Barack Obama is a Senator from Illinois, former State senator and civil rights lawyer and the most different candidate of all as he goes against many established Washington trends. He has a Kenyan father, a white mother, was born in Hawaii, grew up partly in Indonesia and although taught all religions by his single mother was essentially raised Atheist and became a Christian by choice as an adult. He gets criticised for not being black enough from some African Americans as he is only half black.
However along with Hillary this would represent a giant leap forward if he is elected, being the first black president. He rose to fame at the 2004 Democratic convention which nominated John Kerry with a speech that became the pre-cursor to his entire presidential campaign, his subsequent book and made him an International sensation. Has the ability to be a rock star in front of large crowds but falls flat when talking to small crowds very much like Bill Clinton. However this changes like with Bill when he is challenged on a position. Barack is very statesman like, extremely intelligent and youthful and additionally the one candidate on either side who could lose this primary and come back in four, eight or twelve years stronger and be a winner.
He bucked trends like not accepting money from lobbyists and corporate giants but still has kept pace with the Clinton finance juggernaut and now comfortably exceeds it. He also speaks to crowds like unions and tells them things they don't want to hear knowing he will get boos and speaks about pains in the short term to fix long term problems and does not engage in negative campaigning degrading other candidates (although has done a little in debates recently with Hillary). He is the only candidate who was always against war in Iraq but unlike Edwards and Clinton never had to formally vote on it as was not a Senator at the time (he does support Afghan war).
Possibly because he hasn't been around as long, and despite disagreeance with a lot his positions, he unusually seems to generate little strong hate from Republicans as Hillary Clinton does. So it would seen as though he is someone who can get votes from independents and moderate Republicans alike. He hasn't performed as well as many of his compatriots in the Democratic debates as a whole but is slowly getting better often following the lead of John Edwards.
He has now won far more states than Hillary although in in a virtual dead heat delegate count with Hillary given that neither candidate has a definitive majority. Then with Indiana not holding their primary till May, stay tuned for a long and exciting battle ahead with the Clinton machine.
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