By: shep

"She's the first journalist ever to be nominated, I think, for the president or vice president, and she was a sportscaster on local television. So she has a lot of interesting background. And she has a lot of experience. Remember that, when people worry about how inexperienced she is, for two years she's been in charge of the Alaska National Guard."
-- Newt Gingrich on Sarah Palin's qualifications to sit one heartbeat from being the leader of the free world

Barack Obama rose from a single-parent, middle-class family to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1988, after being elected the first African–American editor of the Harvard Law Review.

After helping unemployed steel workers in south Chicago as a community organizer before law school, Obama went back to practice as a civil rights lawyer and taught at the University of Chicago Law School after graduating from Havard.

Obama published an autobiography in 1995 called Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance and won a Grammy for the audio version of the book.

At 35, Barack Obama was elected to the Illinois State Senate where he worked with both Democrats and Republicans in drafting legislation on ethics, expanded health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor. He also created a state earned-income tax credit for the working poor. And after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

In October 2002, against the strong political winds of the day, Obama warned about the looming war in Iraq: "I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."


"I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U. S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences," Obama continued. "I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda."

At 43, Barack Obama was elected to the US Senate with 70 % of the vote in the largest electoral victory in Illinois history.

As a US Senator, Obama partnered with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana on a bill that expanded efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Eastern Europe and Russia and then with Republican Sen. Tom Corburn of Oklahoma to create a website that tracks all federal spending.

Obama was the first to raise the threat of avian flu on the Senate floor, spoke out for victims of Hurricane Katrina, pushed for alternative energy development and championed improved veterans´ benefits. He also worked with Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets by lobbyists to members of Congress.

In October 2006, he published his second book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller.

In August of 2008, Barrack Obama won the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America at the age of 47, about a year older than the youngest man ever to be elected president, John F Kennedy. Though discounted by political insiders as a far long shot, Obama designed and ran a campaign which defeated several of the top leaders of the Democratic Party, including John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.

Just the facts, Ma’am. I mean Ms. Palin.

[UPDATE: I should point out that Obama accomplished that last feat by raising a record $390 million, 96% of it from over 1.7 million individual contributors (another record), in an average donation of $68].

[Cross-posted at E Pluribus Unum]