Competitive Exams: Obama Current Affairs 2009

Current Affairs 2009: Barack Obama

Current Affairs 2009: Barack Hussein Obama II

Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned following his election to the presidency.

Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.

Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the USA House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. His victory from a crowded field in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, and his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 made him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected to the USA Senate in November 2004 by the largest margin in Illinois history.

He began his run for the presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination, becoming the first major party African American candidate for president. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is the first president to be born outside the continental United States. He is also the third president from Illinois, the first two being Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant (Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois, but when elected had been in California for decades, where he was a former governor). Obama, having a white mother and Kenyan father of the Luo ethnic group, became the first African American and the first bi-racial president.

For the first time in history, both major party nominees were sitting United States Senators: Republican candidate John McCain (Arizona) and Democratic candidate Barack Obama (Illinois). The 2008 election marked the first time since the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960 that a sitting Senator was elected President of the United States, and the third time in American history (Warren G. Harding in 1920 was the first). It was also the second time in American history, after the election of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1960, that both the successful presidential and vice-presidential candidates (Barack Obama and Joe Biden) were sitting Senators. Obama was the first Northern Democrat elected to the presidency since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Also, the Obama-Biden ticket was the first winning ticket in American history on which neither candidate was a WASP. With their victory, Biden, a United States Senator from January 3, 1973 to January 15, 2009, became the longest-serving senator in history to become Vice President. Biden also became the first man since Lyndon Johnson in 1960 to be elected Vice President while also being reelected to the Senate, easily defeating Republican Christine O Donnell to win his seventh term.

The 2008 election was the first since 1952 in which neither the incumbent president nor the incumbent vice president was a candidate in the general election and the first since the 1928 election that neither sought his party's nomination for president.

Barack Obama and John McCain are nearly 25 years apart in age. This is the largest age disparity between the two major party presidential candidates in history, surpassing Bill Clinton and Bob Dole (23 years apart in age), who ran against each other in the 1996 presidential election. On January 20, 2009, Obama was inaugurated to the presidency at the age of 47 years 138 days. He is the fourth youngest man to be elected president, after John Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Ulysses Grant, and the fifth youngest president when inaugurated, after Kennedy, Clinton, Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Obama won Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia in the South (region as defined by the US Census Bureau). The Republicans took the South only because McCain, who ran roughly even with Obama among whites in every other region, won Southern whites by 38 percentage points. Obama also defied some political bellwethers, becoming the first person to win the presidency while losing Missouri since 1956. He was the first Democrat to win the presidency without winning West Virginia since 1916. He was also the first Democrat to win without Arkansas since the advent of the Democratic Party, and the first person of either party to win without Arkansas or Louisiana since 1968, as well as Tennessee and Kentucky since 1960. Obama became the first ever Democrat to lose the state of Ohio in a primary but to go on and win in the general election. [citation needed] Obama's victories in Indiana and Virginia were also noteworthy. Both states voted for the Democratic nominee for the first time since 1964. Obama was also the first Democrat to win the state of North Carolina since 1976. Although Obama did not win other normally Republican states such as Georgia and Montana (which were won by Bill Clinton in 1992), he nonetheless was competitive in both. He lost Montana by just under 3% and Georgia by slightly more than 5%.

Obama was the first presidential candidate to split the electoral votes from Nebraska. Together with Maine, which has not yet split its electoral votes, Nebraska is one of two states that split their electoral votes, two going to the statewide popular vote winner and the rest going to the winner of each respective congressional district (Nebraska has three, and Maine has two). Obama won the electoral vote from Nebraska's 2nd congressional district which contains the city of Omaha. Nebraska's other four electoral votes went to John McCain.

Obama's raw popular vote margin of victory (approximately 9.5 million votes) was the largest ever for a non-incumbent presidential candidate, and the sixth largest margin of victory ever. Obama's popular vote percentage (52.9%) is also the highest for a Democratic presidential candidate since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and the highest overall since George H. W. Bush was elected president in 1988. He also received more votes than any presidential candidate in American history, breaking the previous record of just over 62 million, held by President George W. Bush after his successful reelection bid in 2004. Meanwhile, John McCain set the record for the most votes received by a losing presidential candidate with slightly less than 60 million votes, beating the record of just over 59 million set by John Kerry.

Also notably, Barack Obama won all of the 2004 swing states (states that either Kerry or Bush won by less than 5%) by a margin of 9 percent or more with the exception of Ohio, which the Democrat carried by 4.5 percent.

It was observed that this election exhibited the continuation of some of the polarization trends evident in the 2000 and 2004 elections. McCain won whites by 12 points, while Obama won blacks by 91 points, Hispanics by 36 points, and Asians by 27 points. Voters aged 18 − 29 voted for Obama by 66 − 32 percent while elderly voters backed McCain 53 − 45 percent. However, from 2004, Obama improved on John Kerry's support among all race and age groups.