Barack Obama whips up lunch for his wife Michelle Obama and their two daughters Malia Obama and Sasha Obama.
Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. born August 4, 1961 is the junior United States Senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
Born to a Kenyan father and an American mother, he spent most of his early life in Honolulu, Hawaii. From ages six to ten, he lived in Jakarta with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Obama worked as a community organizer, university lecturer, and civil rights lawyer before running for public office and serving in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. After an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 20, he announced his campaign for U.S. Senate in 2003.
The following year, while still an Illinois state legislator, Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote. As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, he co-sponsored bipartisan legislation for controlling conventional weapons and for promoting greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In the current 110th Congress, he has sponsored legislation on lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for returned U.S. military personnel.
Since announcing his presidential campaign in February 2007, Obama has emphasized ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence, and providing universal health care as his top three priorities. He married in 1992 and has two daughters. He has written two bestselling books: a memoir of his youth titled Dreams from My Father, and The Audacity of Hope, a personal commentary on U.S. politics.
Obama met his future wife, Michelle Robinson, in 1988 when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin. Assigned for three months as Obama's advisor at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial offers to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married in October 1992. The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001. Applying the proceeds of a $2 million book deal, the family paid off debts in 2005 and moved from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to their current $1.6-million house in neighboring Kenwood. The house purchase and subsequent acquisition of an adjoining strip of land drew media scrutiny in November 2006 because of financial links with controversial Illinois businessman Tony Rezko. In December 2007, Money magazine estimated the Obama family's net worth at $1.3 million. Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team. He is left-handed. Before announcing his presidential candidacy, he began a well-publicized effort to quit smoking. "I've never been a heavy smoker," Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "I've quit periodically over the last several years. I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I do not succumb. I've been chewing Nicorette strenuously." Replying to an Associated Press survey of 2008 presidential candidates' personal tastes, he specified "architect" as his alternate career choice and "chili" as his favorite meal to cook. Asked to name a "hidden talent," Obama answered: "I'm a pretty good poker player."
A theme of Obama's 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address, and the title of his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, was inspired by his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In Chapter 6 of the book, titled "Faith," Obama writes that he "was not raised in a religious household." He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents, as detached from religion, yet "in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known." He describes his Kenyan father as "raised a Muslim," but a "confirmed atheist" by the time his parents met, and his Indonesian stepfather as "a man who saw religion as not particularly useful." The chapter details how Obama, in his twenties, while working with local churches as a community organizer, came to understand "the power of the African American religious tradition to spur social change":
He joined Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988. A megachurch with 10,0 members, Trinity is the largest congregation in the United Church of Christ.