Barack Obama (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States and the first African American to hold the office of the President of the United States. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned after his election to the presidency.
Barack Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree, worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. His victory from a crowded field in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, and his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 made him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. When Republican nominee Jack Ryan withdrew from the race after a scandal erupted involving the divorce of his wife, actress Jeri Ryan; Republicans approached former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka to run against Barack Obama. Mike Ditka decline the offer and Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 by the largest margin in Illinois history.
Obama began his run for the presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama won his party’s nomination. Barack Obama was now the first major party African American candidate for president, beating a candidate that would have been the first woman to run as major party candidate. A controversy grew over Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama. Many women believed she chose race over her trademark advocacy of women.
In the 2008 general election, Barack Obama defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was inaugurated as President of the United State of America on January 20, 2009