was Senator Obama’s ties with 1960’s radical and former domestic-terrorist William Ayers, with whom during the 1990s Senator Obama had worked on education and poverty issues, after Ayers had become a somewhat prominent, yet still radical educator.  The second prior association that posed some concern for the Obama campaign involved Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a Black Liberation theologian and pastor at the church attended by Senator Obama for approximately twenty years.  Reverend Wright was disclosed to have been extremely vocal in his condemnations and criticisms of America during his sermons, and ultimately Senator Obama criticized the extreme remarks made by his pastor and self-described “spiritual advisor,” and Senator Obama announced that he and his family were leaving Reverend Wright’s congregation.    

On Election Day, the American electorate remained divided regionally with Senator Obama winning broad support in America’s urban areas and among younger and minority voters.  However, overall voters by a 7% margin chose to ignore the concerns raised about Senator’s Obama’s limited background and controversial prior associations and they voted to accept the Obama campaign’s promise to foster “change we can believe in.”  


For most Americans, including Senator McCain and many of the McCain supporters, the narrative of Barack Obama’s personal background provided yet another “only in America” story.  In his Election Night concession speech, Senator McCain remarked:

This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African-Americans and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight. I've always believed that America offers opportunities to all who have the industry and will to seize it. Senator Obama believes that, too. But we both recognize that, though we have come a long way from the old injustices that once stained our nation's reputation and denied some Americans the full blessings of American citizenship, the memory of them still had the power to wound. A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt 's invitation of Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States. Let there be no reason now ... Let there be no reason now for any American to fail to cherish their citizenship in this, the greatest nation on Earth.”

Minutes later on Election Night, President-Elect Obama addressed the large crowd of supporters gathered in Chicago’s Grant Park, and the nation, and he too made direct reference to his “only in America” story:

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”  


The President-Elect then drew upon what has become an increasingly frequent point of association by him, that being a connection to perhaps America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln.  He instructed:


“Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House -- a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn -- I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.”

Date of Birth




 4 August 1961


Community Organizer

Constitutional Law Professor

Michelle Robinson 

Two daughters






Prior Military

Offices Held Before

Electoral and Popular Votes In 2008

B.A., Political Science, Specialization in

International Relations

Columbia University



Harvard Law School 


Illinois State Senator

U.S. Senator from Illinois

Electoral Votes

Popular Votes






Age When First

Number of States
When First

When First

States Admitted
to Union
While President





As statistically calculated for 20 January 2009 by the U.S. Census Bureau based on the 2000 Census



 Q1: While at Harvard Law School, Barack Obama achieved what legal scholastic distinction? And the answer is... 


 Q2: Upon graduation from Harvard Law School, Barack Obama achieved what academic honor? And the answer is...



 Q3: From about age 6 to age 10, Barack Obama lived in what foreign country? And the answer is...




 Q4: What political setback did Barack Obama experience in the 2000 Election? And the answer is...




WWW Links Regarding Our Forty-Fourth President

Go to the page for Barack H. Obama maintained by the
White House Historical Association.

Read the Inaugural Addresses of each of our presidents by going to the site maintained by the Bartleby Library.

In that President Barack H. Obama is the current president, the history he will cause to be written is still a "work in progress," and therefore this page is still under construction. Please forward any suggested topic areas and links regarding the President to the Chief Executive Club.


Return to the Chief Executive Club Main Page for fast facts and more about our other presidents.

© 2009 Thomas J. Lemmer

(This page was last edited on 20 January 2009 by Thomas J. Lemmer)