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And the choices they have made.
Join the movement for change.
Hope from the Heartland and beyond.
arack Obama knows what it is like to overcome long odds.
Obama’s mother, from rural Kansas, and father, a foreign student from Kenya, divorced when he was just 2 years old. When his mother remarried, he lived in Indonesia for 4 years, and then moved back to his birth place in Hawaii to be raised by his grandparents. “Empathy is
– one that makes you understand that your obligations to
a quality of character that can change the world
like you and live in your neighborhood.”
They didn’t have a lot of money, but Obama earned scholarships, took out loans, and graduated from Columbia University. It was the start of an extraordinary life.
others extend beyond people who look like you and act
University of Massachusetts at Boston Commencement Address, June 2, 2006
– Barack Obama
A Story of Hope 1
Experience you can’t get in Washington.
arack Obama’s first choice was to work as a churchbased community organizer in an impoverished Chicago neighborhood devastated by steel layoffs. After 3 years of service to the community, Obama decided to go to law school to learn how to make a bigger impact in public service. After graduating from Harvard Law School, where he was elected as the first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review, Barack Obama chose a life of public service. Obama turned down lucrative law jobs to lead a voter registration drive in Chicago. Later, he joined a small employment and civil rights law firm and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago for 10 years.
“It was inspiring, absolutely inspiring to see someone as brilliant as Barack Obama, as successful, someone who could’ve written his ticket on Wall Street, take all
devote it to the community
and to making people’s lives better.”
of the talent and all of the learning and decide to
– Harvard Law Professor Laurence H. Tribe
who calls Barack Obama the most amazing student he has had in 37 years of teaching law.
A Story of Hope 3
“He comes to the presidential race not as a candidate who spent his or her political career doing whatever seemed best to build a political resume for the presidency. Obama comes to the race as a
– Burt Constable
Daily Herald Columnist, February 13, 2007
Barack Obama, 1992. As Director of Project Vote, Obama led the effort to register over 150,000 new voters.
A Story of Hope 5
Pulling people together. Getting big things done.
led bipartisan coalitions to get big things done – enacting landmark ethics reform, passing $100 million in tax cuts for the working poor, and reforming the death penalty. Instead of just talking about health care reform, Barack Obama delivered. “Republican legislators n 8 years the Illinois Senate, Barack IObamatiedinour countrypartisanship rose above the that has in knots and
respected Senator Obama. If Senator Obama were hold to your principles
– Republican Senator Kirk Dillard
who worked with Obama to pass landmark ethics reforms and other important legislation in the Illinois Senate.
to go on and be the nation’s chief executive, those skills, negotiation skills and an ability to understand both sides,
but be practical in what you can get in a real world is something that I think would serve him and the country very well.”
He wrote and passed laws to expand health care to 20,000 children and 65,000 adults, crack down on hospitals that overcharge the uninsured, and force insurance companies to cover mammograms for poor women. For Obama, insuring that all Americans have affordable health care is more than the promise of a campaign. It’s the cause of a lifetime.
A Story of Hope 7
Challenging the ways of Washington.
arack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 at the age of 43.
He started by challenging leaders in both parties to adopt sweeping ethics reforms, forcing lobbyists to fully disclose the sources of campaign money they funnel to elected officials. He is leading by example, refusing contributions from special interest PACs and Washington lobbyists in his race for the presidency. His first law was passed with Republican Tom Coburn, a measure to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars is spent.
“As people have looked away in disillusionment and frustration, we know what’s filled the void. The cynics, and the lobbyists, and the special interests who’ve turned our government into a game only they can afford to play. They write the checks and you get stuck with the bills, they get the access while you get to write a letter, they think they own this government, but that politics is over. It’s time to turn the page.”
we’re here today to take it back. The time for
– Barack Obama
Announcement of Candidacy, February 10, 2007
8 A Story of Hope 9
Choosing principle over politics. Opposing the Iraq War from the very start.
arack Obama had the courage and judgment to speak out against the war in 2002, even before the invasion of Iraq. Barack was the only candidate in his race for the U.S. Senate and one of the few in the entire country to oppose the war in Iraq, even when most voters and politicians in America supported the war.
“That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.”
– Barack Obama
Chicago Anti-War Rally, October 2, 2002, five months prior to the invasion of Iraq
Obama is the only candidate for president who has introduced legislation to bring all of our troops home by March 31, 2008.
A Story of Hope 11
Keeping America safe. Restoring our place in the world.
s a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama worked with Republican Senator Dick Lugar to pass the new law to help keep the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of terrorists. And on trips to Africa and the Middle East, he has brought a new face of American leadership to the world. He challenged the leaders of South Africa over the issue of HIV/AIDS. He took on government corruption in Kenya. And won the hearts of people across the Continent.
“We have a narrow window to solve some of the problems that we face. Ten years from now, we may not be in a position to recover the sense of respect around the world that we’ve lost over the last six years…And so I feel a sense of urgency for the country.”
– Barack Obama
60 Minutes, February 11, 2007
A Story of Hope 13
Challenging Americans to come together and tackle big problems.
“There is not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America. “There is not a Black America, and a White America, a Latino America, an Asian America, there is the United States of America. “The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states – red states for the Republicans, blue states for Democrats – but I’ve got news for them too. “We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states. “We coach little league in the blue states, and yes, we have some gay friends in the red states. “There are patriots who opposed the War in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the War in Iraq. “We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”
– Barack Obama
Democratic National Convention Keynote Address, July 27, 2004
14 A Story of Hope 15
Calling on all Americans to choose a new politics.
arack’s experience as an organizer and legislator taught him that the solutions to our problems have to come from the bottom-up, not just the top-down. It starts with fixing a system in Washington that is so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence that we cannot tackle the problems that demand solutions. Obama has taken on the powerful in both parties to demand ethics reforms in the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate, and he will do the same as president. Barack Obama knows the Washington special interests are no match for millions of Americans who stand up and demand a new politics. He is running for president to call on every American to join this movement for change.
A Story of Hope 17
Taking on corporate influence and overcoming our biggest challenges.
he thousands of Iowans who have seen Barack Obama first hand as he campaigns across the state have heard an inspirational leader with a stratightforward message: it’s not the magnitude of our problems that’s holding the country back. It’s the smallness of our politics. He’s challenging all of us to stand together to reject divisive politics and special interest influence, so we can work together to solve very real problems of every day Americans: • Obama says it’s morally wrong for drug companies and insurance companies to keep raking in record profits while families are struggling with rising costs and 45 million Americans have no coverage. He’ll unite Americans for health care reform. • He says it’s time to set fuel efficiency standards that require the auto industry to manufacture cars that reduce our dependence on foreign oil and emit fewer pollutants. • Obama will reverse the Bush policies that allow big companies to walk away from pension obligations to their retired workers. • He will improve our nation’s schools by rewarding teachers with higher pay and incentives, while asking more of students, teachers, and parents. • Obama will make college more affordable by expanding student loans and weeding out the costs and excessive fees of big banks in the student loan market.
A Story of Hope 19
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