Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to Reflecting later on his formative years in Honolulu, Obama wrote: "The opportunity that Hawaii offeredto experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear. Obama has also written and talked about using alcohol, marijuana and cocaine during his teenage years to "push questions of who I was out of my mind. At the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency, Obama identified his high-school drug use as his "greatest moral failure."
Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from Illinois's 13th District. Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority. He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained, and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations.
U.S. Senator: 2005–2008 Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, Obama cosponsored the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. He introduced two initiatives bearing his name: Lugar–Obama, which expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, and the Coburn–Obama Transparency Act, which authorized the establishment of USAspending.gov, a web search engine on federal spending. Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children's Health Insurance Program providing one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat- related injuries.
On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for president of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The choice of the announcement site was viewed as symbolic because it was also where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic "House Divided" speech in Throughout the campaign, Obama emphasized the issues of rapidly ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence and providing universal health care. On November 4, Obama won the presidency by winning 365 electoral votes to 173 that McCain received, in the process capturing 52.9% of the popular vote to McCain's 45.7%, to become the first African American to be elected president. Obama delivered his victory speech before hundreds of thousands of supporters in Chicago's Grant Park.
Political Positions In April 2005, Obama defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and opposed Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security. Obama has supported eliminating taxes for senior citizens with incomes of under $50,000, and raising taxes on income over $250,000, on capital gains, and on dividends. As an environmental initiative, Obama proposed a cap and trade auction system with no grandfathering to restrict carbon emissions and a ten year program of investments in new energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally (митинг),and spoke out against the war. He addressed another anti-war rally in March 2003 and told the crowd that "it's not too late" to stop the war. Obama stated in 2007 that he would enact budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars, stop investing in "unproven" missile (ракетные) defense systems, not weaponize space, "slow development of Future Combat Systems", and work towards eliminating all nuclear weapons.