Barack Hussein Obama, born on August 4, 1961, is the junior United States Senator from Illinois and presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2008 UnitedStates presidential election.
Obama is the first African-American to be nominated by a major American political party for president and became the first African-American president inAmerican history on November 4, 2008. A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he became the first black person to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review,Obama worked as a community organizer and practiced as a civil rights attorney before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He taught constitutional law at theUniversity of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate inJanuary 2003. After a primary victory in March 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004with 70 percent of the vote.
As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, he helped create legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater publicaccountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During the 110th Congress, he helped create legislation regardinglobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for returned U.S. military personnel. Obama announced his presidential campaign in February 2007, and wasformally nominated at the 2008 Democratic National Convention with Delaware senator Joe Biden as his running mate.