The Obama Campaign

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Posted by r2d2 03/03/2009 @ 11:08

Tags : the obama campaign, election 2008, politics

News headlines
Obama's 35.5-mpg deal may be a game-changer - Detroit Free Press
The deal fulfills Obama's campaign promise to push Detroit and other automakers toward more fuel-stingy vehicles, but will also sharply raise the industry's costs for meeting regulations. Under the pact, new federal rules would increase current mileage...
Obama, and Protests, at Notre Dame - New York Times
The crowd erupted with loud boos directed at the heckler and then broke into loud chanting of Mr. Obama's campaign slogan, “Yes, we can.” “We're fine, everybody,” President Obama said, calming the students, some of whom had stood up....
McAuliffe, Moran spar over support for Obama - Richmond Times Dispatch
McAuliffe made numerous appearances for Obama in Virginia. Tour schedules from the Obama campaign show that McAuliffe made a two-day, seven-stop tour in late September and an eight-city swing the weekend before the election. McAuliffe also fired back...
Exposing The Truth About ACORN, Obama And New York Times Expose ... - Post Chronicle
by Michael J. Gaynor Message to Public Editor Hoyt: ACORN has been an unofficial arm of the Democrat Party for years, Obama misrepresented his connection to ACORN in the last presidential debate, ACORN's Project Vote and the Obama campaign were...
The Tip That Didn't Pan Out - New York Times
The story involved allegations that Barack Obama's campaign, in league with Acorn, a left-leaning community activist group, was guilty of technical violations of campaign finance law. Evidence supplied by the source could not be verified....
SCOTUS Watch: Nominee Sherpa - FOXNews
Cutter was a top spokeswoman for the Obama transition and served as First Lady Michelle Obama's senior adviser and chief of staff during the general election campaign. Cutter is a long-time aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts,...
Winning Against the Odds - Lawn & Landscape
No matter which political affiliation you favor, you can't ignore the fact that Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe did an excellent job marketing his candidate. In fact, in 2007, few people thought the then-Senator had a chance of being...
FCW Insider: Lessons from the Obama campaign - FCW.com
As a candidate, Obama was “a socially enabled, socially connected, socially aware, socially conscious leader,” said Barry Libert, author of “Barack, Inc.: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign.” Clinton, in contrast, “did something no one,...
National Security Decisions Suggest Shift in Obama's Priorities ... - FOXNews
Obama restarted the military tribunals established by his predecessor and blocked the release of photos that show US troops abusing detainees, in both cases riling liberals who are important campaign-year foot soldiers and fundraisers....
Huntsman to China: Winners and Losers - Washington Post
Jon Huntsman's decision to join the Obama administration has major consequences for the 2012 field. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg News Huntsman had already begun to put in place the pieces of a national campaign -- bringing on John Weaver,...

Political positions of Barack Obama

Barack Obama campaigning in New Hampshire, August 2007

Barack Obama has declared his position on many political issues through his public comments and his senatorial voting record.

Barack Obama's current economic advisors are Austan Goolsbee of the University of Chicago and Jeffrey Liebman of Harvard University.

Speaking before the National Press Club in April 2005, he defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, associating Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security with Social Darwinism.

On April 20, 2007, Obama introduced a bill in the Senate (Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act - S. 1181) requiring public companies to give shareholders an annual nonbinding vote on executive compensation, popularly called "Say on pay." A companion bill introduced by Rep. Barney Frank passed the House the same day. Several corporations voluntarily have begun to give shareholders such a vote because of concerns about excessive CEO salaries.

Obama supports the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that adds penalties for labor violations and which would circumvent the secret ballot requirement to organize a union. Obama promises to sign the EFCA into law. He is also a cosponsor of the "Re-empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Tradesworkers" or RESPECT act (S. 969) that aims to overturn the National Labor Relations Board's "Kentucky River" 532 U.S. 706 (2001) decision that redefined many employees lacking the authority to hire, fire, or discipline, as "supervisors" who are not protected by federal labor laws.

Obama favored the increase in the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25, and he voted to end the filibuster against a bill to accomplish that. He favors raising it to $9.50 an hour by 2011, and then indexing it for inflation afterwards.

Obama favors the concept of equal pay (the abolition of wage differences based on gender). He has supported legislation designed to improve the effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. In 2007, the House of Representatives passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, would have allowed "employees to file charges of pay discrimination within 180 days of the last received paycheck affected by the alleged discriminatory decision." The bill would have overturned the Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. There the Court dismissed a woman's discrimination claim because she had filed it more than 180 days after the first affected paycheck. The bill died in a 2008 Senate vote in which Obama and other Democrats could not break a Republican filibuster. In the 111th congress it was passed again, and Obama signed it on January 29, 2009.

During an October 2004 debate, Obama stated that he opposed education vouchers for use at private schools because he believes they would undermine public schools.

In a July 2007 address to the National Education Association, Obama supported merit pay for teachers, to be based on standards to be developed "with teachers." Obama also called for higher pay for teachers. Obama's plan is estimated to cost $18 billion annually and was originally planned to be partially funded by delaying NASA's Constellation program for five years but he has since reconsidered and stated that he will look for "an entirely different offset." "We owe it to our children to invest in early-childhood education; and recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; and finally decide that, in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the few, but a birthright of every American." He also is against the teaching of intelligent design as scientific fact, but supports teaching theology.

Obama has proposed the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which would provide a refundable tax credit for education in exchange for community service.

In his New Energy for America plan, Obama proposes to reduce overall U.S. oil consumption by at least 35%, or 10 million barrels per day, by 2030 in order to offset imports from OPEC nations. Obama voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which provided incentives (chiefly tax breaks) to reduce national consumption of energy and to encourage a wide range of alternative energy sources. It also resulted in a net tax increase on oil companies.

Obama and other Senators introduced the BioFuels Security Act in 2006. "It's time for Congress to realize what farmers in America's heartland have known all along - that we have the capacity and ingenuity to decrease our dependence on foreign oil by growing our own fuel," Obama said. In a May 2006 letter to President George W. Bush, he joined four other midwest farming state Senators in calling for the preservation of a $0.54-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol.

On the issue of nuclear power, in 2005, Obama stated, "... as Congress considers policies to address air quality and the deleterious effects of carbon emissions on the global ecosystem, it is reasonable – and realistic – for nuclear power to remain on the table for consideration. Illinois has 11 nuclear power plants – the most of any State in the country – and nuclear power provides more than half of Illinois’ electricity needs." Regarding McCain's plans for 45 new nuclear power plants, Obama said that it's not serious, it's not new, it's not the kind of energy policy that will give families the relief they need. Obama declared himself flatly opposed to building the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

Obama and other Senators introduced a bill in 2007 to promote the development of commercially viable plug-in hybrids and other electric-drive vehicles in order to shift away from petroleum fuels and "toward much cleaner – and cheaper – electricity for transportation". Similar legislation is now in effect in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Obama proposes that the U.S. Government invest in such developments using revenue generated from an auction-based cap-and-trade or emissions trading program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama stresses innovation as a means to improve energy efficiency, calling for a 50% improvement by 2030. He has called for a 50 miles per US gallon (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) rule, proposing tax credits to automakers in order to ease the transition.

He opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

On June 22, 2008 Obama proposed tightening regulations on oil speculators in an effort to ease record high prices of oil. "My plan fully closes the Enron loophole and restores common-sense regulation," Obama said.

On January 24, 2007 Obama spoke about his position on health care at Families USA, a health care advocacy group. Obama said, "The time has come for universal health care in America I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country." Obama went on to say that he believed that it was wrong that forty-seven million Americans are uninsured, noting that taxpayers already pay over $15 billion annually to care for the uninsured. Obama cites cost as the reason so many Americans are without health insurance. Obama's health care plan includes implementing guaranteed eligibility for affordable health care for all Americans, paid for by insurance reform, reducing costs, removing patent protection for pharmaceuticals, and required employer contributions. He would provide for mandatory health care insurance for children.

In July 2008 The New York Times reported that Senator Obama has promised to “bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.” His advisers have said that the $2,500 premium reduction includes, in addition to direct premium savings, the average family's share of the reduction in employer paid health insurance premiums and the reduction in the cost of government health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The Associated Press reported in September 2008 that Senator Obama was proposing a National Health Insurance Exchange that would include both private insurance plans and a Medicare-like government run option. Coverage would be guaranteed regardless of health status, and premiums would not vary based on health status either. The campaign estimates the cost of the program at $60 billion annually. The plan requires that parents cover their children, but does not require adults to buy insurance.

Obama opposes the Health Care Choice Act.

According to an October 26, 2008 article in the New York Times, Obama is considering a new payroll tax on large and medium employers who do not already provide their employees with health insurance, and this tax would be used to pay for health care for uninsured people, but Obama has not cited the specific percentage of payroll that the tax would be, or how small a number of employees the employer would have to have in order to be exempt from the tax.

Obama voted for the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

Obama introduced the Stop Fraud Act to increase penalties for mortgage fraud by mortgage brokers and real estate brokers and to provide more protections for low-income homebuyers.

In regards to capital gains on house sales, Obama says he favors increasing capital gains tax above the present 15% rate to 20% for families whose income is above $250,000.

In a June 2006 podcast, Obama expressed support for telecommunications legislation to protect network neutrality on the Internet, saying: "It is because the Internet is a neutral platform that I can put out this podcast and transmit it over the Internet without having to go through any corporate media middleman. I can say what I want without censorship or without having to pay a special charge. But the big telephone and cable companies want to change the Internet as we know it." Obama reaffirmed his commitment to net neutrality at a meeting with Google employees in November 2007, at which he said, "once providers start to privilege some applications or web sites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out, and we all lose." At the same event, Obama pledged to appoint a Chief Technology Officer to oversee the U.S. government's management of IT resources and promote wider access to government information and decision making.

Under Obama's plan, middle-class families would see their income taxes cut, with no family making less than $250,000 seeing an increase. However, he did vote for a budget in June 2008, that would raise the taxes on single people with a taxable income of over $32,000 by pushing up their tax bracket from 25% to 28%. Obama has proposed a tax plan which includes tax credits to lower the amount of taxes paid. It is argued that the typical middle-class family would receive over $1,000 in tax relief, with tax payments that are 20% lower than they faced under President Ronald Reagan. According to the Tax Policy Center, the Obama plan provides three times as much tax relief for middle-class families as the McCain plan.

Families making more than $250,000 would pay either the same or lower income tax rates than they paid in the 1990s. For the wealthiest 2% of families, Obama plans to reverse a portion of the tax cuts they have received over the past eight years. But no family will pay higher income tax rates than they would have paid in the 1990s. Dividend rates would be 39 percent lower than what President George W. Bush proposed in his 2001 tax cut.

Obama’s plan is to cut income taxes overall, which he states would reduce revenues to below the levels that prevailed under Ronald Reagan (less than 18.2 percent of GDP). Obama argues that his plan is a net tax cut, and that his tax relief for middle class families is larger than the revenue raised by his tax changes for families over $250,000. Obama plans to pay for the tax changes while bringing down the budget deficit by cutting unnecessary spending.

Speaking in November 2006 to members of Wake Up Wal-Mart, a union-backed campaign group, Obama said: "You need to pay your workers enough that they can actually not only shop at Wal-Mart, but ultimately send their kids to college and save for retirement." His tax plan is projected to bring in an additional $700 billion in taxes over the next 10 years.

In The Audacity of Hope and the Blueprint for Change Obama advocates responding to the "precarious budget situation" by eliminating "tax credits that have outlived their usefulness", closing corporate tax loopholes, and restoring the PAYGO policy that prohibits increases in federal spending without a way to compensate for the lost revenue.

During an October 13, 2008 speech at Toledo, Ohio, Obama said that for the next two years, he favors a $3,000 tax credit to businesses for each new full time employee whom they hire above the number in their current work force.

In response to a possible shortfall in Social Security funding, Obama has endorsed imposition of a new FICA tax on incomes above $250,000. Currently, income above $102,000 is exempt from such taxation. Obama has opposed Bush's proposal for privatization of Social Security.

Obama has spoken out numerous times against the influence of lobbying in the United States. He also co-sponsored legislation that limits lobbyists' influence by mandating that lawmakers pay full charter fare when flying on lobbyists' corporate jets.

On January 24, 2007, in reference to his stated plan to take public financing should he procure the nomination, he said, "I think that for a time, the presidential public financing system works." On November 27, he said, "I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election," and on February 28, 2008, he wrote that he planned to "aggressively pursue" a publicly financed campaign, later promising to sit down with John McCain to ensure "a public system" of campaign financing is preserved. However, on June 19, 2008, he opted out of public campaign financing and declared, "I support a robust system of public financing of elections (...) but the public financing of presidential elections as it exists today is broken." Furthermore he has maintained that he will not take contributions from federal lobbyists and special interests during his 2008 presidential campaign.

According to his website, Obama would create an online database of lobbying reports, campaign finance filings and ethics records, and would create an independent watchdog agency to oversee congressional ethical violations.

In September 2006, Obama voted for the Secure Fence Act, authorizing the construction of 700 miles (1,100 km) of fencing along the United States–Mexico border.

Obama has supported granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

In June 2007, Obama voted against declaring English as the official language of the federal government.

Obama writes in his most recent book, The Audacity of Hope: "Affirmative action programs, when properly structured, can open up opportunities otherwise closed to qualified minorities without diminishing opportunities for white students." In July, Obama stated, "I am a strong supporter of affirmative action when properly structured so that it is not just a quota, but it is acknowledging and taking into account some of the hardships and difficulties that communities of color may have experienced, continue to experience, and it also speaks to the value of diversity in all walks of American life." He has indicated support for affirmative action based on class, not just race, (q.v. redistributive change) in comments where he said that his daughters should be treated by prospective colleges and employers as people that grew up with a privileged background.

Barack Obama made critical statements about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the Democratic primaries, calling the trade agreement "devastating" and "a big mistake". In February 2008, a Canadian diplomatic memo surfaced, which alleged that Obama's economic advisor Austan Goolsbee had met with Canadian consular officials in Chicago and told them to disregard Obama's campaign rhetoric regarding NAFTA, a charge the Obama campaign later denied (see Barack Obama presidential primary campaign, 2008#NAFTA controversy). Obama also noted that free trade comes with its own costs: he believes the displacement of Mexican farmers by more efficient American counterparts has led to increased immigration to the United States from that country.

On October 13, 2008, Obama said that he wanted Congress to double its guaranteed loans to the U.S. automobile industry from $25 billion to $50 billion.

During the speech Obama called for an expansion of the United States Armed Forces "by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines", an idea previously introduced by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Barack Obama is currently advised on foreign policy by a support group of approximately 300 people organized into 20 teams based upon subject. A core group of advisors, led by Susan E. Rice and Anthony Lake, filters hundreds of papers and messages daily to provide the Senator with more concise positions on foreign policy and more specific reactions to international developments. Obama's foreign policy advisers have included Richard Danzig, Mark Lippert, Gregory Craig, Dennis McDonough, Daniel Shapiro, Scott Gration, Sarah Sewall, Ivo Daalder, Jeffrey Bader, Mark Brzezinski, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Clarke, Roger Cressey, Philip Gordon, Lawrence Korb, James Ludes, Robert Malley, Bruce Riedel, Dennis Ross, Mona Sutphen, and Samantha Power (resigned March 7, 2008).

The United States is trapped by the Bush-Cheney approach to diplomacy that refuses to talk to leaders we don't like. Not talking doesn't make us look tough — it makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership. Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe. He will do the careful preparation necessary, but will signal that America is ready to come to the table, and that he is willing to lead.

I'll turn the page on a growing empire of classified information, and restore the balance we've lost between the necessarily secret and the necessity of openness in a democratic society by creating a new National Declassification Center. We'll protect sources and methods, but we won't use sources and methods as pretexts to hide the truth.

Obama proposes giving the Director of National Intelligence a fixed term independent of Presidential control as one means of depoliticizing the intelligence process and reforming the U.S. intelligence community. In a 2007 article appearing in Foreign Affairs, Obama wrote, "...we should institutionalize the practice of developing competitive assessments of critical threats and strengthen our methodologies of (intelligence) analysis.

He originally opposed efforts to include any legal immunity, especially retroactive immunity, for government officials and telecommunications firms alleged to have taken part in the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program as part of legislation to modernize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. However, on June 20, 2008, Obama issued a statement saying that he would support the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 passed the previous week by the House of Representatives, although he would attempt to have a retroactive immunity provision included in the bill removed before it came to a Senate floor vote. Obama's decision to vote in favor of a bill containing an immunity provision attracted criticism from some of his activist supporters. Obama voted for an amendment to strip retroactive immunity from the bill, but the amendment failed to pass. On July 9, he voted for the entire FISA amendments bill which still included retroactive immunity.

On April 23, 2007 Barack Obama addressed the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and called for an expansion of the United States Armed Forces "by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines", an idea previously introduced by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and "providing them with the first-rate equipment, armor, training, and incentives they deserve"; despite his incentives to slow the development of Future Combat Systems. This plan was eventually manifest in the form of the Grow the Army initiative.

Although he opposes reviving the military draft, Obama favors changing the Selective Service requirements so that women as well as men must register at age 18.

Obama announced a plan — if elected — to deploy an additional 7,000 troops to Afghanistan. "As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan" "We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there" "I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq," Obama said on July 14, 2008.

After meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on July 25 as part of a world tour, Obama said in the joint news conference with Sarkozy, "Afghanistan is a war that we have to win" because al-Qaeda and the radical Islamic Taliban movement cannot be allowed to establish new havens for planning "terrorist attacks . . . that could affect Paris or New York." Obama declared that there were no effective options to this policy, saying, "So we don't have a choice; we've got to finish the job." Obama said the United States "needs to send two additional brigades at least" to Afghanistan and praised Sarkozy for his willingness to send more French troops to that country.

Obama paid tribute to South Africa's ANC fight for freedom, saying they taught lessons to the world and helped inspire his own political career. "If it wasn't for some of the activities that happened here, I might not be involved in politics and might not be doing what I am doing in the United States," he said.

In a nationally televised speech at the University of Nairobi, he spoke forcefully on the influence of ethnic rivalries and corruption in Kenya. The speech touched off a public debate among rival leaders, some formally challenging Obama's remarks as unfair and improper, others defending his positions.

Obama expressed his concerns about the growing number of systematic sexual assaults against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since Congo Civil War erupted. In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the The Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security and Democracy Promotion Act, the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor, which identifies such systematic sexual violence as a particular threat in Congo.

On January 19, 2008 Obama announced that as a U.S. Senator, he has stood with the Armenian American community in calling for Turkey's acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide, and supports its recognition. In 2006, Obama criticized Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for firing United States Ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, after he used the term "genocide" to describe Turkey's killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians. Obama said that he shared with Evans his "firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence".

On June, 2008 Obama restated his commitment to U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide in a letter to ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian. "I share your view that the United States must recognize the events of 1915 to 1923, carried out by the Ottoman Empire, as genocide. As you know, this resulted in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed", wrote Obama.

In 2007 Obama supported House Resolution 106 which recognized the killings as genocide.

In an August opinion piece in the Miami Herald, he stated: "A democratic opening in Cuba is, and should be, the foremost objective of our policy." He then went on to note: "We need a clear strategy to achieve it – one that takes some limited steps now to spread the message of freedom on the island, but preserves our ability to bargain on behalf of democracy with a post-Fidel government." More to the point, his administration would recognize that "bilateral talks would be the best means of promoting Cuban freedom." In a speech before the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami Obama hardened his position, vowing to maintain the economic embargo against Cuba and not to begin normalizing relations with the US until the island nation took "significant steps towards democracy" including the "freeing of all political prisoners". He characterized his position as "strong, smart, and principled" diplomacy.

According to Hillary Clinton's written statement during her Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of State, Obama believes in lifting the restrictions on Cuban-Americans making visits and sending cash to their familes in Cuba. She reaffirmed that he has no current intention to remove the embargo itself.

Obama appealed to China on grounds of co-operation and increased friendship following Obama's election victory on November 4th 2008. On November 8th 2008, Hu Jintao and Barack Obama had a phone conversation in which the Chinese President congratulated Obama on his recent election victory. During the conversation both parties agreed that the development of US-China relations is not only in the interest of both nations, but also in the interests of the world.

During his 2004 Senate campaign, Obama stated that he had not ruled out military action against Iran. In a meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Obama stated: "The big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures, including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point are we going to take military action, if any?" Obama stressed that he would only use force as a last resort. Obama has not declared a change in this stance since the 2004 campaign. In 2006, he called on Iran to "take some ownership for creating some stability" in Iraq.

In June 2008, Obama called Iran the greatest threat in the Middle East. "There's no greater threat to Israel or to the peace and stability of the region than Iran," Obama said on June 4, 2008.

After meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on July 25 as part of a world tour, Obama issued his strongest warning yet to Tehran with Sarkozy at his side. Obama urged Iran to "end its illicit nuclear program" or face increased pressure from a unified international community, saying that the Iranian government should not "wait for the next president" before accepting proposals to resolve the current stalemate with Western countries.

Obama said that the world faced an "extraordinarily grave situation" from Iran's pursuit of a uranium enrichment program, which the United States and its allies fear could be used eventually to build nuclear weapons. Obama said that he had found "uniform concern about Iran" in his meetings with leaders in the Middle East and Europe on his trip.

During a July 2004 interview reported by The New York Times when asked how he would have acted in regard to the Iraq resolution in 2002, Obama answered "What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made" and that he was "not privy to Senate Intelligence reports," using it as a reason to support John Kerry and John Edwards in the 2004 election. Obama defended his words on a later edition of Meet the Press saying that he made the statement because it was during the middle of an election in which his party's presidential nominees had both voted to authorize the war and noting that he was openly opposed to the war as early as 2002.

Speaking before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in November 2006, he said: "The days of using the war on terror as a political football are over. It is time to give Iraqis their country back, and it is time to refocus America's efforts on the wider struggle yet to be won." In his speech Obama also called for a phased withdrawal of American troops starting in 2007, and an opening of diplomatic dialogue with Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran.

Obama has not supported cutting funding to the war as a way to end U.S. involvement in the conflict. He stated that, "Once we were in, we were going to have some responsibility to try to make it work as best we can". Obama was however one of 14 senators who voted against the successful passage of H.R.2206 in May 2007, a bill meant to provide continued funding for the Iraq war free from any withdrawal deadlines.

Although Obama had previously said he wanted all the U.S. troops out of Iraq within 16 months of becoming President, after he won the primary, he said he might "refine" that promise.

Obama said he would set a goal of having all U.S. combat brigades out of Iraq by summer 2010 and shift more resources to fighting Taliban in Afghanistan. "We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months" "That would be the summer of 2010 -- two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began," Obama said on July 14, 2008.

Obama will provide at least $2 billion to expand services to Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries.

Obama's reaction to the 2008 Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence was that the "announcement of independence by the leadership of Kosovo ends a chain of events that began with the bloody break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Kosovo’s independence is a unique situation resulting from the irreparable rupture Slobodan Milosevic’s actions caused; it is in no way a precedent for anyone else in the region or around the world." He expressed hope that "Serbia and Kosovo can emerge as models of democratic and economic growth, and their people can know a bright future." The Obama administration has expressed strong support for Kosovar independence, and Obama dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to meet with the republic's leaders to affirm his administration's commitment to seeking greater international recognition for the state.

In his first formal television interview as President, Barack Obama addressed the Muslim world through an Arabic-language satellite TV network Al-Arabiya. He expressed interest and a commitment to repair relations that have continued to deteriorate under the previous administration. He called for a new partnership with the Muslim world, "based on mutual respect and mutual interest." The American envoy to the region is former Sen. George J. Mitchell.

In an address on national security to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars on August 1, 2007, Obama stated that as President he would consider military action in Pakistan in order to attack al-Qaeda, even if the Pakistani government did not give approval. Obama said, "I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to America." He also said "As President, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to reinforce our counter-terrorism operations".

On August 1, 2007 Obama declared in a foreign policy speech that the United States must be willing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan, with or without the consent of the Pakistani government. He said, "If we have actionable intelligence about high value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will". On the same day in response, then-White House press secretary Tony Snow highlighted the policy's shift from the position established by the Bush Administration, he said: "Our approach to Pakistan is one that not only respects the sovereignty of Pakistan as a sovereign government, but is also designed to work in a way where we are working in cooperation with the local government".

After weeks of discourse surrounding the policy, Obama said there was misreporting of his comments, saying that, "I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan." He clarified that rather than a surge in the number of troops in Iraq, there needs to be a "diplomatic surge" and that if there were "actionable intelligence reports" showing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the U.S. troops as a last resort should enter and try to capture terrorists. That would happen, he added, only if "the Pakistani government was unable or unwilling" to go after the terrorists.

Obama has said that he would hold Pakistan accountable for the massive military aid it has received from Washington if he were elected to the White House. He said his administration will increase pressure on Pakistan to come to terms with terrorist safe havens along its northern border with Afghanistan. He noted that the US was providing Pakistan military aid which he said was being misused by that country to prepare for a war against India.

Obama supports opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and congratulated him upon his swearing-in as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, but he has historically been a critic of President Robert Mugabe. Obama's position is that sanctions should remain against the Zimbabwean government until Mugabe shows signs of cooperating with Tsvangirai.

The Almanac of American Politics (2008) rated Obama's overall social policies in 2006 as more conservative than 21% of the Senate, and more liberal than 77% of the Senate (18% and 77%, respectively, in 2005).

In his write-in response to a 1998 survey, Obama stated his abortion position as conforming with the Democratic platform: "Abortions should be legally available in accordance with Roe v. Wade." However, throughout the course of his candidacy, Obama has avoided labelling himself as either Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. In August of 2008, in Lake Forest, California, Obama said, "Whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade." Throughout much of the campaign, Obama had managed to maintain the middle ground on the issue.

Obama opposed the Induced Infant Liability Act. Obama is reported to have opposed it because of technical language that might have interfered with a woman's right to choose and because Illinois law already required medical care in such situations.

Obama voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, saying "On an issue like partial birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. All I've said is we should have a provision to protect the health of the mother, and many of the bills that came before me didn't have that." Obama voted against a bill that made it a federal crime for anyone other than a parent to accompany a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion. The bill was signed into law by President Bush in 2005. Obama has, however, expressed support of bans on late-term abortions, provided they include exemptions for the life or health of a mother.

Obama voted for a $100 million education initiative to reduce teen pregnancy and provide contraceptives to young people.

Obama was the only Democratic presidential candidate to issue an unsolicited statement expressing his views on disability community issues. For example, he stated his intention to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and expressed his support of the ADA Restoration Act.

The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.

He has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 by creating a market-based cap-and-trade system. Obama also has plans for improving air and water quality through reduced carbon emissions.

Obama worked as a member of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during the 109th Congress. According to the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Obama has made pro-environment votes on 10 of 15 congressional resolutions documented in the 2007 National Environmental Scorecard. The resolutions in the listed by the scorecard for the first session of the 110th Congress include energy legislation regarding fuel efficiency and clean/renewable energy, oil refineries, undermining renewable electricity, offshore drilling, liquid coal, biofuels, water resources, population, farming subsidies, and eminent domain. His lifetime environmental voting percentage given by the LCV in 2007 is 86 which dropped from the previous year due to four absences that count negatively on the LCV scorecard. In his recent presidential campaign Obama rejected John McCain's proposed suspension of federal gas taxes claiming it would hurt consumers, hinder highway construction, and endanger jobs. Obama criticized the idea of a gas tax "holiday" as a ploy by his rivals "designed to get them through an election" and not actually help "struggling consumers".

Obama has stated, "The bond that I would like to create between an Obama administration and the nations all across this country...is something that is going to be a top priority." Obama added that "few have been ignored by Washington for as long as native Americans – the first Americans" and that "too often Washington has paid lip service to working with tribes while taking a one-size-fits-all approach" and promised "that will change when I am president".

Obama is the first presidential candidate to have been given honorary membership into a Native American tribe, the Crow Nation. At a private adoption ceremony, Obama was given the Crow name "One Who Helps People Throughout the Land".

Obama opposes offering reparations to the descendants of slaves. "I have said in the past — and I'll repeat again — that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed," Obama said. An apology for slavery would be appropriate but not particularly helpful in improving the lives of African Americans, he said. Reparations could also be a distraction, Obama said. "I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds," Obama told a meeting in Chicago in July 2008.

Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment which would have defined marriage as between one man and one woman, but stated in a 2008 interview that he personally believes that marriage is "between a man and a woman" and that he is "not in favor of gay marriage." He supports civil unions that would carry equal legal standing to that of marriage for same-sex couples, but believes that decisions about the title of marriage should be left to the states. Following the 2008 elections, it was reported that Obama had formerly supported same-sex marriage. He has called for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Obama stated on March 15, 2007, that "I do not agree...that homosexuality is immoral." During the July 23, 2007 CNN/YouTube debate, Obama further stated that "... we've got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law. And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples." Obama supports expanding the protections afforded by hate crimes statutes to cover crimes committed against individuals because of sexual orientation or gender identity. He has also stated his opposition to the United States' military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, and has affirmed his intention to repeal it during his Presidency.

Obama was criticized for inviting Reverend Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary and Reverend Hezekiah Walker — who all have a history of making anti-gay remarks — to participate in a three-day gospel music campaign tour called "Embrace the Courage", as part of Obama's "40 Days of Faith and Family" campaign in South Carolina. The Obama campaign responded to criticism in a press release, saying, "I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these rights as president of the United States to ensure that America is a country that spreads tolerance instead of division." For events held Sunday, October 28, 2007, Obama added Reverend Andy Sidden, an openly gay pastor.

As a state legislator in Illinois, Obama supported banning the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic firearms, increasing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of firearms and requiring manufacturers to provide child-safety locks with firearms.

In 1996, during Obama's run for the Illinois State Senate, he was surveyed by a Chicago nonprofit, Independent Voters of Illinois about criminal justice and other issues. Obama's questionnaire showed that he supported a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns. Subsequently, Obama denied that his writing was on the document and said that he never favored a ban on the sale and possession of handguns. In 1999, he urged prohibiting the operation of any gun store within five miles of a school or park, which according to gun-rights advocates would eliminate gun stores from most of the inhabited portion of the United States. He sponsored a bill in 2000 limiting handgun purchases to one per month.

As state senator, he voted against a 2004 measure that allowed self-defense as an affirmative defense for those charged with violating local laws making it otherwise unlawful for such persons to possess firearms. He also voted against allowing persons who had obtained domestic violence protective orders to carry handguns for their protection.

From 1994 through 2002, Obama was a board member of the Joyce Foundation, which amongst other non-gun related activities provides funds for gun control organizations in the United States.

While in the U.S. Senate, Obama has supported several gun control measures, including restricting the purchase of firearms at gun shows and the reauthorization of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Obama voted against legislation protecting firearm manufacturers from certain liability suits, which gun-rights advocates say are designed to bankrupt the firearms industry. Obama did vote in favor of the 2006 Vitter Amendment to prohibit the confiscation of lawful firearms during an emergency or major disaster, which passed 84-16.

During a February 15, 2008 press conference, Obama stated, "I think there is an individual right to bear arms, but it's subject to commonsense regulation." Obama has also stated his opposition to allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms and supports a national law outlawing the practice, saying on Chicago Public Radio in 2004 "I continue to support a ban on concealed carry laws".

After being elected as President, Obama announced that he favors measures that respect Second Amendment rights, while at the same time keeping guns away from children and criminals. He further stated that he wants to close the gun-show loophole and make guns childproof, and that he supports reinstating the expired Assault Weapons Ban and making it permanent.. On February 25, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration will seek a new assault weapons ban across the United States, claiming that it would have a positive impact on the drug-related violence in Mexico.

On June 25, 2008, Obama condemned United States Supreme Court decision Kennedy v. Louisiana, which outlawed the death penalty for a child rapist when the victim was not killed. He said that states have the right to consider capital punishment, but cited concern about the possibility of unfairness in some sentences.

Obama voted in favor of the 2006 version of the USA PATRIOT Act. He voted against the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and later voted to restore habeas corpus to those detained by the U.S. (which had been stripped by the Military Commissions Act). He has advocated closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but has not supported two specific bills that would have done so. Obama still opposes the use of torture and used to oppose warrantless domestic wiretaps by the U.S. He voted against the Flag Desecration Amendment in 2006, arguing that flag burning didn't justify a constitutional amendment, but said that he would support a law banning flag burning on federal property. As of August 8, 2008, the ACLU has given Obama a score of 80% on civil liberty issues for the 110th Congress U.S. Senate.

As noted above, Obama voted to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT Act, which extended the Act, but with some amendments. Such amendments would clarify the rights of an individual who has received FISA orders to challenge nondisclosure requirements and to refuse disclosure of the name of their attorney.

He voted against extending the USA PATRIOT Act’s Wiretap Provision on March 1, 2006. This bill would give the FBI the authority to conduct “roving wiretaps” and access to business records. Voting against this bill would prolong the debate, keeping the USA PATRIOT Act provisional whereas voting for this bill would extend the USA PATRIOT Act as permanent.

Obama had previously opposed legislation that granted legal immunity for telecommunications companies that helped the Bush administration to conduct wiretaps without warrants but later voted in favor of a compromise bill that included such provisions.

Obama has encouraged Democrats to reach out to evangelicals and other church-going people, saying, "if we truly hope to speak to people where they’re at—to communicate our hopes and values in a way that’s relevant to their own—we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse." He supports separation of church and state and contends that: "I also think that we are under obligation in public life to translate our religious values into moral terms that all people can share, including those who are not believers. And that is how our democracy’s functioning, will continue to function. That’s what the founding fathers intended." In July 2008, Obama said that if elected president he would expand the delivery of social services through churches and other religious organizations, vowing to achieve what he said President Bush had fallen short on.

Obama supports embryonic stem cell research and was a co-sponsor of the 2005 Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act which was passed by both houses of Congress but vetoed by President Bush. Obama condemned Bush's veto, saying, "Democrats want this bill to pass. Conservative, pro-life Republicans want this bill to pass. By large margins, the American people want this bill to pass. It is only the White House standing in the way of progress - standing in the way of so many potential cures." He also voted in favor of the 2007 bill lifting restrictions on embryonic stem cell research that was passed but was also vetoed by President Bush.

Residents of Washington, D.C. do not have voting representation in Congress. Instead, residents are afforded a non-voting delegate in the House and do not have any representation in the Senate. Barack Obama supports "full representation in Congress" for residents of the District of Columbia. As a Senator, Obama co-sponsored the failed Voting Rights Act of 2007, which would have granted the District of Columbia full voting representation in the House.

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Barack Obama presidential primary campaign, 2008

Volunteers in line Saturday morning, April 19, 2008 at the Obama campaign office in North Philadelphia. (Girard Ave. & Broad St.)

On February 10, 2007, Barack Obama, then junior United States Senator from Illinois, announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in Springfield, Illinois. On June 3, 2008, he secured enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for the 2008 presidential election. He is the first African-American in American History to be nominated by a major party. On November 4, 2008, Obama won the presidential election and currently serves as the 44th President of the United States, succeeding George W. Bush.

Obama announced his candidacy at the Old State Capitol building where Abraham Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech in 1858. Obama was the main challenger, along with John Edwards, to Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton for much of 2007. His initial victory in the Iowa caucus helped bring him to national prominence out of the crowded field of Democratic challengers, and his campaign began to trade a series of hard-fought state wins with expected frontunner Clinton in January, a trend which continued through Super Tuesday, where Obama had great success in large rural states, and Clinton was nearly as dominant in high-population coastal areas. Obama continued to have remarkable fundraising and electoral success in February, winning all 11 state and territorial-level contests following Super Tuesday, and "chipping away" at Clinton's core supporters in key states. Obama won the Vermont primary, however ended up losing Ohio and Rhode Island thus losing six delegates of his lead. Obama then won the Wyoming caucus and Mississippi primary, and later lost the Pennsylvania primary.

After Obama won the North Carolina primary and narrowly lost the Indiana primary, superdelegates began to endorse Obama in greater numbers. Despite losing West Virginia and Kentucky by wide margins, Obama's win in Oregon gave him an absolute majority of the pledged delegates, and he maintained that majority after the full delegations of Florida and Michigan were seated at half voting strength by a May 31st Democratic National Committee ruling. After a rush of support for Obama from superdelegates on June 3rd, the day of the final primary contests of Montana and South Dakota, Obama was estimated to surpass the 2,118 delegates required for the Democratic nomination. On June 7, Clinton formally ended her candidacy and endorsed Obama, making him the party's presumptive nominee. On 27 August, the Democratic Party of the United States nominated Barack Obama to run for the office of the President of the United States of America.

However, in an October 2006 interview on the television program Meet the Press, Obama appeared to open the possibility of a 2008 presidential bid. Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and Illinois State Comptroller Daniel Hynes were early advocates for a 2008 Obama presidential run. Many people in the entertainment community have also expressed readiness to campaign for an Obama presidency, including celebrity television show host Oprah Winfrey, singer Macy Gray, rap artist Common, and film actors George Clooney, Halle Berry, and Will Smith.

In September 2006, Obama was the featured speaker at Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry, a political event traditionally attended by presidential hopefuls in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses. In December 2006, Obama spoke at a New Hampshire event celebrating Democratic Party midterm election victories in the first-in-the-nation U.S. presidential primary state, drawing 1500 people.

On January 14, 2007, the Chicago Tribune reported that Obama had begun assembling his 2008 presidential campaign team, to be headquartered in Chicago. His team includes campaign manager David Plouffe and media consultant David Axelrod, who are partners at Chicago-based political consulting firm AKP&D Message and Media. Communications director Robert Gibbs was previously press secretary for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. Penny Pritzker heads the campaign finance team.

Other members of the campaign staff include Deputy National Campaign Director Steve Hildebrand, New Media Director Joe Rospars, speechwriter Jon Favreau, national press secretary Bill Burton, traveling press secretary Dan Pfeiffer, policy development Cassandra Butts, finance director Julianna Smoot, research director Devorah Adler, and pollsters Paul Harstad and Cornell Belcher.

A number of Obama's top aides have backgrounds with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who left the Senate due to re-election defeat at the same time Obama was entering it.

Obama's economic advisors include chief Austan Goolsbee, who has worked with him since his U.S. Senate campaign, Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett, health economist David Cutler and Jeffrey Leibman. His foreign policy advisors included a core of nine people: Greg Craig, Richard Danzig, Scott Gration, Anthony Lake, Denis McDonough, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice and Daniel Shapiro until March, 2008 when Samantha Power stepped down. A larger group of 250 advisers is divided into subgroups of about 20 people, each focusing on a specific area or topic. His legal affairs advisors include Martha Minow, Ronald Sullivan, Christopher Edley Jr., Eric Holder and Cassandra Butts.

Among his field staff, Paul Tewes and Mitch Stewart led Obama's winning Iowa caucus campaign and one or the other of them directed field operations in many other crucial states, including Nevada, Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

Obama's campaign was notable for extensive use of a logo consisting of the letter O, with the center suggesting a sun rising over fields in the colors of the American flag. It was designed by a team at Chicago design firm Sender LLC.

In March 2007, the Obama campaign posted a question on Yahoo! Answers, entitled: "How can we engage more people in the democratic process?" which ultimately drew in over 17,000 responses.

On May 3, 2007, citing no specific threat but motivated by the large volume of hate mail directed at the Senator, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced that the United States Secret Service would provide protection for the campaign, including bodyguards for Obama and other services/resources similar to those employed for the safety of the President of the United States, albeit on a proportionally smaller level. Normally, presidential candidates are not offered Secret Service protection until early February of election year; this was the earliest protection had ever been granted.

After weeks of discourse surrounding the policy, Obama said there was "misreporting" of his comments, stating that, "I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan." He clarified that rather than a surge in the number of troops in Iraq, there needs to be a "diplomatic surge" and that if there were "actionable intelligence reports" showing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the U.S. troops as a last resort should enter and try to capture terrorists. That would happen, he added, only if "the Pakistani government was unable or unwilling" to go after the terrorists.

In mid-late October 2007, Obama came under fire from the Human Rights Campaign and others for a South Carolina gospel music campaign tour that featured singer Donnie McClurkin, who states that he is "ex-gay" and that homosexuality is a "curse the intention of God." Obama said in response that, "I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin's views." While not replacing McClurkin, the campaign added a gay minister to the tour.

As fall 2007 continued, Obama fell further behind Clinton in national polls. In late October 2007, two months before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Obama began directly charging his top rival with failing to clearly state her political positions. This shift in approach attracted much media commentary; The New York Times' Adam Nagourney wrote that, "Obama has appeared to struggle from the start of this campaign with how to marry what he has promised to be a new approach to politics — free of the partisan bitterness that has marked presidential campaigns for so long — with what it takes to actually win a presidential race." In an early-anticipated October 30 Democratic debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Clinton suffered a poor debate performance under cross-examination from her Democratic rivals and the moderator. Obama's campaign was reinvigorated and he began to climb again in the polls.

Campaigning in November 2007, Obama told the Washington Post that as the Democratic nominee he would draw more support from independent and Republican voters in the general election than Clinton. At Iowa's Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner Obama expanded the theme, saying that his presidency would "bring the country together in a new majority" to seek solutions to long-standing problems.

On November 21, Obama announced that Oprah Winfrey would be campaigning for him in the early primary states, setting off speculation that, although celebrity endorsements typically have little effect on voter opinions, Oprah's participation would supply Obama with a large, receptive audience. As word spread that Oprah's first appearance would be in Iowa, polls released in early December revealed Obama taking the lead in that decisive state.Then, on December 8, Oprah kicked-off a three-state tour supporting Obama's campaign, where she drew record-setting crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and was described as "more cogent, more effective, more convincing" than anyone on the campaign trail.. The Oprah-Obama tour dominated political news headlines and cast doubts over Clinton's ability to recover her recently-lost lead in Iowa caucus polls.

When the close proximity of the first contests to the holidays prompted many candidates to release Christmas videos — allowing them to continue presenting their messages, but in more seasonal settings — Obama chose one that gave speaking parts to his wife and daughters and emphasized a message of thanks and unity.

Polling showed a tight race in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary. All of the candidates barnstormed in New Hampshire during the four days after the Iowa caucuses, targeting undecided and independent voters in the state. The day before the election, polls conducted by CNN/WMUR, Rasmussen Reports and USA Today/Gallup showed Obama jumping ahead by 9, 10 and 13 points respectively. Despite the apparent surge of momentum, Clinton defeated Obama by a margin of 39.1 percent to 36.5 percent in the New Hampshire primary on January 8, 2008. Obama told supporters that he was "still fired up and ready to go," echoing a theme of his campaign.

In what has been deemed the "Yes We Can" speech, Obama acknowledged that he faced a fight for the nomination and that "nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change." The lyrics to the song in Yes We Can, an eponymous music video created by celebrity supporters of Obama, was entirely made up of pieces of this particular speech.

Meanwhile, Internet theories sprung up about how the vote counting itself had been suspect, due to discrepancies between machine-counted votes (which supported Clinton overall) and hand-counted votes (which supported Obama overall). Fifth-place finisher Dennis Kucinich's campaign paid $25,000 to have a recount done of all Democratic ballots cast in the primary, saying "It is imperative that these questions be addressed in the interest of public confidence in the integrity of the election process and the election machinery." On January 16 the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office began the recount. After recounting 23 percent of the state's democratic primary votes, the Secretary of State announced that no significant difference was found in any candidate's total, and that the oft-discussed discrepancy between hand-counted and machine-counted ballots was solely due to demographic factors.

The Nevada Caucus took place on January 19. Obama received the endorsement of two very important unions in the state: the Culinary Workers Union (whose 60,000 members staff the casinos and resorts of Las Vegas and elsewhere) and the Nevada chapter of the SEIU. Clinton countered by appealing to the Hispanic vote in the state, emphasizing that they were at special risk from the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis.

One day after the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Obama, the Nevada State Education Association—a teachers' union that while not officially endorsing Clinton, had top officials who did—filed a lawsuit seeking to eliminate at-large caucus sites that had been setup in nine Las Vegas resorts saying they violated equal protection and one-person-one-vote requirements. The suit was viewed as a proxy legal battle between Clinton and Obama, as the caucus sites within the casinos would be primarily used by members of the CWU, who are more likely to vote for Obama. This led Obama to allege that the suit was filed in order to hurt his chances at the caucuses. "Some of the people who set up the rules apparently didn't think we'd be as competitive as we were and trying to change them last minute," he said.

On January 17, a federal judge ruled that the casino at-large caucus plan could go ahead. This was seen as a win for Obama because of the Culinary Workers Union endorsement. To further complicate matters, the major news and polling organizations decided to not do any polls before the Nevada caucuses, fearing the newness of the caucus, the transient nature of Nevada's population, and more fallout from their bad experience in New Hampshire.

Clinton finished first in the state delegate count on January 19, winning 51% of delegates to the state convention. However, Obama was projected to win the Nevada national delegate count with 13 delegates to Clinton's 12, because the apportionment of some delegates are determined by Congressional District. Delegates to the national convention were determined officially at the April 19 state convention. At the convention, one of Clinton's pledged delegates defected to Obama, giving Obama 14 delegates to Clinton's 11.

On January 23, the Obama campaign filed an official letter of complaint with the Nevada Democratic Party charging the Clinton campaign with many violations of party rules during the caucuses, based upon 1,600 complaints they had received. The Clinton camp said the Obama operation was "grasping at straws" and that they had their own complaints about Obama campaign actions during the caucuses.

Rasmussen Reports released a poll January 7 showing that Obama led by 12 points, at 42% to Hillary Clinton's 30%. This was a substantial jump from December when the two were tied at 33%, and from November when Clinton led Obama by 10 points.

Issues of race came to the forefront as campaigning began for the South Carolina primary, the first to feature a large African American portion in the Democratic electorate. First, Bill Clinton referred to Obama's claim that he has been a staunch opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning as a "fairy tale," which some thought was a characterization of Obama's entire campaign. The former President called in to Al Sharpton's radio show to personally clarify that he respected and believed in Obama's viability.

The January 21 CNN/Congressional Black Caucus debate in Myrtle Beach was the most heated face-to-face meeting yet between the candidates, reflecting apparent personal animosity. Clinton criticized Obama for voting "present" on many occasions while in the Illinois legislature. "It's hard to have a straight up debate with you because you never take responsibility for any vote," she said. Obama explained that Illinois had a different system than Congress and that 'present' votes had a different function and use in the Illinois Senate. Obama said that he was working to help unemployed workers in Chicago while Clinton was "a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart." He also took issue with statements made on the campaign trail by Bill Clinton, saying "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes." The confrontation was the most-watched primary season debate in cable television news history.

On May 31, 2008 the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Commission met to resolve questions surrounding the contentious Florida and Michigan primaries. In the case of Florida, it was decided that the delegate distribution would be based on the primary results as they stood and the delegation would be seated in full, but with each delegate receiving half a vote. In the case of Michigan, the delegate distribution was based on an estimate that took into consideration factors such as the actual primary results, exiting polling, and surveys of voter preference among those who did not participate in the Michigan primary. The end result rewarded Senator Clinton with 69 delegates and Senator Obama 59. As with Florida, each delegate would be given a half vote.

Following his win in South Carolina, Obama received the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, as well as Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, the former President's brother. Ted Kennedy's endorsement was considered "the biggest Democratic endorsement Obama could possibly get short of Bill Clinton or Al Gore." In particular, it gave the possibility of improving Obama's support among unions, Hispanics, and traditional base Democrats, all demographics that Clinton had been stronger in to this point. Obama won 13 of 22 states on Super Tuesday (February 5, 2008): Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah. His campaign claimed to have won more delegates.

On February 9, Obama won the Louisiana primary, as well as caucuses in Nebraska and Washington State. He garnered 57% of the available delegates in Louisiana, and 68% in both Nebraska and Washington. On the same day, he won caucuses in Virgin Islands with 92% of the popular vote. The next day, Obama took the Maine caucuses amid what one senior Maine Democratic official called an "incredible" turnout.

The "Potomac primary" took place on February 12. It included the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. There were 168 delegates up for grabs in the three primaries. Obama won all three, taking 75% of the popular vote in the District of Columbia, 60% in Maryland and 64% in Virginia. "Today, the change we seek swept through Chesapeake and over the Potomac," Obama said at a rally in Madison.

Two more primaries followed on February 19: Wisconsin and Hawaii. Obama won both decisively, taking 58% of the vote in Wisconsin and 14 of the 20 available national delegates in Hawaii. On February 21, Obama was announced as the winner of the week-long Democrats Abroad contest. The Democratic presidential candidate defended himself and his wife February 24 against suggestions that they are insufficiently patriotic. Barack Obama’s campaign accused Hillary Clinton’s team February 25 of circulating a photo of the Illinois senator donning traditional attire – clothing worn by area Muslims – as a goodwill gesture during an overseas trip. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton argued with each other over negative campaigning, health care and free trade February 26. Obama and John McCain engaged in a pointed exchange over Al-Qaeda in Iraq on February 27.

In Ohio, as part of the campaign's self proclaimed goal to knock on a million doors the weekend immediately before the primary, Governor Deval Patrick (D-Massachusetts) and Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kansas) spoke to Obama volunteers at volunteer rallies across the state on March 1 and 2, 2008. Obama, who had won the eleven contests in February following Super Tuesday, claimed victory in the Vermont primary and the Texas Democratic caucuses, on March 4, 2008 but lost the primaries in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

On March 8, 2008, Barack Obama won the Wyoming caucus by nineteen points. The Clinton camp continued to suggest that Obama would make a good Vice Presidential candidate for Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton made known his support of this as a "dream ticket" which would be an "almost unstoppable force." On March 10, he flatly rejected such suggestions. Obama noted that he, not Senator Clinton, held the lead in pledged delegates and that he had won more of the popular vote than Clinton. "I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to somebody who is in first place," he said. He told supporters in Columbus, Mississippi, that Clinton's VP suggestion was an example of what he called "the old okey-doke," further stating that the Clinton camp was trying to "bamboozle" or "hoodwink" voters. Obama wondered aloud why the Clinton campaign believed him competent for the Vice Presidency, but said he was "not ready" to be President.

On March 11, 2008, Obama won the Mississippi primary. There, Obama won approximately 90% of the black vote, compared to Clinton's 70% majority of white voters. On March 11, 2008, David Axelrod demanded that Sen. Clinton sever ties with Geraldine Ferraro, a top Clinton fundraiser and 1984 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, who said publicly that Obama was a major presidential contender only because he is a black man. Sen. Barack Obama widened his lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in the overall delegate count when he was declared the winner of the March 4 Texas caucuses on March 12, 2008.Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would both statistically tie Republican John McCain in a general election matchup, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released March 18, 2008.The National Archives on March 19, 2008 released more than 11,000 pages of Sen. Hillary Clinton's schedule when she was first lady. Sen. Barack Obama's campaign had pushed for the documents' release, arguing that their review is necessary to make a full evaluation of Clinton's experience as first lady. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama released their tax returns from 2000 to 2006 on his campaign Web site March 26, 2008, and he challenged Sen. Hillary Clinton to release hers.

After Obama's win in Mississippi on March 11, 2008, the campaign turned its attention to Pennsylvania. Mid March polls by Rasmussen Reports, Franklin & Marshall College, Quinnipiac University and Public Policy Polling had Obama trailing Senator Clinton in Pennsylvania by 12 to 16 points.

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Hillary Clinton described the remarks as "elitist, out of touch and frankly patronizing." Noting he had not chosen his words well, Obama subsequently explained his remarks, "Lately there has been a little typical sort of political flare-up, because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter." Obama had addressed similar themes in a 2004 interview with Charlie Rose, and his strategists countered that Bill Clinton had made similar comments in 1991.

We need sensible gun laws. I just got back from Montana where just about everyone has guns. In that culture, fathers and sons bond over hunting. You can't take that away from rural America. But the inner city is different, and we should tighten the laws on gun purchases and close the loopholes in gun show sales to unscrupulous buyers. The gun control people and the right to bear arms people are talking past each other about disconnected topics.

That Obama's comments in San Francisco made wide media play but not the ones he spoke in Silicon Valley became a source of speculation about the media and its political coverage.

On April 18, Obama spoke in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a crowd of 35,000, at that point the largest audience yet drawn during his campaign. The next day, Obama conducted a whistle stop train tour from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.

The last big event in the final week of the campaign was the April 16 debate on ABC-TV. Many pundits gave the edge to Hillary Clinton, though many were critical of moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. A two-month-old controversy gained more exposure when Stephanopoulos questioned Obama during the debate about Obama's contacts with Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers.

Polls during the debate week showed the momentum that had cut Clinton's lead by half had stalled. Despite being outspent by three to one, Clinton would win the April 22 primary election with 54.6% of the vote, a solid nine point margin over Obama's 45.4%. Although Clinton remained behind in delegates, the press soon ran cover stories about Obama's apparent trouble connecting with less educated whites and Catholics.

After Clinton's victory in Pennsylvania, the campaigns focused on the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. 115 delegates were at stake in North Carolina, and 72 in Indiana. Polling suggested a close race in Indiana, while Obama enjoyed the advantage in North Carolina thanks in part to the state's large African-American population – a demographic from which Obama was receiving strong support throughout the primary season. Indiana's demographic makeup appeared to favor Clinton, as the state was predominantly white, rural and culturally conservative. Clinton won states like Ohio and Pennsylvania largely because of just such a voter base. However, there were positive signs for Obama as well.

Obama won in North Carolina, capturing 56% of the vote, while Hillary Clinton finished with 42%, according to CNN. The Indiana race was much closer than expected, with Clinton, winning a 51% to 49% victory. These races were seen as Clinton's last chance to make a comeback in the nomination fight. As the results came in, ABC political analyst and former top Bill Clinton aide George Stephanopolous declared the Democratic race "over," and NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert said, "We now know who the Democratic nominee will be." The day after these primaries, it appeared that superdelegates and party leaders were beginning to coalesce around Obama. He added four superdelegate endorsements to Clinton's one, and former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern switched his support from Clinton to Obama.

Obama continued to add to his superdelegate lead in the week before the May 20 Kentucky and Oregon primaries, and former Democratic candidate John Edwards endorsed him on May 14. As Obama's chance at becoming the nominee increased, he decided to focus much of his attention on general election battleground states. He planned to watch the Kentucky and Oregon results in Iowa, and scheduled an appearance in Florida for later that week.

While campaigning in Oregon, Obama drew a crowd of 75,000, his largest crowd of the campaign season.

Obama won Oregon, 59% to Clinton's 41%, but lost Kentucky by a margin of 35%. Delegates accrued in these two contests gave him an absolute majority among pledged delegates.

After a Clinton victory on June 1 in the Puerto Rico primary, only one more day of primaries remained. June 3 saw the final votes of the primary season in Montana, which Obama won by 58-40 percent, and South Dakota, which Clinton won by 55-45 percent. Throughout the course of the day, a flood of superdelegates endorsed Obama, putting him over the top in terms of delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

On June 7, Clinton formally ended her candidacy and endorsed Obama, making him the party's presumptive nominee.

On July 6, 2008, during an interview with Fox News, a microphone picked up Jesse Jackson whispering to a fellow guest: "See, Barack's been talking down to black people ... I want to cut his nuts off." Jackson was expressing his disappointment in Obama's Father's Day speech chastisement of Black fathers. Only a portion of Jackson's comments were released on video. A spokesman for Fox News stated that Jackson had "referred to blacks with the N-word" in his comments about Obama; Fox News did not release the entire video or a complete transcript of his comments. Jesse Jackson, Jr. issued a statement that said "Reverend Jackson is my dad, and I’ll always love him. . .I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric. He should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself." Jackson, Jr. took the statements very seriously because he had worked so hard as the National co-chair of the Barack Obama presidential campaign. Subsequent to his Fox News interview, Jackson, Sr. apologized and reiterated his support for Obama.

While Clinton was viewed as having an institutional advantage in amassing superdelegates by virtue of her fifteen years of national prominence in party politics, Obama had heavily outspent Clinton in previous contributions to superdelegates through their political action committees.

Speculation that Barack Obama had amassed about fifty additional superdelegates, removing Clinton's final advantage in the race, was reported on the eve of the March 4 primaries and caucuses; with the Clinton victory in most of that night's contests, the Obama camp chose not to release those names as expected the following day.

After Obama's large victory in North Carolina and close second in Indiana on May 6, he took the lead in committed superdelegates. The results in those two states made Obama the clear front-runner for the nomination, and he picked up endorsements from 26 superdelegates in the week following those primaries.

On 27 August Barack Obama was awarded the Democratic presidential nomination by acclamation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Various criticisms were made during the campaign concerning Obama's religious background and heritage, both by political opponents and by some members of the media.

In 2004, conservative columnist Andy Martin issued a press release alleging that Obama had "sought to misrepresent his heritage," indirectly triggering one of the first viral emails spreading false rumors about Obama's background.

In January 2007, two of the Obama campaign's first hires were opposition researchers, immediately assigned to debunk these e-mails.

On January 17, 2007, the day after Obama announced his candidacy, the Internet magazine Insight published an article claiming that Clinton campaign staff had told them that Obama had attended a Muslim seminary as a child in Indonesia and that they were planning to use that information against him during the upcoming primary election campaign. The Clinton and Obama campaigns quickly denounced the allegations. Investigations by CNN, ABC and others showed that Obama had not, as Insight had written, attended an Islamic seminary. Instead, for his first three years abroad Obama attended St. Francis Assisi Catholic School, and in his last year transferred to State Elementary School Menteng Besuki‎, an Indonesian public school for children of all faiths. A series of Chicago Tribune reports found that "hen Obama attended 4th grade in 1971, Muslim children spent two hours a week studying Islam, and Christian children spent those two hours learning about the Christian religion." The series also stated: "In fact, Obama's religious upbringing in Indonesia depended more on the conventions of the schools he attended than on any decision by him, his mother or his stepfather. When he was at a Catholic school for three years, he prayed as a Catholic. When he was at a public school for a year, he learned about Islam." In May 2008 Insight ceased publication.

E-mails and flyers repeating allegations about Obama and other candidates were distributed to voters in Iowa and South Carolina just before they went to vote for presidential candidates. In Iowa Obama told his supporters: “You have e-mails saying that I’m a Muslim plant that’s trying to take over America. If you get this e-mail from someone you know, set the record straight.” Sen. Clinton's campaign fired at least two campaign volunteers for forwarding related e-mails about Obama.

Obama's campaign organization responded with a letter from Christian leaders vouching for his Christian faith, as well as with appeals to supporters to help correct any misunderstanding. From November 2007 to January 2008, as part of a drive to promote awareness of his Christian faith, Obama gave interviews to Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, to Christianity Today and to the religious website Beliefnet.com. Nevertheless, the false belief that Obama is a Muslim has persisted in some key demographics, and is among the most frequently cited reasons for opposition to Obama in public polling. In polls taken in March and April 2008, between 10 and 15% of respondents believed Obama was Muslim.

Another accusation is that Obama refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance. This is based on a Time magazine picture of Obama listening to the U.S. National Anthem with his hands at his sides while the others on stage have their right hands over their hearts. He does, in fact, say the Pledge and sometimes leads the Senate in doing so.

While it campaigned in Kentucky in May 2008, the Obama campaign mailed out a flyer featuring Obama's Christianity.

Some conservative opponents of Obama featured his middle name "Hussein" and the similarity of his last name with "Osama" to suggest that he has Muslim heritage or possible associations with terrorists, or to question his loyalty to the United States (both "Barack" and "Hussein" are names of Semitic origin that mean, respectively, to bless/blessing and good/handsome). In February, 2008, the Tennessee Republican Party circulated a memo titled "Anti-Semites for Obama" that featured his middle name and showed a picture of him in African clothes while on a trip to Africa. A website, ExposeObama.com, sent out emails in early 2008 that included messages such as "President Barack Hussein Obama ... the scariest four words in the English language!" In April 2008 a church in the small town of Jonesville, South Carolina posted a message on its sign which said, "Obama, Osama — humm, are they brothers." The next day Roger Byrd, the pastor, removed the sign after receiving "so much negative comments from throughout the country." Those incidents attracted nation-wide media coverage, while not openly supported, generally condemned by the other candidates' official campaigns and by the major political parties.

In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama's 20-year relationship to his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. ABC News found and excerpted clips from racially and politically charged sermons by Rev. Wright, including his assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own terrorism and his assertion that "he government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." Some of Wright's statements were widely criticized as anti-American. Following negative media coverage and a drop in the polls, Obama responded by condemning Wright's remarks, ending his relationship with the campaign, and delivering a speech entitled "A More Perfect Union" at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the speech, Obama rejected some of Wright's comments, but refused to disown the man himself, noting his lifelong ministry to the poor and past service as a US Marine. The speech, which sought to place Wright's anger in a larger historical context, was well-received by liberal sources and some conservatives, but other conservatives and supporters of Hillary Clinton continued to question the implications of Obama's long relationship with Wright.

The story gained headlines again in late April with several public appearances by Rev. Wright. He appeared on the Bill Moyers show on PBS on April 25, spoke to the NAACP in Detroit on April 27 and addressed the media before a symposium at the National Press Club on April 28. In Detroit, Wright "also defended Obama and lashed out at the news media for running excerpts of his heated sermons, media pundits and those who have tried to connect him to Islam because of his full name — Barack Hussein Obama." At the Press Club, Wright said that Obama "had to distance himself from me, because he's a politician." He also suggested that Obama is not a regular attendee at church, and reiterated his earlier views on terrorism, the HIV virus and other issues. Obama held a press conference on April 29 in which he went further than he had in his Pennsylvania speech, appearing to disown the pastor himself rather than just his controversial remarks. Obama said he was "outraged" and "saddened" by Wright's comments, calling them "divisive and destructive." He said of Wright, "the man I saw yesterday was not the man I met 20 years ago." Obama stated, "Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this," he added.

Obama subsequently resigned his membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ following comments made during a guest sermon at the church by Catholic priest and long-term Obama friend, Michael Pfleger. During the sermon, Pfleger mocked Hillary Clinton and said that she felt "entitled" to be the Democratic nominee for President.

In February 2008, a Canadian diplomatic memo surfaced, which alleged that Barack Obama's economic advisor Austan Goolsbee had met with Canadian consular officials in Chicago and told them to disregard Obama's campaign rhetoric regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a charge the Obama campaign later denied.

The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not the Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report. Media later reported the source as Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson. There was no explanation at the time for why Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, declined to comment.

The Prime Minister's communications director, Sandra Buckler, has said that Brodie "does not recall" discussing the issue. On March 4, 2008 Harper initially denied that Brodie was a source of the leak — but he appeared to be referring to a diplomatic memo that described the key conversation between an adviser to Obama and Canada's consul-general in Chicago, Georges Rioux. Harper did not appear to be distinguishing between the two leaks later in the day. Harper asked the top civil servant, Clerk of the Privy Council Kevin Lynch, to call in an internal security team, with the help of Foreign Affairs. Members of the opposition asserted that an internal inquiry is unlikely to look seriously at Harper's own high-level political aides and appointees, such as Brodie or Wilson, Canada's ambassador to Washington.

On March 10, 2008 Canadian MP Navdeep Bains called on Canadian Ambassador to the United States Michael Wilson to step down as Canada's ambassador to Washington while the leaks that are investigated. Wilson has publicly acknowledged that he spoke to CTV reporter Tom Clark who first reported the leaks before the story aired, but refused to discuss what was said.

There have been three separate incidents involving Barack Obama's State Department passport file since 2008 began; while the instances of unauthorized access have occurred over a three-month span, Obama was notified only on March 20, as upper levels of the State Department themselves, first became aware of the breaches.On March 21, 2008, the United States Department of State revealed that Obama's passport file was improperly accessed three times in 2008. Three contract employees are accused in the wrongdoing. One, who works for The Analysis Corporation (TAC), accessed Obama and McCain's records, and was disciplined. The two other workers, who worked for Stanley Inc., each accessed Obama's file on separate occasions and were fired. An unauthorized access of Hillary Clinton's file was also made in mid-2007, but was considered a training error and unrelated to the other instances. John O. Brennan, president and CEO of Analysis, is a consultant to the Barack Obama campaign and contributed $2,300 to the Obama campaign in January 2008. Brennan is a former senior CIA official and former interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center. The chairman of Stanley Inc., Philip Nolan, is a Clinton supporter and contributor; his company has had contracts with the United States Department of State since 1992 and was recently awarded a $570 million contract to continue providing support for passport processing. The State Department is focusing an internal inquiry on the TAC employee, but plans to question all three of the contractors who accessed the candidates' files.

Many commentators have noted Obama's strong support amongst social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.com. An Internet consulting site, tracking each candidate's online performance, measured Sen. Obama as the candidate that connects the most with potential voters via the Internet.

Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder and coordinator of online organizing within the Barack Obama presidential campaign, called the on-line surge backing Obama "unprecedented." As of late May, the "American Politics" application on Facebook listed Obama as the 6-1 favorite over Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the Obama campaign was a launch partner for Facebook's new F8 platform.

One group on Facebook, "Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)," has 894,913 members as of November 5, 2008. Obama's politician page has reached more than one million supporters as of June 17, 2008. On February 2, 2007, Obama attended a rally at George Mason University organized by "Students for Barack Obama," a group that began on Facebook, with several thousand in attendance. Other countries have also registered Facebook groups in support of Senator Obama including Canada and several European countries.

Obama's official website itself incorporates networking elements which allows supporters to create their own profiles and blogs, as well as to chat and plan grassroots events. My.BarackObama.com is a social networking website created by the campaign. It was first launched on February 11, 2007, and was billed as "a MySpace for his supporters." It was built and designed by internet technology and political strategist firm Blue State Digital and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

The bulk of My.BarackObama.com's activity takes place in group and event organization, where members first create or join on-line "groups" which share common email listservs and blogs. These groups are then used to plan offline events, ranging from casual "meet ups" to large fundraising events, with those who RSVP for fundraising events via My.BarackObama.com having the option of fulfilling their fundraising promise in advance through online payment. Of the $25 million the Obama campaign raised in the first quarter of 2007, over $6 million was raised through on-line channels.

The Obama primary campaign has received publicity from the introduction of several high-profile music videos concerning the senator. The first was an off-topic parody song portraying a fictional love between Senator Obama and a provocatively-dressed young woman nicknamed "Obama Girl," entitled I Got a Crush... on Obama, first appearing on June 13, 2007. The second video was Yes We Can, after the ubiquitous Obama campaign slogan, itself originally a long-standing union chant in the US. It was released on February 2, 2008, and was a straightforward, star-studded endorsement by a range of actors, musicians and other celebrities, led by Grammy-winner Will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas, singing the actual words of an Obama speech following the New Hampshire primary. The video was generating over a million views on YouTube a day following its release. By March 27, 2008, the song had been viewed over 17 million times on YouTube and other sites.

The video of Obama's speech A More Perfect Union also "went viral," reaching over 1.3 million views on YouTube within a day of the speech's delivery. Links to the speech were among the most widely shared on Facebook, and by March 27, the speech had been viewed nearly 3.4 million times.

During a time when Obama was receiving negative attention from the Wright controversy and other issues, "The Empire Strikes Barack" was released, a video that featured Barack Obama as Luke Skywalker, rallying from attacks by Hillary Clinton, portrayed as Darth Vader.

Presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama has taken positions on many national, political, economic and social issues, either through public comments or his senatorial voting record.

One such position is Obama's stance on health care. Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to see that every American has the option of having affordable health care as good as every U. S. Senator has. He has proposed a major overhaul of the nation’s health care system, aimed at covering the nearly 45 million uninsured Americans, reducing premium costs for everyone else, and breaking what he asserted was “the stranglehold” that the biggest drug and insurance companies have on the health care market.

Following Obama's interview on Meet the Press, opinion polling organizations added his name to surveyed lists of Democratic candidates. The first such poll (November 2006) ranked Obama in second place with 17% support among Democrats after Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) who placed first with 28% of the responses. A Zogby Poll released on January 18, 2007, showed Obama leading the Democratic contenders in the first primary state of New Hampshire with 23% of New Hampshire Democrats supporting Obama. Senator Clinton and former Senator John Edwards were tied for second place with 19% each. A Washington Post/ABC News poll on February 26-27, 2007 placed Obama in second place with 24% among likely Democratic primary voters, with Hillary Clinton garnering 36% as the leader.

Opinion polls taken in April 2007 differ widely from each other: Obama was listed in third place nationwide, 24% behind Hillary Clinton and 2% behind John Edwards. In an April 30, 2007 Rasmussen Reports Poll, Barack Obama led the poll for the Democratic nomination for first time with 32% support. By June however, Clinton was winning all the major national polls by double digits except one that showed Obama with a one point lead, and by July, all major national polls showed Obama trailing Clinton by double digits.

Polling analysts are expected to take note of whether opinion polling statistics regarding Obama prove to be accurate, or are ultimately subject to the so-called "Bradley effect" observed in some previous American elections. This continued to be a concern in some earlier primary states, but as the season progressed Obama showed electoral success with white voters in states like Virginia and Wisconsin.

In a poll by the University of Iowa in July and August 2007 of Iowa Republicans, Obama received the third-highest percentage, with 7% of the vote - more than Republican candidates Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and to-be nominee John McCain combined. Polls by the Washington Post and ABC News indicated that Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to answer that Obama would be the Democrats' best chance to win the election.

At the end of March 2008 Obama became the first candidate to open a double-digit lead in his national Gallup daily tracking poll results since Super Tuesday, when his competitor Hillary Clinton had a similar margin. On March 30 the poll showed Obama at 52% and Clinton at 42%. The Rassmussen Reports poll, taken during the same time frame, also showed an Obama advantage of five points. Another late-March poll found Obama maintaining his positive rating and limiting his negative rating better than his chief rival, Clinton. The NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll showed Obama losing two points of positive rating and gaining four points of negative rating, while Clinton lost eight points of positive rating and gained five points of negative rating. A Newsweek poll taken on April 16-17 showed Obama leading Clinton 54 to 35% among Democrats and Democrat-leaning registered voters. The Gallup daily tracking poll showed Obama's lead over Clinton in the same group peaking at 51 to 40% on April 14 (results based on interviews April 11–13), then closing, and on April 19 (results based on interviews April 16-18) Clinton gained a lead of 46 to 45%, the first time Obama had not led since March 18–20. The next day Obama showed a lead of 47 to 45% over Clinton. The following day the Obama lead over Clinton increased to 49% over 42%.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley endorsed Obama hours after his announcement, abandoning his tradition of staying neutral in Democratic primaries. A day later, Obama traveled to Ames, Iowa where he was endorsed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald. Just days before the crucial New York Democratic Primary, Obama won the endorsement of the Young Democrats Club of Pelham, a key endorsement considering 16% of the club supported Hillary Clinton. Perhaps Obama's biggest celebrity endorsement is talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who has occasionally joined Obama on the campaign trail and hosted a fundraiser at her Santa Barbara, CA estate. Following his win in South Carolina Obama received the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, and Senator Ted Kennedy, his brother. For the first time in its ten year history, MoveOn.org endorsed a Presidential candidate when Obama received 70% of an online ballot the organization held of its members. On February 3, 2008, another member from the Kennedy family, First Lady of California Maria Shriver, announced her endorsement for Obama. On February 26, former Democratic candidate Chris Dodd endorsed Obama, followed on March 21 by another former Democratic candidate, current New Mexico governor and retired United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson. Richardson served under President Bill Clinton as Secretary of Energy and as a United Nations ambassador. Former President Jimmy Carter stated that he supports Obama for President. On May 14, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards endorsed Obama, hinting that he believed the race was over and that it was time to unite behind one candidate. On May 19, President pro tempore of the United States Senate Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) endorsed Obama. The 90-year old-Senate legend lauded Obama as a “shining young statesman” a “noble-hearted patriot” and a “humble Christian.” In particular, Byrd said that his shared opposition to the Iraq war with Obama was a key factor in his decision. On June 7, 2008, Sen. Hillary Clinton endorsed Sen. Obama after conceding her bid for the presidency, and even adopted his slogan "Yes We Can" into her concession speech.On 16 June 2008, Al Gore endorsed Obama in a speech given in Michigan, stating "take it from me, elections matter." Gore also endorsed Obama on his website, algore.com, and appears on Obama's website, offering an official endorsement. On October 19, 2008 during a Meet The Press interview, former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Obama.

Hyatt board member Penny Pritzker served as the national finance chair of the campaign; Pritzker served on the finance committee for Obama's 2004 Senate run. Obama has said he will not accept donations from federal lobbyists or political action committees during the campaign. While he started to collect private donations for a general election account, Obama asked the Federal Election Commission if he could later return the money if he decided to take public funds. In response, the FEC allowed presidential candidates to take contributions for a general election campaign even if they later decided to accept public money.

Alan D. Solomont, who led a group that raised $35 million for John Kerry in 2004, has signed on with the campaign, saying Obama "is the sort of person America wants in the White House right now." Other fundraisers that have joined the campaign include David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Mark Gorenberg.

Obama's fundraising prowess early on matched that of Hillary Clinton's and, financially speaking, stayed competitive with her. On April 4, 2007, Obama's campaign announced that they had raised $25 million in the first quarter of 2007, coming close to Hillary Clinton's $26 million in first quarter contributions. Over 100,000 people donated to the campaign and $6.9 million was raised through the Internet. $23.5 million of Obama's first quarter funds can be used in the primary, the highest of any candidate.

Obama's fundraising skills were affirmed again in the second quarter of 2007, when his campaign received $32.5 million in donations: $5.5 million more than his nearest rival, Hillary Clinton, whose campaign raised around $27 million. Obama's 258,000 individual donors revealed his wide grassroots appeal and success raising funds via the Internet. Altogether Obama's campaign raised US$58 million during the first half of 2007, topping all other candidates and exceeding previous records for the first six months of any year before an election year.

For the third quarter of 2007, which typically sees lower numbers than the rest of the year, Obama raised $20 million, still a large amount but bested by Clinton, who led all candidates with $27 million raised. Obama's campaign reported adding 108,000 new donors through in the quarter, for a total of 365,000 individual contributors in the first nine months.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Obama raised $23.5 million, while Clinton raised $27.3 million. By January 2008, Obama had received over 800,000 donations from over 600,000 individual donors.

The Obama campaign raised $32 million in the month of January 2008 alone, from over 250,000 separate supporters. When it was disclosed that Hillary Clinton loaned $5 million of her own money to her campaign, Obama's supporters donated over $6.5 million in less than 24 hours. When the Clinton campaign reported that it had raised over $10 million in the five days after Super Tuesday, the Obama campaign reported raising "well more" than that.

Candidate financial disclosures released following the Wisconsin and Hawaii primaries raised Barack Obama's estimated January take to $37 million, about $17 million more than the second-placed candidate Hillary Clinton. Much of her fundraising was furthermore ineligible for primary-contest spending, and her campaign is projected to have ended the month in debt by over eight million dollars, one-quarter of that being unpaid fees to consultant Mark Penn. In February, the Obama campaign surpassed the one million donor mark, a first for a competitive primary campaign in the United States and raised $55 million, setting a record for political fundraising in one month. Of the $55 million raised in February $45 million of it was contributed over the Internet—without Obama hosting a single fund-raiser.

According to reports filed with the FEC and news from the Boston Herald, by the end of the first quarter of 2008, the campaign had raised more money ($133,549,000) than it had raised in all of 2007 (103,802,537). By the end of March, Obama had raised a total of over $235 million during the course of his campaign.

On June 3, 2008, after the Montana and South Dakota primaries, Barack Obama secured enough delegates to clinch the nomination of the Democratic party for president of the United States. His opponent, Republican party nominee John McCain, passed the delegate threshold to become the presumptive nominee much earlier, on March 4. On June 7, Obama's remaining opponent in the quest for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, conceded defeat at a rally in Washington and urged supporters to back Obama.

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Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008

Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008

The 2008 Democratic primaries were the selection process by which members of the United States Democratic Party chose their candidate for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. The Democratic candidate for President was selected through a series of primaries and caucuses culminating in the 2008 Democratic National Convention held from Monday, August 25, through Thursday, August 28, 2008, in Denver, Colorado. In order to secure the nomination at the convention, a candidate needed to receive at least 2,117 votes from delegates (a simple majority of the 4,233 delegate votes, bearing in mind half-votes from Democrats Abroad, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Senator Barack Obama surpassed that total on June 3, 2008, becoming the apparent Democratic nominee. His last remaining opponent, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, conceded the nomination four days later. Obama was officially recognized as the Democratic Party nominee at the August convention. It was considered to be one of the most competitive and most exciting primary races in United States history.

Delegates are the people who will decide the nomination at the Democratic National Convention. Delegates from forty-eight US states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have a single vote each, while delegates from American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam and Democrats Abroad, as well as the states of Florida and Michigan which contravened the schedule, have half a vote each. Thus, the total number of delegates is slightly higher than the total number of available delegate votes (4,049).

Democratic candidates campaign for the nomination in a series of primary elections and caucus events. The results from these primaries and caucuses determine the number of pledged delegates committed to vote for each candidate at the Democratic National Convention. Pledged delegates are allocated to each of the fifty US states following two main criteria: (1) the proportion of votes each state gave to the Democratic candidate in the last three presidential elections, and (2) the percentage of votes each state has in the United States Electoral College. In addition, fixed numbers of delegates are allocated to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Democrats Abroad under the party's Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Pledged delegates reflect the preferences of voters but are not actually legally bound to vote for the candidate they represent. However, since candidates may remove delegates who they feel may be disloyal, the delegates generally vote as pledged. In 2008, a total of 3,253 pledged delegate votes will be awarded through the primaries and caucuses.

There are currently a total of 824.5 unpledged delegates (known as superdelegates) who are free to vote for any candidate at the convention. Superdelegate votes are given equal weight to the votes of pledged delegates. Superdelegates are members of the United States House of Representatives and Senate, state and territorial governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, distinguished party leaders, and add-on delegates selected by the state parties. They represent almost 20 percent of the total 4,233 delegates.

The number and composition of superdelegates can change right up to the start of the Democratic National Convention. The total number of superdelegate votes at the start of the primary season in October 2007 stood at 850. Various events such as deaths, elections, and disqualifications have brought the total to its current state. Further change is possible, given that in Maryland's 4th congressional district special election, 2008, on June 17, the Democrat is heavily favored to win a currently open seat.

While officially uncommitted until the convention, the superdelegates may publicly endorse or commit to a candidate at any time. The presidential candidates compete heavily for these commitments. News organizations survey the superdelegates periodically throughout the election season and try to calculate how many have committed to each of the candidates. The media often include these superdelegate estimates in their reporting on the race, leading to differing delegate counts from various news sources.

Under the Democratic Party's Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, delegates are awarded by proportional representation, with a minimum 15 percent threshold required in order to receive delegates. Each state party is required to publish its own state level delegate selection plan, indicating how the state will select delegates at the congressional and statewide level, how the delegation will implement the party's affirmative action policy, and how the delegation will ensure an equal balance between women and men. Those plans were adopted at state conventions and forwarded to the national party in mid-2007.

In most state caucuses, the viability threshold must be met at each level in the process, from the precinct level upwards. This puts enormous pressure on the remaining candidates to gain the support of voters whose chosen candidates fall below the 15 percent mark. The focus on viability is designed to weed out small, divisive factions from gaining delegates to disrupt the national convention. However, this can result in candidates gaining viability in some precincts but not in others, and a complicated "caucus math" is required to allocate delegates to the county and state conventions for each precinct. In the primaries, the viability threshold is set based on statewide and congressional district votes. At-large and PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates are allocated based on statewide votes, while district-level delegates are allocated by district votes.

There is no easy answer to the question, What's the current count? Each of the major news organizations keeps a count of delegate votes, while the campaigns keep their own numbers. Rarely do these totals coincide. Some online sources use an aggregate of sources, leading to even more confusion in delegate vote totals. The actual result may not be known until the votes are cast at the Democratic National Convention.

There are several reasons for this discrepancy. First, some news sources include only pledged delegates in their total count, while others include superdelegates. Second, estimates of superdelegate votes are unreliable and are subject to change. Third, pledged delegates in many states are selected at county or state conventions late in the process; thus, the initial primary and caucus results provide only a projection of pledged delegates, highlighted by the discrepancies with the Iowa county convention results. Fourth, in the days after an election, results in individual precincts may be delayed, and news organizations may project the winners of those precincts based on statistical analysis or may wait for confirmed results. The Democratic nominating process is a complex system that has evolved over time, and in close races, it can be difficult under the current system to know who is leading in the delegate count.

This article uses pledged delegate estimates from the respective Wikipedia articles of each state primary or caucus. Reliable sources appropriate to each state's individual process are found in those articles. The Not Yet Assigned columns in the tables below reflect pledged delegates that these sources have not yet allocated to any candidates. For superdelegate vote estimates, this article uses the Democratic Convention Watch blog. A periodically updated article on the blog also provides a comparison of the delegate totals from several different sources (CBS, CNN, NBC, Associated Press, and The Green Papers).

The race for the 2008 presidential nomination began in earnest after the 2006 midterm elections. Between November 2006 and February 2007, eight major candidates opened their campaigns-Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Tom Vilsack-joining Mike Gravel, who had announced his candidacy in April 2006. Potential candidates John Kerry, Al Gore, Russ Feingold, Evan Bayh, Tom Daschle, Wesley Clark, Mark Warner, and Al Sharpton reportedly considered running but ultimately declined to seek the nomination. Vilsack dropped out in February 2007.

In the first three months of 2007, Clinton and Obama raised more than $20 million each and Edwards raised more than $12 million. The three candidates quickly became the frontrunners for the nomination, a status they held all the way through the end of 2007.

On November 21, Obama announced that Oprah Winfrey would be campaigning for him in the early primary states, setting off speculation that, although celebrity endorsements typically have little effect on voter opinions, Winfrey's participation would supply Obama with a large, receptive audience. As word spread that Oprah's first appearance would be in Iowa, polls released in early December revealed Obama taking the lead in that decisive state.Then, on December 8, Oprah kicked-off a three-state tour supporting Obama's campaign, where she drew record-setting crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and was described as "more cogent, more effective, more convincing" than anyone on the campaign trail.. The Oprah-Obama tour dominated political news headlines and cast doubts over Clinton's ability to recover her recently-lost lead in Iowa caucus polls. A poll released less than two weeks after Winfrey campaigned found Obama achieving more popularity in Iowa than ever before recorded. Two economists would later estimate that Winfrey's endorsement added more than one million votes to Obama's total in the Democratic primaries, and that without it, Clinton would have received more votes.

At the end of the year, December 31, Clinton held a substantial lead in superdelegates, and she was leading in the national polls with 42% of likely voters, over Obama, 23%, and Edwards, 16%. However, Edwards and Obama remained close in state polls for the early contests, including the Iowa caucuses, where the final polling average had Obama leading narrowly, 31%, over Clinton, 30%, Edwards, 26%, Biden, 5%, and Richardson, 5%.

Following tradition, the 2008 primary calendar began with the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. The Nevada caucus and the South Carolina primary were the third and fourth contests sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. Under the national committee's rules, no state was allowed to hold primaries or caucuses before February 5 with the exceptions of these four states. Michigan and Florida also held early primaries, but as the contests were unsanctioned, the results were not recognized by the national committee until a political compromise was reached four months later.

The following table shows the pledged delegate votes awarded in the first four contests recognized by the DNC.

Obama won the Iowa caucuses with 38% of the vote, over Edwards, 30%, and Clinton, 29%. His victory brought him to national prominence as many voters tuned in to the race for the first time. In a speech that evening, he defined change as the primary theme of his campaign and said, "On this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do." The delegate count was virtually tied, but Clinton's surprising third-place finish in the popular vote damaged her image as the "inevitable" nominee. However, she remained upbeat, saying "This race begins tonight and ends when Democrats throughout America have their say. Our campaign was built for a marathon." The following day, reports described "panic" among some Clinton donors, and rumors of a staff shake-up began to circulate. Biden and Dodd withdrew from the race.

After Obama's upset win in Iowa, it appeared to many political observers that he would ride a wave of momentum through the New Hampshire primaries and then onward to win the Democratic nomination. Eulogies were published on the Clinton campaign, as Obama surged to a roughly 10-point lead in the New Hampshire polls. However, the race turned quickly in the days before the primary, and the polls were slow to register a reversal toward Clinton. On January 5, Edwards sided with Obama against Clinton in a televised debate. In one noted exchange, Edwards said that Clinton could not bring about change, while he and Obama could: "Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces for status quo attack." Clinton passionately retorted, "Making change is not about what you believe; it's not about a speech you make. It's about working hard. I'm not just running on a promise for change. I'm running on 35 years of change. What we need is somebody who can deliver change. We don't need to be raising false hopes." It came to be seen as the defining statement for her candidacy. The morning before the primary, Clinton became "visibly emotional" in response to a friendly question from a voter. Video of the moment was replayed on cable news television throughout the day, accompanied by pundit commentary that ranged from sympathetic to callous in tone. Voters rallied to Clinton's defense, and she won a surprising three-percent victory over Obama in the popular vote. They tied in the delegate count. Richardson withdrew from the race on January 10.

Momentum shifted in Clinton's favor, and she won the popular vote in the Nevada caucuses eleven days later, despite Obama's endorsement from the influential Culinary Workers Union. However, Obama ran strongly in rural areas throughout the state and beat Clinton in the delegate count. Edwards's support collapsed in Nevada, as voters coalesced around the two apparent frontrunners. Dennis Kucinich withdrew from the race. In the following week, issues of race came to the fore as campaigning began for the South Carolina primary, the first to feature a large proportion of African Americans in the Democratic electorate. Behind in the state polls, Hillary Clinton left to campaign in some Super Tuesday states, while her husband, former president Bill Clinton, stayed in South Carolina and engaged in a series of exchanges with Obama. CBS News reported, "By injecting himself into the Democratic primary campaign with a series of inflammatory and negative statements, Bill Clinton may have helped his wife's presidential hopes in the long term but at the cost of his reputation with a group of voters African Americans that have long been one of his strongest bases of political support." Obama won by a more than two-to-one margin over Clinton, gaining 55% of the vote to her 27% and Edwards's 18%. The day of the primary, Bill Clinton compared Obama's expected win to Jesse Jackson's victory in the 1988 South Carolina primary. His comments were widely criticized as an apparent attempt to dismiss the primary results and marginalize Obama by implying that he was "the black candidate." The momentum generated by Obama's larger-than-expected win in South Carolina wasn't deflated somewhat by the win Clinton claimed in the nullified Florida primary the following week. John Edwards suspended his candidacy on January 30. He did not immediately endorse either Clinton or Obama, but said they both had pledged to carry forward his central campaign theme of ending poverty in America. Neither Clinton nor Obama had a clear advantage heading into the Super Tuesday primaries, with 23 states and territories and 1,681 delegates at stake and more media attention than any primary election day in American history.

In August 2006, the Democratic National Committee adopted a proposal by its Rules and Bylaws Committee stating that only the four states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina would be permitted to hold primaries or caucuses before February 5, 2008. In May 2007, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that moved the date of the state's primary to January 29, 2008, setting up a confrontation with the DNC. In response, the DNC ruled that Florida's 185 pledged delegates and 26 superdelegates would not be seated at the Democratic National Convention, or, if seated, would not be able to vote. In October 2007, Democrats from Florida's congressional delegation filed a federal lawsuit against the DNC to force a recognition of its delegates, but the suit was unsuccessful. The presidential candidates promised not to campaign in Florida.

Meanwhile, Michigan moved its primary to January 15, 2008, also in violation of party rules. In October 2007, Obama, Richardson, Biden, and Edwards withdrew their names from the Michigan primary ballot, under pressure from the DNC and voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. Kucinich unsuccessfully sought to remove his name from the ballot, whereas Clinton and Dodd opted to remain on the ballot. In December 2007, the DNC ruled that Michigan's 128 pledged delegates and 29 superdelegates would not count in the nominating contest unless it were held on a later date. The Michigan Democratic party responded with a press release noting that the primary would proceed with Clinton, Dodd, Gravel, and Kucinich on the ballot. Supporters of Biden, Edwards, Richardson, and Obama were urged to vote "uncommitted" instead of writing in their candidates' names because write-in votes for those candidates would not be counted.

As the primaries continued, various groups tried to negotiate a resolution to the standoff between the DNC and the state parties. The Clinton campaign advocated first for the results to stand and then for a new round of voting to take place in Michigan and Florida, while the Obama campaign deferred the matter to the DNC, while expressing a wish that the delegations be seated in some form. On all sides, Democrats worried that a failure to resolve the problem could lead to a rules or credential fight at the convention and low Democratic turnout in the general election in November.

On May 31, 2008, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee voted unanimously (27-0) to restore half-votes to all the Florida Delegates, including superdelegates. The Michigan delegates were also given half-votes, with 69 delegates pledged to Hillary Clinton and 59 to Barack Obama; this proposed change passing by 19-8.

Traditionally, the Tuesday on which the greatest number of states hold primary elections is known as Super Tuesday. In 2007, many states moved their primaries or caucuses early in the calendar to have greater influence over the race. As February 5 was the earliest date allowed by the Democratic National Committee, 23 states and territories moved their elections to that date. This year's Super Tuesday became the date of the nation's first quasi-national primary. It was dubbed "Super Duper Tuesday" or "Tsunami Tuesday," among other names.

After Obama's win in South Carolina on January 26, he received high-profile endorsements from Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, as well as Senator Ted Kennedy, the former President's brother. Ted Kennedy's endorsement was considered "the biggest Democratic endorsement Obama could possibly get short of Bill Clinton or Al Gore." On January 31, Obama and Clinton met for the first time in a one-on-one debate, and they struck a friendly tone, seeking to put the racially charged comments of the previous week behind them. Obama surged nationally in the polls and held campaign rallies that drew audiences of more than 15,000 people in several states.

A total of 1,681 pledged delegate votes were at stake in the states that voted on February 5. The following table shows the pledged delegate votes awarded in the Super Tuesday states.

On election night, both Obama and Clinton claimed victories. In the popular vote, Obama won 13 states and territories to Clinton's 10, including states like Idaho and Georgia where he won by very wide margins. His wins in Connecticut and Missouri were considered upsets. However, Clinton won the large electoral prizes of California and Massachusetts, where some analysts had expected the Kennedy endorsements might carry Obama to victory. Although Obama gained significant ground from where he was polling in mid-January, it was not enough to close the gap in those states. In exit polls, Obama gained the overwhelming support of African American voters, and he strengthened his base among college-educated voters and voters younger than 45. Clinton found significant support among white women, Latinos, and voters over the age of 65. Obama ran strongest in caucus states, Rocky Mountain states, the South and the Midwest. Clinton ran strongest in the Northeast, the Southwest, and the states adjacent to Arkansas, where she served as first lady. When the delegate counting was finished, Obama won an estimated 847 pledged delegates to Clinton's 834. Early in the primary season, many observers had predicted that the nomination would be over after Super Tuesday, but the general verdict on election night was that the candidates had drawn to a virtual tie and that the race for the Democratic presidential nomination would not likely be settled for a month, at least.

In the following week, it became clear that a "tie" on Super Tuesday left Obama better positioned for the upcoming contests in February, where the demographics of several large states seemed to favor him. The day after Super Tuesday, February 6, Clinton announced that she had personally loaned her campaign $5 million in January. The news came as a surprise and set off another round of news stories about Clinton donors and supporters concerned about the campaign's strategy. It was particularly striking in contrast to Obama's announcement that he had raised a record-high $32 million in January, tapping 170,000 new contributors. It became clear that Obama's financial advantage had allowed him to organize and compete in a broader set of states on Super Tuesday, an advantage which was likely to continue in the coming weeks and months. Clinton's supporters responded by raising $6 million online in 36 hours, but Obama's campaign upped the ante, announcing their own total of $7.5 million in 36 hours and starting a new goal of reaching 500,000 new contributors in 2008 by the end of February.

As expected, Obama swept the three nominating events on February 9, which were thought to favor him based on the results in similar states that had voted previously. He then scored a convincing win in Maine, where Clinton had hoped to hold her ground. The same day, Clinton's campaign announced the resignation of campaign advisor Patti Solis Doyle. Obama's momentum carried through the following week, as he scored large delegate gains in the Potomac Primaries, taking the lead in the nationwide popular vote, even under the projection most favorable to Clinton, with Florida and Michigan included. NBC News declared him "Mr. Frontrunner" on February 13. Clinton attempted a comeback win in the demographically more favorable state of Wisconsin, but Obama won again by a larger margin than expected. In a span of 11 days, he swept 11 contests and extended his pledged delegate lead by 120. At the end of the month, Obama had 1,192 pledged delegates to Clinton's 1,035. He also began to close the gap in superdelegates, although Clinton still led among superdelegates, 240 to 191. Clinton's campaign tried to downplay the results of the February contests, and the candidate refused to acknowledge the losses in her speeches on election nights. Her advisers acknowledged that she would need big wins in the upcoming states to turn the race around.

With four states and 370 delegates at stake, March 4 was dubbed "Mini-Super Tuesday" or "Super Tuesday 2.0." Just as Obama had been favored in the mid-February states, Clinton was favored in Ohio, with its high proportion of working-class white voters and older voters, and Texas, with its high proportion of Latino voters. Exit polls in previous states showed that all three groups were a part of Clinton's base. In mid-February, Clinton held a 10-point lead in Texas and a 20-point lead in Ohio in RealClearPolitics polling averages. The Clinton campaign set its sights on the Ohio-Texas "firewall," counting on a clear March 4 win to change the narrative and turn around her campaign for the nomination. Meanwhile, Obama hoped to score a win in one or both states that might be enough to knock Clinton out of the race. By February 25, they were in a statistical dead heat in Texas, according to a CNN poll.

In the last week of February, Clinton's campaign seemed to be back on its feet. A Saturday Night Live sketch mocked the media for its supposedly biased coverage in favor of Obama, and Clinton used the sketch to argue that Obama had not received proper scrutiny. The media responded by taking a more critical look at Obama's campaign. Meanwhile, Obama supporter and former fundraiser Tony Rezko went on trial in a political corruption case in Chicago. While Obama was not implicated, questions remained about how forthcoming he had been about his relationship with Rezko. Controversy also erupted when it was reported in the Canadian press that Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee had privately offered assurances that Obama's anti-North American Free Trade Agreement rhetoric on the campaign trail was exaggerated. Obama's campaign denied the substance of the report, but their response was muddled by a series of missteps and may have hurt the candidate's standing with Ohio voters. Clinton launched a five-point attack on Obama's qualifications, "unleashing what one Clinton aide called a 'kitchen sink' fusillade," according to The New York Times. Perhaps the most damaging component was a campaign ad that aired in Texas, using the imagery of the White House "red phone" to suggest that Obama would not be prepared to handle a crisis as commander-in-chief when a phone call comes in to the White House at 3 a.m. The ad drew significant media attention in the four days before the election.

Obama focused on the "delegate math." He won the total delegate count in Texas, and he stayed close to Clinton on the delegate count in Ohio. "No matter what happens tonight," he said, "we have nearly the same delegate lead that we did this morning, and we are on our way to winning this nomination." In fact, March 4 was the first election day in which Clinton won more delegates than Obama (though the Florida and Michigan primaries would later be honored by seating half of the states' delegations). After winning contests in Wyoming and Mississippi the following week, Obama erased Clinton's March 4 gains. On March 15, he increased his lead by 10 delegates at the Iowa county conventions, when former supporters of withdrawn candidates switched their support to him.

On March 14, clips of controversial sermons from Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, resurfaced on YouTube and received heavy airtime on cable news television. Among other things, Wright said, "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme." Four days later, Obama responded to the controversy in a 37-minute speech, speaking openly about race and religion in the United States. He denounced Wright's remarks while refusing to condemn the pastor himself, and he attempted to pivot from the immediate circumstances to address the larger theme of "A More Perfect Union." The speech was regarded as "breathtakingly unconventional" in its political strategy and tone, and it received generally positive reviews in the press. The New York Times weighed in with an editorial: "Senator Barack Obama, who has not faced such tests of character this year, faced one on Tuesday. It is hard to imagine how he could have handled it better." Ten days later, the speech had been watched at least 3.4 million times on YouTube.

On March 21, former primary candidate Bill Richardson, who has previously held important posts in the Clinton Administration, endorsed Barack Obama, a move that drew intense criticism from Clinton allies, including James Carville's Eastertime comparison of Richardson with Judas Iscariot. On March 25, Mike Gravel announced that he would leave the Democrats and join the Libertarian Party, entering the race for the 2008 Libertarian presidential nomination the following day.

As the race continued to Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina, many observers concluded that Clinton had little chance to overcome Obama's lead in pledged delegates. Even if she were to succeed changing the dynamics of the race, there would not be enough pledged delegates remaining for her to catch up under most realistic scenarios. Some analysts believed Clinton could still win the nomination by raising doubts about Obama's electability, fighting for Michigan and Florida delegates to be seated at the convention, and convincing superdelegates to support her despite her expected loss in the pledged delegate vote. However, the window of opportunity for re-votes in Michigan and Florida appeared to close in late March, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, chair of the Democratic National Convention, said that it would be harmful to the party if superdelegates were to overturn the result of the pledged delegate vote.

Complicating the equation for Democrats, presidential candidate John McCain clinched the Republican nomination on March 4. With Obama and Clinton engaged in the Democratic primary, McCain was free to define his candidacy for the general election largely unchallenged. Some Democrats expressed concern that Clinton stayed in the campaign through March and April, when they felt she had little chance to win the nomination, but a much greater chance to damage Obama's candidacy in the general election. However, others defended Clinton's right to continue on, arguing that a sustained campaign was good for the Democratic Party and that Clinton still had a realistic shot at the nomination.

On April 22, Clinton scored a convincing win in Pennsylvania. However, on May 6, Obama surprised many observers by winning North Carolina by almost 15 percentage points, effectively erasing Clinton's gains in Pennsylvania. Clinton won by only 1 point in Indiana. With Obama now leading by 164 pledged delegates and with only 217 pledged delegates left to be decided in the remaining contests, many pundits declared that the primary was effectively over. Obama gave an election night speech that looked forward to the general election campaign against McCain. The pace of superdelegate endorsements increased. On May 10, Obama's superdelegate total surpassed Clinton's for the first time in the race, making the math increasingly difficult for a Clinton win.

Clinton vowed to continue campaigning, and won convincingly in primaries in West Virginia on May 13th, and Kentucky on May 20th where Appalachian voters strongly preferred her over Sen. Obama. However Senator Obama was able to clear a victory in Oregon on May 20, which allowed him to clinched the majority of pledged delegates. Obama gave his victory speech in Des Moines, Iowa, the state which propelled his candidacy which he stated "The road here has been long, there have been bumps along the way. I have made some mistakes, but also it's partly because we've traveled this road with one of the most formidable candidates to ever run for this office. Now, some may see the millions upon millions of votes cast for each of us as evidence that our party is divided, but I see it as proof that we have never been more energized and united in our desire to take this country in a new direction." Clinton advisers said they would appeal to the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee to have the Michigan and Florida delegations seated. However, even under the most favorable seating arrangement, she would not have been able to take a lead in pledged delegates and would have had to rely on superdelegates to win the nomination. On May 31, the rules committee accepted the Michigan state party's 69-59 distribution of pledged delegates and restored half votes to Florida's and Michigan's delegations. This resulted in a net gain for Clinton of 24 pledged delegates. Obama remained significantly ahead, with a lead of 137 pledged delegates before the Puerto Rico primary on June 1.

Voter turnout was at historically high levels in the 2008 primaries and caucuses, with many contests setting all-time records for turnout. Voter turnout on Super Tuesday was at 27% of eligible citizens, breaking the previous record of 25.9% set in 1972. Turnout was higher among Democrats than Republicans, with Democratic turnout surpassing Republican turnout even in traditionally red states where the number of registered Democrats is proportionally low. Many states reported high levels of Democratic voter registration in the weeks before primaries. From January 3 through February 5, Democratic turnout exceeded Republican turnout, 19.1 million to 13.1 million.

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David Plouffe

David Plouffe (pronounced /plʌf/, born 1967 ) is an American political strategist best known as the chief campaign manager for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign in the United States. A long-time Democratic Party campaign consultant, he is a partner at the party-aligned campaign consulting firm AKP&D Message and Media, which he joined in 2000.

Plouffe was raised in Wilmington, Delaware and attended St. Mark's High School. He was a political science major at the University of Delaware, attending from fall 1985 through fall 1988. He never completed his education before he set out on a career in politics.

Plouffe began his political career when he went to work for Senator Tom Harkin's 1990 re-election campaign. He later worked as a state field director for Harkin's unsuccessful 1992 Presidential campaign for which he was paid $30,000 per month. In the same year he successfully managed Congressman John Olver's first re-election bid in Western Massachusetts. In 1994 Plouffe managed Delaware Attorney General Charles M. Oberly's unsuccessful campaign against Senator William V. Roth. He then worked as campaign director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 1995. In 1996 Plouffe managed Bob Torricelli's successful campaign to fill Bill Bradley's New Jersey seat in the United States Senate and was paid over $200,000.

From 1997 to 1998 Plouffe served as Democratic leader Dick Gephardt's Deputy Chief of Staff. In 1999-2000, as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Plouffe led a national campaign that raised a record $95 million for House races across the country.

In the winter of 2000, Plouffe joined AKP&D Message and Media, but left briefly to serve as a strategist for Gephardt's unsuccessful Presidential bid. He returned to the firm and became a partner in February 2004. Beginning in 2003, Plouffe and fellow AKP&D partner David Axelrod worked on Barack Obama's 2004 Illinois Senate campaign, beginning his association with Obama. Plouffe worked with Axelrod on the successful 2006 campaign of Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts and received almost $150,000 in compensation. His compensation for the Obama campaign is on par according to OpenSecrets.org.

Plouffe was the campaign manager for Obama's successful 2008 presidential campaign. He is credited with the campaign's successful overall strategy in the race (primarily against Senator Hillary Clinton) for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, to focus on the first caucus in Iowa and on maximizing the number of pledged delegates, as opposed to focusing on states with primaries and the overall popular vote. He is also credited by The New Republic for Obama's success in the Iowa caucus and for crafting an overall strategy to prolong the primary past Super Tuesday. The Chicago Tribune writes, "Plouffe was the mastermind behind a winning strategy that looked well past Super Tuesday's contests on Feb. 5 and placed value on large and small states." Plouffe also maintained discipline over communications in the campaign, including controlling leaks and releasing information about the campaign on its terms. Averse to publicity himself, Plouffe's control over the internal workings of the Obama campaign successfully avoided the publicly aired squabbles that frequently trouble other campaigns.

Plouffe has not been appointed to a position in the Obama administration or presidential transition. He intends to publish a book entitled The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory, discussing management strategies that he used in the 2008 campaign. According to sources the book is set to net him a seven figure fee. He also signed with the Washington Speakers Bureau to give paid speeches, and plans to engage in non-government consulting work." In May 2009, Plouffe is scheduled to deliver the Convocation address at Cornell University.

Plouffe is married to Olivia Morgan, a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Washington based political and public affairs firm, and formerly an advisor to California Governor Gray Davis. The couple resides in Washington, D.C. and have a son and a daughter, the daughter born two days after the 2008 Presidential election.

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Bill Ayers presidential election controversy

Professor Bill Ayers

During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, a controversy arose regarding Barack Obama's contact with Bill Ayers, a Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a former leader of the Weather Underground. He served on two nonprofit boards with Obama. Both Ayers and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn, hosted a gathering at their home in 1995, where Alice Palmer introduced Obama as her chosen successor in the Illinois State Senate. Investigations by the New York Times, CNN, and other news organizations concluded that Obama does not have a close relationship with Ayers.

The matter was initially raised by Hillary Rodham Clinton in February 2008 after it had been suggested by Sean Hannity and other hosts on conservative talk radio programs. Moderator George Stephanopoulos revisited the discussion during a debate between Clinton and Obama in April 2008. In October 2008, the matter was mentioned in attack ads, robocalls, mass mailings, and campaign speeches by Republican presidential candidate John McCain and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as an issue in the general election campaign. Obama has condemned Ayers' past, and stated that he does not have a close association with him.

Ayers was part of the five-member central committee heading the Weathermen starting at its creation in the summer of 1969. By early 1970 the group had begun a series of bombings, primarily of government buildings, that would continue into 1975. The group intentionally chose its targets to avoid human injury. However, a bomb eventually claimed three lives — members of the group who died during an accidental explosion — and the remaining members took false identities en masse.

Obama and Ayers first met in 1995 when Ayers and Dohrn hosted a small gathering at their home in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, the neighborhood in which the Obamas lived, at which then-state Senator Alice J. Palmer introduced Barack Obama to the group as her chosen successor for the 1996 Democratic primary. Dr. Quentin Young, a longtime physician, who also attended, said it was a small group — maybe a dozen or so people — who were being introduced to the next senator from Chicago's South Side. The formal announcement and endorsement by Palmer was held at the Ramada hotel.

Obama served as president of the board of directors for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a large education-related nonprofit organization that Ayers was instrumental in starting. The board disbursed grants to schools and raised private matching funds while Ayers worked with the operational arm of the effort. Both attended some board meetings in common starting in 1995, retreats, and at least one news conference together as the education program started. They continued to attend meetings together during the 1995-2001 period when the program was operating.

Obama and Ayers served together for three years on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty foundation established in 1941. Obama had joined the nine-member board in 1993, and had attended a dozen of the quarterly meetings together with Ayers in the three years up to 2002, when Obama left his position on the board, which Ayers chaired for two years. Laura S. Washington, chairwoman of the Woods Fund, said the small board had a collegial "friendly but businesslike" atmosphere, and met four times a year for a half-day, mostly to approve grants. The two also appeared together on academic panel discussions, including a 1997 University of Chicago discussion on juvenile justice. They again appeared in 2002 at an academic panel co-sponsored by the Chicago Public Library. One panel discussion in which they both appeared was organized by Obama's wife, Michelle.

The New York Times reported that Obama did not have a significant relationship with Ayers. According to several sources, Ayers played no role in starting Obama's career, which was primarily launched when Deborah Leff, then president of the Joyce Foundation, suggested Obama be appointed as chairman of the six-member board that oversaw the distribution of grants in Chicago.

Obama's contacts with Ayers had been public knowledge in Chicago for years. British writer Peter Hitchens wrote about Ayers in the Daily Mail in early February, 2008. The connection was then picked up by blogs and newspapers in the United States, including in the liberal Huffington Post.

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George.

On May 17, as the controversy continued, the Obama campaign issued their own "Fact Check" regarding Clinton's statements on the alleged relationship between Ayers and Obama.

In April 2008, John McCain began to question Obama's interactions with Ayers, and it became an issue later in the general election campaign.

On October 16, the McCain campaign launched a massive robocall campaign which played an automated message linking Ayers to Obama.

The Obama campaign added a section about Ayers to its "Fight the Smears" website, where it argued that the attack by "a desperate McCain campaign" and other groups was a "smear", citing newspaper commentaries calling it “phony”, “tenuous”, and “exaggerated at best if not outright false".

With the mainstream news media and the blogosphere caught in the pre-election excitement, I saw no viable path to a rational discussion. Rather than step clumsily into the sound-bite culture, I turned away whenever the microphones were thrust into my face. I sat it out.

His post-election piece argued that the attacks on Obama had been a "profoundly dishonest drama", including a false depiction of Ayers as a terrorist ("I never killed or injured anyone") and an exaggeration of his connection to Obama ("We didn’t pal around, and I had nothing to do with his positions").

Obama has condemned Ayers' past through a spokesman. After the controversy arose, Ayers was defended by officials and others in Chicago. Mayor Richard M. Daley issued a statement in support of Bill Ayers the next day (April 17, 2008), as did the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. Ayers remains on the Board of Directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago. Woods Fund Chair Washington said it was "ridiculous to suggest there's anything inappropriate" about the two men serving on the foundation board.

If Obama's relationship with Ayers, however tangential, exposes Obama as a radical himself, or at least as a man with terrible judgment, he shares that radicalism or terrible judgment with a comically respectable list of Chicagoans and others — including Republicans and conservatives — who have embraced Ayers and Dohrn as good company, good citizens, even experts on children's issues...Ayers and Dohrn are despicable, and yet making an issue of Obama's relationship with them is absurd.

In August, the Obama–Ayers contact was mentioned in Jerome Corsi's The Obama Nation, a book intended to defeat Obama's election campaign, and in conservative author David Freddoso's The Case Against Barack Obama, where he wrote that the situation raised questions about Obama's judgment and influences. In May and August, Chicago Tribune columnist and editorial board member Steve Chapman suggested that while Obama was "justly criticized for his ties" to Ayers, the coverage of that connection should be matched by equal coverage of John McCain's associating with convicted Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy. As of late October, Chapman had still not received any information from the McCain campaign, despite McCain's promise to provide full disclosure.

I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child. Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.

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Barack Obama "Hope" poster

The "HOPE" version of the image, the most widely distributed one

The Barack Obama "hope" poster is an image of Barack Obama designed by artist Shepard Fairey, which was widely described as iconic and became synonymous with the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. It consists of a stylized stencil portrait of Obama in solid red, white (actually beige) and (pastel and dark) blue, with the word "progress", "hope", or "change" below (and other things in some versions).

The design was created and distributed widely—both as a digital image and on posters and other paraphernalia—during the 2008 election season, initially independently but with the approval of the official Obama campaign. The image became one of the most widely recognized symbols of Obama's campaign message, spawning many variations and imitations, including some commissioned by the Obama campaign.

In January 2009, after Obama had won the election, Fairey's mixed-media stenciled portrait version of the image was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for its National Portrait Gallery. Later in January 2009, the photograph on which Fairey based the poster was revealed: an April 2006 shot by former Associated Press freelance photographer Mannie Garcia. In response to claims by the Associated Press for compensation, Fairey sued for a declaratory judgment that his poster was a fair use of the original photograph.

Shepard Fairey, who had created earlier political street art critical of government and of George W. Bush, discussed the nascent Obama campaign with publicist Yosi Sergant in late October 2007. Sergant suggested Fairey create some art in support of Obama. Sergant contacted the Obama campaign to seek its permission for Fairey to design an Obama poster, which was granted a few weeks before Super Tuesday. Fairey found a photograph of Obama using Google Image Search (eventually revealed to be an April 2006 photo by freelancer Mannie Garcia for The Associated Press) and created the original poster design in a single day. The original image had the word "progress" and featured Fairey's signature OBEY|obey star—a symbol associated with his Andre the Giant Has a Posse street art campaign—embedded in the Obama campaign's sunrise logo.

Fairey began screen-printing posters soon after completing the design and showing it to Sergant. Initially, he sold 350 and put 350 more up in public. Beginning with that sale and continuing throughout the campaign, Fairey used proceeds from selling the image to produce more of it; after first printing, he made 4,000 more that were distributed at Obama rallies before Super Tuesday. He also put a printable digital version on his website. As Fairey explained in an October 2008 interview, the image quickly "went viral", spreading spontaneously through social media and word of mouth.

After the initial 700 posters, the Obama campaign conveyed through Sergant that they wanted to promote the theme of hope, and most of the posters sold by Fairey subsequently had the word "hope" and later "change" instead of "progress"; the obey star was also absent from later versions. By October 2008, Fairey claimed to have printed 200,000 posters (with less than 2,000 sold and the rest given away or displayed) and 500,000 stickers, as well as clothing and other items with the image sold through Fairey's website, in addition to copies printed by others. According to Fairey and Sergant, proceeds from sales of the image were used to produce more posters and other merchandise in support of the Obama campaign, rather than direct profit for Fairey.

As the campaign progressed, many parodies and imitations of Fairey's design appeared. For example, one anti-Obama version replaced the word "hope" with "hype", while parody posters featuring opponents Sarah Palin and John McCain had the word "nope". David Wolbrecht, a graphic designer from the University of Washington, wrote a how-to guide for using Adobe Illustrator to emulate the poster, and Chicago computer programmer Dabi Kaufmann created a Photo Booth plugin for creating similar effects.

Fairey himself was commissioned to create a number of works in the same style. He produced two other versions, based on different photographs, officially on behalf of the Obama campaign, and another to serve as the cover of the Person of the Year issue of Time. He also created a portrait of comedian Stephen Colbert in the same style, which appeared in an issue of Entertainment Weekly honoring Colbert's television show The Colbert Report.

On January 7, 2009, the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery announced it had acquired Fairey's hand-finished collage (stencil and acrylic on paper) version of the image (with the word "hope"), which the gallery said would go on display shortly before Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009. The work was commissioned and later donated by art collectors Heather and Tony Podesta (Tony is the brother of Obama's transition co-chairman John Podesta). It is an unusual acquisition, in that the National Portrait Gallery normally collects official portraits as presidents are leaving office rather than before they take office.

The original source photograph Fairey based the poster on was not publicly known until after Obama had won the election. After a mistaken attribution to Reuters photographer Jim Young for a similar-looking January 2007 photograph, in January 2009 photographer and blogger Tom Gralish discovered that the poster was based an Associated Press photograph by freelance photographer Mannie Garcia. It was taken at a 2006 media event with Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, where the actor George Clooney was publicizing the War in Darfur after a trip to Sudan he had taken with his father.

On February 4, 2009, the Associated Press announced that it determined "that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission." In a press release, the AP announced they are in discussions with Fairey's attorney to discuss an amicable solution. Fairey is being represented by Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University. Falzone is quoted in the press release, "We believe fair use protects Shepard's right to do what he did here." Fairey subsequently filed a federal lawsuit against the Associated Press, seeking a declaratory judgment that his use of the AP photograph was protected by the fair use doctrine and so did not infringe their copyright.

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Obama logo

Barack Obama's logo, designed by Sender LLC.

The Obama logo is the flagship symbol of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. The design became one of the most recognized political brand logos during the 2008 US Presidential election, and possibly the most recognized in electoral history.

The logo was designed by Chicago-based Sender LLC (a brand development and design company) on assignment from Chicago-based mo/de (a motion design studio). The latter had been brought on board early on by David Axelrod, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, although it had never done a political identity before. Project manager Sol Sender led the design team of three which included Amanda Gentry and Andy Keene. Project managers at mo/de were Colin Carter and Steve Juras.

The design began late in 2006 and the finished logo made its debut when Obama officially announced his candidacy for president February 10, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois.

Scott Thomas and John Slabyk, designers with the Obama campaign oversaw the customization of the logo for 12 different identity groups as well as for each state with 50 additional versions. There was also identity for Republicans and independents supporting Barack Obama.

The reception of Obama's logo was generally positive, and in some circles, highly praised. The Boston Globe beamed that "the ever-present rising sun logo has the feeling of a hot new Internet company." "It begins to break with tradition while also rooting itself in tradition," said Peter Krivkovich, CEO of Cramer-Krasselt advertising agency in Chicago. "Patriotism is the foundation, but above that is hope, opportunity, newness." David Morrison, president of Philadelphia-based market research firm Twentysomething Inc., said the logo has "a nice, contemporary, dynamic, youthful vibe about it." Designer Michael Bierut called Obama's branding "just as good or better" as the best commercial brand designs. "Every time you look, all those signs are perfect," Beirut said. "Graphic designers like me don't understand how it's happening. It's unprecedented and inconceivable to us. The people in the know are flabbergasted." On the other hand, cartoonist Ward Sutton snarkily asked, "is it a zero and a sunset over a deserted highway?" "Too many type styles and colors. The look is left undefined. The designer may have been too inexperienced," he added.

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Source : Wikipedia