Barack Obama presidential primary campaign, 2008


Barack Obama presidential primary campaign, 2008

Infobox U.S. federal election campaign, 2008
committee = Obama for America

campaign = U.S. presidential election, 2008
candidate = Barack Obama
U.S. Senator 2005–present
status = Announced February 10, 2007
Presumptive nominee June 3, 2008
Official nominee August 27,2008
cand_id = P80003338
fec_date = 2008-05-31
affiliation = Democratic Party
headquarters = Chicago, Illinois
key_people = David Plouffe (Manager)
Penny Pritzker (Finance)
David Axelrod (Media)
Robert Gibbs (Communications)
receipts = 287.4
slogan =
homepage = [http://www.barackobama.com/ www.barackobama.com]
BarackObamaSegmentsUnderInfoBox

Barack Obama, the junior United States Senator from Illinois, announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States in Springfield, Illinois, on February 10, 2007. On June 3, 2008, he secured enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for the 2008 presidential election. He will be the first African-American in American History to run on a major party ticket, and is the first to ever be nominated by a major party. [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2007/01/31/cq_2214.html|title="Obama Sets Feb. 10 Event to Reveal Plans, Rebuffs Biden’s Gaffe"|publisher=The New York Times|date=January 31, 2007|accessdate=2008-03-23|last=Horrigan|first=Marie]

Obama announced his candidacy at the Old State Capitol building where Abraham Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech in 1858. [ cite news | url=http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2865196&page=1&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312 | title=Obama Declares His Candidacy |publisher=ABC News |author=Tapper, Jake | coauthors=Katie Hinman| date=February 10 2007 |accessdate=2007-02-10 ] Obama's initial victory in the Iowa caucus brought him to national prominence out of the crowded field of Democratic challengers, and his campaign began to trade a series of hard-fought state wins with expected Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton in January, a trend which continued through Super Tuesday, where Obama had great success in large rural states, and Clinton was nearly as dominant in high-population coastal areas. Obama continued to have remarkable fundraising and electoral success in February, [cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/20/us/politics/20obama.html|title="Small Online Contributions Add Up to Huge Fund-raising Edge for Obama"|publisher=New York Times|date=February 20 2008|accessdate=2008-03-23|last=Luo|first=Michael] winning all 11 state and territorial-level contests following Super Tuesday, and "chipping away" at Clinton's core supporters in key states. [ cite web| url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/20/clinton.strategy/index.html |title=Clinton looks to stop Obama in aftermath of 10 losses | publisher=CNN | author=Candy Crowley | coauthors=Jessica Yellin, John Helton and Rebecca Sinderbrand | date=February 21 2008 |accessdate=2008-03-23] Obama won the Vermont primary, however ended up [cite news |first=Domenico |last=Montanaro |title=Delegate Update: Obama wins TX |url=http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/04/01/846611.aspx |work=First Read |publisher=MSNBC |date=2008-04-01 |accessdate=2008-04-03 ] losing Ohio and Rhode Island thus losing six delegates of his lead.cite news| url = http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/democratic_delegate_count.html | title = Delegate Count | publisher = RealClearPolitics.com | date = Unavailable | accessdate = 2008-03-21] Obama then won the Wyoming caucus and Mississippi primary, and later lost the Pennsylvania primary.

After Obama won the North Carolina primary and narrowly lost the Indiana primary, superdelegates began to endorse Obama in greater numbers. Despite losing West Virginia and Kentucky by wide margins, Obama's win in Oregon gave him an absolute majority of the pledged delegates, and he maintained that majority after the full delegations of Florida and Michigan were seated at half voting strength by a May 31st Democratic National Committee ruling. After a rush of support for Obama from superdelegates on June 3rd, the day of the final primary contests of Montana and South Dakota, Obama was estimated to surpass the 2,118 delegates required for the Democratic nomination. [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/scorecard/#D|title=Democratic Scorecard|publisher=CNN|date=2008-06-03 |accessdate=2008-06-03] On June 7, Clinton formally ended her candidacy and endorsed Obama, making him the party's presumptive nominee. [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080607/D915DASO0.html Clinton suspends historic campaign, endorses Obama] Reuters, June 7, 2008] On 27 August, the Democratic Party of the United States nominated Barack Obama as the first American of African descent to be nominated to run for the office of the President of the United States of America.

Pre-announcement

Obama's keynote speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention sparked expectations that he would run for the presidency. [Sullivan, Amy. [http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2004_07/004397.php "Obama for President,"] "Washington Monthly" (guest article), July 28, 2004. Retrieved on January 8, 2007] Speculation on a 2008 presidential run intensified after Obama's decisive U.S. Senate election win in November 2004. At that time he told reporters: "I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years." [Fornek, Scott. "Obama for president? That's 'silly'," "Chicago Sun-Times", November 4, 2004. Available at [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_20041104/ai_n12566462 FindArticles.com,] Retrieved on January 8, 2007]

However, in an October 2006 interview on the television program "Meet the Press", Obama appeared to open the possibility of a 2008 presidential bid. [MSNBC. [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15304689/page/3/ MTP Transcript for Oct. 22] , "Meet the Press", October 22, 2006. Retrieved on January 8, 2007] Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and Illinois State Comptroller Daniel Hynes were early advocates for a 2008 Obama presidential run. [Babington, Charles. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/17/AR2006061700736.html?nav=hcmodule "Obama's Profile Has Democrats Taking Notice: Popular Senator Is Mentioned as 2008 Contender,"] "Washington Post", June 18, 2006, Page A01 See also: McQueary, Kristen. [http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/mcqueary/166638,101mcq1.article Obama, Hynes now war buddies] , "Daily Southtown", December 10, 2006. Retrieved on January 13, 2007] Many people in the entertainment community have also expressed readiness to campaign for an Obama presidency, including celebrity television show host Oprah Winfrey, singer Macy Gray, rap artist Common, and film actors George Clooney, Halle Berry, and Will Smith.

In September 2006, Obama was the featured speaker at Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's annual steak fry, a political event traditionally attended by presidential hopefuls in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses. [Kornblut, Anne E. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/18/us/politics/18obama.html?_r=1 "For This Red Meat Crowd, Obama's '08 Choice Is Clear,"] "New York Times", September 18, 2006] In December 2006, Obama spoke at a New Hampshire event celebrating Democratic Party midterm election victories in the first-in-the-nation U.S. presidential primary state, drawing 1,500 people.

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee meeting one week before the February announcement, Obama called for putting an end to negative campaigning. "This can't be about who digs up more skeletons on who, who makes the fewest slip-ups on the campaign trail," he said. "We owe it to the American people to do more than that." [cite news | url=http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/02/barack_obama.php |title=Barack Obama at the DNC Winter 2007 Meeting | accessdate=2007-11-18 | date=February 2 2007 | format=video | work=Democratic National Committee Full text from [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/05/AR2007020500753_pf.html CQ Transcripts Wire] . Retrieved on 2007-11-18. See also: cite news | first=Paul | last=Harris | title=The Obama Revolution | date=February 4 2007 | url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2005508,00.html | work=Guardian Unlimited | accessdate=2007-11-18]

Announcement of candidacy

On January 16, 2007, Obama announced via a video on his website that he had formed a presidential exploratory committee. [cite news | title=Obama to Explore 2008 White House Race | date=January 16, 2007 | publisher=MSNBC | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16652674/ | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2007-11-18 [http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=422873237 Video] at "Brightcove.TV".] On February 10, he formally announced his candidacy for the presidency. In his announcement speech, Obama evoked the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, saying:

Campaign staff and policy team

On January 14 2007, the "Chicago Tribune" reported that Obama had begun assembling his 2008 presidential campaign team, to be headquartered in Chicago. [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/18/business/18leonhardt.html?ex=1334548800&en=7eb5e2553d92a9f4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss | title=The Advisers Are Writing Our Future | author=David Leonhardt | publisher=The New York Times | date=2007-04-18 | accessdate=2008-04-02] His team includes campaign manager David Plouffe and media consultant David Axelrod, who are partners at Chicago-based political consulting firm AKP&D Message and Media. [cite web|url=http://www.akpmedia.com/partners/index.html|title=AKP&D Message and Media - Partners] Communications director Robert Gibbs was previously press secretary for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. [ [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0701140389jan14,0,4581688.story Inside Obama's inner circle] Chicago Tribune, January 14, 2007] Penny Pritzker heads the campaign finance team.

Other members of the campaign staff include Deputy National Campaign Director Steve Hildebrand, [cite news |url=http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/832864,CST-NWS-sweet09.article |title=Obama's inner circle |work=Chicago Sun-Times |accessdate=2008-03-10 |date=2008-03-09] New Media Director Joe Rospars, [cite web|url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/blog/rospars|title=Joe Rospars's Blog] speechwriter Jon Favreau, [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/fashion/20speechwriter.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin | title=What Would Obama Say? | author=Ashley Parker | publisher=The New York Times | date=2008-01-20 | accessdate=2008-04-02] national press secretary Bill Burton, traveling press secretary Dan Pfeiffer, policy development Cassandra Butts, finance director Julianna Smoot, research director Devorah Adler, and pollsters Paul Harstad and Cornell Belcher. [ [http://blog.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2007/01/the_obama_inner_circle.html Barack Obama's Impressive Team] Chris Cillizza, "The Washington Post", January 16, 2007]

A number of Obama's top aides have backgrounds with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, [cite news | url=http://blog.washingtonpost.com/thefix/2007/01/the_obama_inner_circle.html | title=Barack Obama's Impressive Team | author=Chris Cillizza | publisher=The Washington Post | date=2007-01-16 | accessdate=2007-12-11] who left the Senate due to re-election defeat at the same time Obama was entering it.

Obama's economic advisors include chief Austan Goolsbee, who has worked with him since his U.S. Senate campaign, Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett, [ [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aDAVifxVxsSU Clinton, Obama Tout Rubin, Volcker to Show Expertise] Matthew Benjamin and Lorraine Woellert, "Bloomberg.com", March 28, 2008 See also: [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aKLKLlDsy7Ys> Obama Says Volcker an Example of Economy Expertise (Transcript)] "Political Capital with Al Hunt", "Bloomberg.com", March 28, 2008] health economist David Cutler and Jeffrey Leibman. [ [http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/32315.html Obama's economic advisers are brainy academics] Kevin G. Hall, April 4, 2008 ] His foreign policy advisors included a core of nine people: Gregory Craig, Richard Danzig, Scott Gration, Anthony Lake, Denis McDonough, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice and Daniel Shapiro [ [http://www2.nysun.com/article/71651 Obama's Inner Circle] "The New York Sun", February 21, 2008] until March, 2008 when Samantha Power stepped down. A larger group of 250 advisers is divided into subgroups of about 20 people, each focusing on a specific area or topic. [ [http://www2.nysun.com/article/71580 Obama's Brain Trust Taking Shape] Eli Lake, "The New York Sun", February 21, 2008] His legal affairs advisors include Martha Minow, Ronald Sullivan, Christopher Edley Jr., Eric Holder and Cassandra Butts. [ [http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/080331nj1.htm Obama's Inner Circle] James A. Barnes, "National Journal", March 31, 2008 ]

Among his field staff, Paul Tewes and Mitch Stewart led Obama's winning Iowa caucus campaign and one or the other of them directed field operations in many other crucial states, including Nevada, Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana.

Obama's campaign was notable for extensive use of a logo consisting of the letter O, with the center suggesting a sun rising over fields in the colors of the American flag. It was designed by a team at Chicago design firm Sender LLC. [cite web | url=http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=23974 | title=Chicago designers create Obama's logo | author=Lorene Yue and Brandon Glenn | publisher=Crain's Chicago Business | date=2007-02-22 | accessdate=2008-08-23]

Pre-primary campaign developments

First half 2007

In March 2007, the Obama campaign posted a question on Yahoo! Answers, entitled: "How can we engage more people in the democratic process?" which ultimately drew in over 17,000 responses. [cite web|url=http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070321123705AAUBCyH|title=How can we engage more people in the democratic process?|publisher=Yahoo! Answers|author=Barack Obama|accessdate=2008-03-23]

On May 3, 2007, citing no specific threat but motivated by the large volume of hate mail directed at the Senator, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced that the United States Secret Service would provide protection for the campaign, including bodyguards for Obama and other services/resources similar to those employed for the safety of the President of the United States, albeit on a proportionally smaller level. Normally, presidential candidates are not offered Secret Service protection until early February of election year; this was the earliest protection had ever been granted. [cite news|first=Helen|last=Kennedy|title=Obama Gets Earliest-Ever Secret Service Detail|date=May 4 2007|url=http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/2007/05/04/2007-05-04_raising_his_guard.html|work=New York Daily News|accessdate=2007-11-18 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was already under Secret Service protection because of her status as wife of former President Bill Clinton.]

econd half 2007

On August 1 when making his foreign policy speech Obama created controversy by declaring that the United States must be willing to strike al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan, with or without the consent of the Pakistani government. He stated that if elected, "If we have actionable intelligence about high value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will". [cite news | url=http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0132206420070801 | title=Tough talk on Pakistan from Obama | work=Reuters |date=August 1, 2007 |accessdate=2008-03-23] ABC News described the policy speech as "counterintuitive", and commented on how "one of the more liberal candidates in the race, is proposing a geopolitical posture that is more aggressive than that of President Bush" [cite news|url=http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=3434573&page=1|title=Obama Delivers Bold Speech About War on Terror|work=ABC News|author=Jake Tapper|date=August 1, 2007|accessdate=2008-02-16]

After weeks of discourse surrounding the policy, Obama said there was "misreporting" of his comments, claiming that, "I never called for an invasion of Pakistan or Afghanistan." He clarified that rather than a surge in the number of troops in Iraq, there needs to be a "diplomatic surge" and that if there were "actionable intelligence reports" showing al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the U.S. troops as a last resort should enter and try to capture terrorists. That would happen, he added, only if "the Pakistani government was unable or unwilling" to go after the terrorists. [cite web|url=http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/articles/2007/08/07/news/top/8d9e96c628c098008625732f008341f5.txt|title="Obama revisits Pakistan statement"|publisher="Sioux City Journal"|date=August 7 2007|accessdate=2008-03-23|last=Hayworth|first=Bret]

As Democratic debates took place during the summer, Obama received at best mixed notices for his efforts. Democratic strategist Bob Shrum said, "He slips into this tendency, which he probably learned as president of the Harvard Law Review, to overstate his premises before he states his position. In politics, you do the opposite of what you do in the Law Review—you state your position, then say your premises—if you ever get to them."cite news | url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/71708 | title=President of the Debate Team | author=Eleanor Clift | date=2007-11-23 | accessdate=2007-12-11 | publisher=Newsweek] Commentator Eleanor Clift said that, "Obama is almost too cerebral for the sound-bite world of modern politics, but that's part of his appeal."

During a campaign stop in October 2007, a reporter inquired as to why Obama had stopped wearing a lapel pin of the American flag, which he had started wearing after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and his response was that it had come to feel like "a substitute for true patriotism". This led to discussion on the cable news channels and was covered by satirists such as Stephen Colbert, who had an ongoing disagreement with the "Fox & Friends" assertion that "this is America and if you want to be president of "America", it might be [sic] behoove him to wear an "American" flag". Commentator Bill Maher, who was highly critical of such questions about Obama's patriotism and called it a "non-story" nonetheless referred to the incident as " [t] he first genuine controversy of the presidential campaign". [cite news | url=http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/10/12/flag_pins/index.html?source=rss&aim=opinion | title=American flag pins are for idiots | author=Bill Maher | publisher=Salon | date=2007-10-12 | accessdate=2007-12-11]

In mid-late October 2007, Obama came under fire from the Human Rights Campaign and others for a South Carolina gospel music campaign tour that featured singer Donnie McClurkin, who states that he is "ex-gay" and that homosexuality is a "curse [that runs against] the intention of God."citation|date=October 27, 2007|title=Obama Explains Why He's the Best Candidate for LGBT Americans |periodical=The Advocate |url=http://advocate.com/news_detail_ektid50021.asp |accessdate=2007-10-26 |first=Kerry |last=Eleveld] cite news | url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2007/10/23/obama-takes-heat-for-link-to-mcclurkin/ | title=Obama takes heat for link to McClurkin | publisher=Associated Press for CNN | date=2007-10-23 | accessdate=2007-12-11] Obama said in response that, "I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend McClurkin's views." While not replacing McClurkin, the campaign added a gay minister to the tour.

As fall 2007 continued, Obama fell further behind Clinton in national polls.cite news | url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/debate-preview-all-eyes-on-obama/ | title=Debate Preview: All Eyes on Obama | author=Adam Nagourney | publisher=The New York Times | date=October 30 2007 | accessdate=2007-11-01] In late October 2007, two months before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Obama began directly charging his top rival with failing to clearly state her political positions. [cite news | first=Jay | last=Newton-Small | title=Obama (Sort of) Takes the Gloves Off | date=October 28 2007 | url=http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1677121,00.html | work=Time | accessdate=2007-11-18 See also: cite news | first=Adam | last=Nagourney | coauthors=Jeff Zeleny | title=Obama Rolls Out Aggressive Approach to Clinton's Campaign | date=October 28 2007 | url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/28/america/obama.php | work =International Herald Tribune | accessdate=2007-11-18] This shift in approach attracted much media commentary; "The New York Times"' Adam Nagourney wrote that, "Obama has appeared to struggle from the start of this campaign with how to marry what he has promised to be a new approach to politics — free of the partisan bitterness that has marked presidential campaigns for so long — with what it takes to actually win a presidential race." In an early-anticipated October 30 Democratic debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Clinton suffered a poor debate performance under cross-examination from her Democratic rivals and the moderator. [cite news | url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1007/6634.html | title=Obama, Edwards attack; Clinton bombs debate | author=Roger Simon | publisher=The Politico | date=2007-10-31 | accessdate=2007-11-02] Obama's campaign was reinvigorated and he began to climb again in the polls.

Campaigning in November 2007, Obama told the "Washington Post" that as the Democratic nominee he would draw more support from independent and Republican voters in the general election than Clinton. [cite news | first=Dan | last=Balz | coauthors=Shailagh Murray | title=On Campaign Bus, Obama Opens Up About Challengers | date=November 9 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/08/AR2007110802459.html | work=Washington Post | accessdate=2007-11-18] At Iowa's Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner Obama expanded the theme, saying that his presidency would "bring the country together in a new majority" to seek solutions to long-standing problems. [cite news | title=Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Dinner | date=November 10 2007 | url=http://www.barackobama.com/2007/11/10/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_33.php | work =BarackObama.com | accessdate=2007-11-18 "C-SPAN" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tydfsfSQiYc video] at "YouTube".]

On November 21, Obama announced that Oprah Winfrey would be campaigning for him in the early primary states,cite news | first=Katharine | last=Seelye | title=Oprah May Campaign for Obama | date=2007-11-21 | url =http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/21/oprah-may-campaign-for-obama/ | work =New York Times | accessdate = 2008-03-21] setting off speculation that, although celebrity endorsements typically have little effect on voter opinions, Oprah's participation would supply Obama with a large, receptive audience. [cite web|url=http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071127/NEWS09/711270383/-1/caucus | title=Oprah to aid Obama in D.M., Cedar Rapids | work=Des Moines Register] Then, on December 8, Oprah kicked-off a three-state tour supporting Obama's campaign, [cite web| url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/08/oprah-in-des-moines/?hp |title=Oprah in Des Moines | work=The New York Times | author=Jeff Zeleny | date=December 8 2007 | accessdate=2008-03-23] which drew record-setting crowds in Iowa, New Hampshire, [cite news | url=http://www.boston.com/news/local/politics/primarysource/2007/12/oprahobama_doub.html | title=Oprah-Obama double bill largest political NH rally in recent memory | work=The Boston Globe | author=James Pindell | date=December 9 2007 | accessdate=2008-03-23] and South Carolina. [cite news| url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/12102007/news/nationalnews/oprah_rah_rah_pulls_in_30_000_889319.htm | title=Oprah-rah-rah pulls in 30,000 | work=New York Post | author=Charles Hurt | date=December 10 2007 | accessdate=2008-03-23] The Oprah-Obama tour dominated political news headlines [cite news | url=http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/12/10/507731.aspx | title=First Thoughts: All tied up | publisher=MSNBC | author=Mark Murray | date=December 10 2007 | accessdate=2008-03-23] and cast doubts over Clinton's ability to recover her recently-lost lead in Iowa caucus polls. [cite news |url=http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article3239382.ece |title=The Oprah Winfrey Show (and Obama was there too) | work=The Independent | date=December 10 2007 | accessdate=2008-03-23]

Later in December, there was controversy regarding Obama's admissions of drug use as a teen. Obama first publicly acknowledged the issue in his 1995 book, "Dreams from My Father". In the book, Obama said "Pot had helped, and booze. Maybe a little blow when you could afford it." [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/24/news/dems.php Barack Obama, asked about drug history, admits he inhaled] International Herald Tribune, Oct. 25, 2006] cite book
last = Obama
first = Barack
title = Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
year = 2004
publisher = Three Rivers Press
location =
pages = 480
] The issue was revived on the campaign trail after a November 2007 speech at a New Hampshire high school. Obama told the students, "I've made some bad decisions that I've actually written about," noting that his "drinking and experimenting with drugs" accounted for a lot of "wasted time" in high school.cite web|url=http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2007/11/21/2007-11-21_barack_obama_tells_nh_kids_of_his_alcoho.html|title="Barack Obama tells N.H. kids of his alcohol, drug use during teen years"|publisher=New York Daily News|date=November 21 2007|accessdate=2008-03-23|last=Saul|first=Michael] Some, including Republican candidate Mitt Romney, criticized Obama for discussing these examples with students. Romney said that "in order to leave the best possible example for our kids, we're probably wisest not to talk about our own indiscretions in great detail."cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/27/costello.drug.use/|title="Was Obama's answer about drug use too honest?", CNN, November 27, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-03-23|last=Costello|first=Carol] However, fellow GOP candidate Rudy Giuliani and Partnership for a Drug-Free America president Steve Pasierb praised Obama's candor. "I respect his honesty," Giuliani said. Pasierb told CNN that "really the truth works best" when discussing drug use with kids. [cite web|url=http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2007/12/shaheen_steps_d.html|title="Shaheen steps down from Clinton campaign", "The Boston Globe", December 13, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-03-23|last=Wangsness|first=Lisa] Bill Shaheen, the co-chairman of Clinton's campaign in New Hampshire, mentioned the drug use in a December 12 conference call with reporters.cite web|url=http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/12/12/post_235.html|title="Clinton N.H. Official Warns Obama Will Be Attacked on Drug Use", "The Washington Post", December 12, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-03-23|last=MacGillis|first=Alec] Shaheen said that if Obama were to win the nomination, Republicans would use Obama's admissions against him in a general election. He suggested that in such a scenario, Republicans would ask, "'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" He added that such "Republican dirty tricks" would be difficult to overcome. The comments immediately caused controversy, and Shaheen resigned the next day.cite web|url=http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/12/13/clinton_apologizes_to_obama_fo_1.html?hpid=topnews|title="Clinton N.H. Official Resigns After Comments on Obama", "The Washington Post", December 13, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-03-23|last=MacGillis|first=Alec] Clinton denounced the comments and personally apologized to Obama. Her spokesman said that she "made it clear that this kind of negative personal statement has no part in this campaign." Appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, Axelrod accused the Clinton campaign of giving a "wink and a nod" to negative tactics. He criticized Clinton's December 3 statement [cite web|url=http://thepage.time.com/2007/12/13/another-political-apology/|title=Bill Shaheen resigns from Clinton campaign, "Time", December 13, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-03-23|last=Halperin|first=Mark] in which she signaled a more aggressive approach and called it the "fun part" of the campaign. Axelrod said that the signal should come "from the top" that the campaigns will not be waged "in the gutter". [ [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22259731/ 'Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Dec. 13] , MSNBC, December 13, 2007. Retrieved on 2008-03-23.]

When the close proximity of the first contests to the holidays prompted many candidates to release Christmas videos — allowing them to continue presenting their messages, but in more seasonal settingscite news | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/20/politics/main3636407.shtml | title=Politics, Now Wrapped In Holiday Cheer | author=Brian Montopoli | publisher=CBS News | date=2007-12-21 | accessdate=2007-12-26] — Obama chose one that gave speaking parts to his wife and daughters and emphasized a message of thanks and unity.

"Fired up! Ready to go!"

"Fired up! Ready to go!" became a rallying cry ubiquitous to Obama's campaign. According to "The New York Times", [cite news |first=William |last=Safire
url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/magazine/20wwln-safire-t.html?ref=magazine
title=On Language: Fired Up
publisher=New York Times
date=January 20, 2008
accessdate= 2008-01-31
] the chant originated during a rainy, early morning campaign stop during the summer in Greenwood, South Carolina. Obama was feeling fatigued among a small group of supporters. When out of the blue, as Obama recounts: [cite news |first=Robin |last=Abcarian
url=http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-chantlady13dec13,1,5202957.story?coll=la-headlines-nation
title=Putting words in Obama's mouth
publisher=Los Angeles Times
date=December 13, 2007
accessdate= 2008-01-31
]

This story is frequently recalled during Obama's stump speeches on how "one voice can change a room." The woman in the story, Councilwoman Edith Childs, appeared later with Obama at a rally in South Carolina. She later told reporters that if he were to win the presidency, that she would want one thing: "I want an invitation to an inaugural ball!" [cite news |first=Aswini|last=Anburajan
url=http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2008/01/fired_up_ready.html
title="Fired Up! Ready To Go!" Lady Makes S.C. Appearance For Obama, Wants Ticket To Inaugural
publisher=Hotline
date=January 23, 2008
accessdate= 2008-01-31
]

Caucuses and primaries 2008

Iowa

Obama won the first contest in the Democratic nomination season, the January 3, 2008 Iowa Democratic caucus. Obama had the support of 37.6% of Iowa's delegates, compared to 29.7% for John Edwards and 29.5% for Hillary Clinton.cite web|url=http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/states/IA.html|title=New York Times Iowa caucus results] In his remarks to his followers that evening, he said "But on this January night, at this defining moment in history, you have done what the cynics said we couldn't do." [cite news | url=http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/01/obama_says_time.html | title=Obama says time for change has come | author= Foon Rhee | publisher=The Boston Globe | date=2008-01-03 | accessdate=2008-01-04] He further noted that "our time for change has come" and suggested that in the future Americans will look back on the 2008 Iowa caucuses and say, "this is the moment when it all began." [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/03/AR2008010304441.html Obama Wins Iowa's Democratic Caucuses] Washington Post, Jan. 4, 2008]

New Hampshire

Obama's win in Iowa was seen as a boost to his already-improving chances in New Hampshire. On January 4, he told supporters in New Hampshire, "If you give me the same chance that Iowa gave me last night I truly believe that I will be the president of the United States of America." [Maria Gavrilovic, [http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/01/04/politics/fromtheroad/entry3675630.shtml Obama: "In Four Days..."] CBSNews.com, Jan. 4, 2008] The campaign received another boost when former Senator and 2000 Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley endorsed Obama on January 6. [Philip Elliott, [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWzaWEyH7tnXGl8AepykvJ6OfT8wD8U0GUU80 Bradley Endorses Obama for President] Associated Press, Jan. 6, 2008] At the ABC News/WMUR-TV Democratic debate in Manchester on January 5, Obama, Clinton, and Edwards all battled over who best exemplified the buzzword of the campaign, "change".cite news | url=http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080106/NEWS08/501981878/-1/news08 | title=Change is hot topic at feisty Democratic debate | author=Kevin Landrigan | publisher=The Telegraph | date=2008-01-06 | accessdate=2008-01-06] cite news | url=http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2008/01/edwards-he-obam.html | title=Edwards: He & Obama share a 'conviction alliance' | publisher=USA Today | date=2008-01-06 | author=Mark Memmott, Jill Lawrence | accessdate=2008-01-06] In one key exchange, Clinton said, clearly targeting Obama's rhetorical prowess, "Making change is not about what you believe; it's not about a speech you make. ... We don't need to be raising false hopes." Obama replied that "The truth is, actually, words do inspire. Words do help people get involved." [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/us/politics/06dems.html | title=At Debate, Two Rivals Go After Defiant Clinton | author=Patrick Healy, Jeff Zelaney | publisher=The New York Times | date=2008-01-06 | accessdate=2008-01-07]

Polling showed a tight race in the days leading up to the New Hampshire primary. All of the candidates barnstormed in New Hampshire during the four days after the Iowa caucuses, targeting undecided and independent voters in the state. [Scott Helman and Michael Levenson, [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/01/06/clock_ticking_in_nh_candidates_target_undecided/?page=2 Clock ticking in N.H., candidates target undecided] Boston Globe, Jan. 6, 2008 See also: [http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/new_hampshire/election_2008_new_hampshire_democratic_primary New Hampshire Democratic Primary] , Rasmussen Reports, Jan. 7, 2008 See also: [http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/07/nh.poll/index.html Poll: 9-point lead for Obama on eve of N.H. primary] CNN.com, Jan. 7, 2008 See also: cite news|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-01-06-poll-newhampshire_N.htm|title=Poll: Obama, McCain leap ahead in N.H.|work=USA Today|author=Susan Page|date=January 6, 2008|accessdate=2008-02-15] The day before the election, polls conducted by CNN/WMUR, Rasmussen Reports and USA Today/Gallup showed Obama jumping ahead by 9, 10 and 13 points respectively. Despite the apparent surge of momentum, Clinton defeated Obama by a margin of 39.1 percent to 36.5 percent in the New Hampshire primary on January 8, 2008. [ [http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/states/NH.html New Hampshire’s Primaries] , NYTimes.com] Obama told supporters that he was "still fired up and ready to go", echoing a theme of his campaign.

In what has been deemed the "Yes We Can" speech, Obama acknowledged that he faced a fight for the nomination and that "nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change." [ [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080109/D8U24PH80.html Obama Says He's Still Fired Up and Ready] Associated Press, Jan. 8, 2008] The lyrics to the song in "Yes We Can," an eponymous music video created by celebrity supporters of Obama, was entirely made up of pieces of this particular speech.

Meanwhile, Internet theories sprung up about how the vote counting itself had been suspect, due to discrepancies between machine-counted votes (which supported Clinton overall) and hand-counted votes (which supported Obama overall). [cite web | url=http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/new_hampshire_2008_primary_analysis | title=UPDATED New Hampshire 2008 Primary Analysis | publisher=Election Defense Alliance | date=2008-01-15 | accessdate=2008-01-18] Fifth-place finisher Dennis Kucinich's campaign paid $25,000 to have a recount done of all Democratic ballots cast in the primary, saying "It is imperative that these questions be addressed in the interest of public confidence in the integrity of the election process and the election machinery." On January 16 the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office began the recount. After recounting 23 percent of the state's democratic primary votes, the Secretary of State announced that no significant difference was found in any candidate's total, and that the oft-discussed discrepancy between hand-counted and machine-counted ballots was solely due to demographic factors.

Nevada

The Nevada Caucus took place on January 19. Obama received the endorsement of two very important unions in the state: the Culinary Workers Union (whose 60,000 members staff the casinos and resorts of Las Vegas and elsewhere) and the Nevada chapter of the SEIU. Clinton countered by appealing to the Hispanic vote in the state, emphasizing that they were at special risk from the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis.

Prior to the caucus, comments made by Obama concerning former Republican president Ronald Reagan attracted rebuke from rivals and dissection from all sections of the media. Obama had stated in an interview that; "Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not." [cite news | url = http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23092595-7583,00.html | title = The Gipper lives | first = John | last = O'Sullivan | publisher = The Australian | date = 2008-01-23 | accessdate = 2008-02-09] Hillary Clinton ridiculed the idea that the Republicans were the party of ideas, suggesting Mr. Obama had said that the Republicans had “better” ideas. [cite news | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/us/politics/21web-seelye.html | title = Obama, Reagan and the Internet | publisher = The New York Times | date = 2008-01-21] Senator John Edwards criticized Obama specifically for referring to Ronald Reagan as an agent of change stating in a newspaper interview that; “I would never use Ronald Reagan as an example of change.” [cite news | url = http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/01/17/585313.aspx | title = Edwards criticizes Obama on Reagan | publisher = MSNBC | date= 2008-01-17]

One day after the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Obama, the Nevada State Education Association—a teachers' union that has not officially endorsed Clinton, but many of its top officials have—filed a lawsuit seeking to eliminate at-large caucus sites that had been setup in nine Las Vegas resorts saying they violated equal protection and one-person-one-vote requirements. The suit was viewed as a proxy legal battle between Clinton and Obama, as the caucus sites within the casinos would be primarily used by members of the CWU, who are more likely to vote for Obama. This led Obama to allege that the suit was filed in order to hurt his chances at the caucuses. "Some of the people who set up the rules apparently didn't think we'd be as competitive as we were and trying to change them last minute," he said.

On January 17, a federal judge ruled that the casino at-large caucus plan could go ahead. This was seen as a win for Obama because of the Culinary Workers Union endorsement.cite news | url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/17/casino.caucuses/ | title= Judge allows casino caucuses to proceed | publisher=CNN | date=2008-01-17 | accessdate=2008-01-17] To further complicate matters, the major news and polling organizations decided to not do any polls before the Nevada caucuses, fearing the newness of the caucus, the transient nature of Nevada's population, and more fallout from their bad experience in New Hampshire.

Clinton finished first in the state delegate count on January 19, winning 51% of delegates to the state convention. [cite news |title=Clinton, Romney win in Nevada |url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22739349/ |work=Associated Press |publisher=MSNBC |date=2008-01-19 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] However, Obama was projected to win the Nevada national delegate count with 13 delegates to Clinton's 12, because the apportionment of some delegates are determined by Congressional District. [cite web |url=http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0108/Delegate_wrap_Technicalities_within_technicalities.html |title=Delegate wr
Politico
] Delegates to the national convention were determined officially at the April 19 state convention. At the convention, one of Clinton's pledged delegates defected to Obama, giving Obama 14 delegates to Clinton's 11. [cite news |first=Marie |last=Horrigan |title=Clinton Cashes In Nevada Win With High Roll in Vegas |url=http://cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=5&docID=news-000002657958 |work=CQ Politics |publisher=Congressional Quarterly |date=2008-01-19 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ]

On January 23, the Obama campaign filed an official letter of complaint with the Nevada Democratic Party charging the Clinton campaign with many violations of party rules during the caucuses, based upon 1,600 complaints they had received.cite news | url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-7250890,00.html | author=Jim Kuhnhenn | title=Obama Camp Complains to Nevada Dems | work=The Guardian | publisher=Associated Press | date=2008-01-23 | accessdate=2008-01-23] The Clinton camp said the Obama operation was "grasping at straws" and that they had their own complaints about Obama campaign actions during the caucuses.

outh Carolina

Rasmussen Reports released a poll January 7 showing that Obama led by 12 points, at 42% to Hillary Clinton's 30%. This was a substantial jump from December when the two were tied at 33%, and from November when Clinton led Obama by 10 points. [cite news | url=http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/south_carolina/election_2008_south_carolina_democratic_primary| title=Election 2008: South Carolina Democratic Primary| publisher=Rasmussen Reports | date=2008-01-07 | accessdate=2008-01-07]

Issues of race came to the forefront as campaigning began for the South Carolina primary, the first to feature a large African American portion in the Democratic electorate. First, Bill Clinton referred to Obama's claim that he has been a staunch opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning as a "fairy tale," which some thought was a characterization of Obama's entire campaign.cite news | url= http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/13/clinton.obama/ | title=Clinton: Obama camp is 'distorting' her remarks | author=Josh Levs | publisher=CNN | date=2008-01-13 | accessdate=2008-01-13] The former President called in to Al Sharpton's radio show to personally clarify that he respected and believed in Obama's viability.

Around the same time, Hillary Clinton said regarding Martin Luther King, Jr. in an interview with Fox News, "I would point to the fact that that Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the President before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in people's lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished." [cite web |url=http://embeds.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/01/07/clinton-talks-tears-with-fox-news/ |title=Clinton Talks Tears with Fox News |accessdate=2008-03-28 |last=Bruns |first=Aaron |date=2008-01-07 |work=Embeds blog |publisher=Fox News] Some African-American leaders took this statement as a denigration of the accomplishments of King and the larger American civil rights movement. Hillary Clinton proceeded to blame Obama for the controversy, claiming his campaign had fanned the flames, a charge which Obama dismissed as "ludicrous". By shortly before, and during, a January 15 Democratic debate in Nevada, Clinton and Obama declared a truce on the matter, with both making reconciliatory statements about race, gender, and each other.cite news | url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e706e626-c49e-11dc-a474-0000779fd2ac.html | title='Truce' has little impact on black vote | author=Edward Luce | publisher=Financial Times | date=2008-01-17 | accessdate=2008-01-18] However, Clinton's support among African Americans was thought to be damaged, with SUNY Albany's Debra Dickerson stating "The Clintons have to do something dramatic and symbolic to win back the trust of many African-Americans."

In part the tension resulted from the historical coincidence of the first viable African American presidential candidate, and the first viable woman candidate, running against each other in the same nomination race.cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/weekinreview/13leibovich.html | title=Rights vs. Rights: An Improbable Collision Course | author=Mark Leibovich | publisher=The New York Times | date=2008-01-13 | accessdate=2008-01-13] One South Carolina pastor lamented that he had been waiting all his life for either "first" to happen, and said, "I really hate that they had to run at the same time in the same election. It just makes what should be a wonderful situation very stressful for folk like me. I never imagined you could have too much of a good thing."cite news | url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/91795 | title=Letting Hillary Be Hillary | author=Jon Meacham | publisher=Newsweek | date=2008-01-21 | accessdate=2008-01-13] The American Civil Rights Movement and feminism had a long intertwined history in the United States, often working in concert but sometimes opposed; while the bitter 19th century split between Elizabeth Cady Stanton or Frederick Douglass illustrated the latter, the unified opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas had exemplified the former. After the Clinton-Obama tension on this matter, one Democrat said, "After Iowa, Obama was the post-racial candidate who appealed to all of our better natures. Now he's a black politician and she's a woman. And it is back to politics as usual."

The January 21 CNN/Congressional Black Caucus debate in Myrtle Beach was the most heated face-to-face meeting yet between the candidates, [cite news |first=Mark |last=Preston |coauthors=Robert Yoon |title=Sparks fly in most contentious debate to date |url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/22/sc.debate.anlysis/ |publisher=CNN |date=2008-01-22 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] reflecting apparent personal animosity. Clinton criticized Obama for voting "present" on many occasions while in the Illinois legislature. "It's hard to have a straight up debate with you because you never take responsibility for any vote," she said. Obama explained that Illinois had a different system than Congress and that 'present' votes had a different function and use in the Illinois Senate.cite web |date=January 21 2008 |title=Transcript: The Democratic Debate in South Carolina |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/us/politics/21demdebate-transcript.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print |work=The New York Times |accessdate=2008-03-11
cite web |date=January 21 2008 |title=Present votes are an accepted legislative strategy in the Illinois Senate |url=http://factcheck.barackobama.com/factcheck/2008/01/21/present_votes_are_an_accepted.php |publisher=barackobama.com |accessdate=2008-03-11
cite web |author=Vock, Daniel C |date=January 25 2008 |title='Present' votes defended by Ill. lawmakers |url=http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=274863 |work=Stateline.org |publisher=Pew Research Center |accessdate=2008-03-11] Obama said that he was working to help unemployed workers in Chicago while Clinton was "a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Wal-Mart." [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iySWjciIrjB8hbu450lIABfnYcjwD8UAM6V82 Clinton, Obama Engage in Bitter Debate] Associated Press, Jan. 22, 2008] He also took issue with statements made on the campaign trail by Bill Clinton, saying "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes." The confrontation was the most-watched primary season debate in cable television news history.cite news | url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/01/22/cnncbc-debate-breaks-ratings-record/ | title=CNN/CBC debate breaks ratings record | publisher=CNN.com | date=2008-01-22 | accessdate=2008-01-23]

On January 26, Obama won by a more than two-to-one margin over Clinton, gaining 55% of the vote to her 27% and Edwards' 18%.cite news | url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/26/sc.primary/index.html | title=Obama claims big win in South Carolina | publisher=CNN.com | date=2008-01-26 | accessdate=2008-01-26] In his victory speech that night, he said, "Tonight, the cynics who believed that what began in the snows of Iowa was just an illusion were told a different story by the good people of South Carolina." Addressing the racial dust-up and the other campaign back-and-forths between himself and the Clintons, he said, "The choice in this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It's not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white. It's about the past versus the future."

Florida and Michigan

The Florida and Michigan primaries were held on January 29th and 15th, respectively. However, the states were previously stripped of all its delegates to the national convention for breaking party rules by moving its primary to before February 5. All candidates abided by an agreement not to campaign in Florida, and all major candidates except for Hillary Clinton had removed their names from the Michigan ballot.cite news | url = http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-clinton30jan30,1,5497322.story | title = Clinton 'triumphs' in Florida, sort of | first = Peter | last = Nicholas | publisher = Los Angeles Times | date = 2008-01-30 | accessdate = 2008-02-09] Nonetheless, Clinton celebrated the 'wins' and asserted that they gave her momentum heading to Super Tuesday. The Obama campaign said that Clinton was "basically trying to take a victory lap when there was no race."

On May 31 2008 the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Commission met to resolve questions surrounding the contentious Florida and Michigan primaries. [cite news|url=http://www.itv.com/News/Articles/Obama-in-pole-position-631728669.html|title=Obama in pole position|publisher=ITV|date=2008-06-01|accessdate=2008-06-06] In the case of Florida, it was decided that the delegate distribution would be based on the primary results as they stood and the delegation would be seated in full, but with each delegate receiving half a vote. In the case of Michigan, the delegate distribution was based on an estimate that took into consideration factors such as the actual primary results, exiting polling, and surveys of voter preference among those who did not participate in the Michigan primary. The end result rewarded Senator Clinton with 69 delegates and Senator Obama 59. As with Florida, each delegate would be given a half vote.

uper Tuesday

Following his win in South Carolina, Obama received the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy,cite news |first=Caroline |last=Kennedy |title=A President Like My Father |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/opinion/27kennedy.html?hp |publisher=The New York Times |date=2008-01-27 |accessdate=2008-01-27] as well as Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, the former President's brother.cite news
first=Mike |last=Allen
coauthors=Brown, Carrie Budoff
title=Ted Kennedy embraces Obama
url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/8134.html |accessdate=2008-01-27
work=Politico
date=January 27, 2008
] Ted Kennedy's endorsement was considered "the biggest Democratic endorsement Obama could possibly get short of Bill Clinton or Al Gore".cite news | accessdate=2008-01-27
url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/us/politics/27cnd-campaign.html
title=Kennedy Plans to Back Obama Over Clinton
author=Zeleny, Jeff and Brian Knowlton
work=The New York Times
date=January 27, 2008
] In particular, it gave the possibility of improving Obama's support among unions, Hispanics, and traditional base Democrats, all demographics that Clinton had been stronger in to this point.cite news | accessdate=2008-01-28
url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/28/us/politics/28kennedy.html
title=Kennedy Chooses Obama, Spurning Plea by Clintons
author=Zeleny, Jeff and Carl Hulse
work=The New York Times
date=January 28, 2008
] Obama won 13 of 22 states on Super Tuesday (February 5, 2008): Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah. His campaign claimed to have won more delegates.cite news | accessdate=2008-02-06
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7231731.stm
title=Tied US rivals fight for momentum
work=BBC News
date=February 6, 2008
See also:cite news | accessdate=2008-02-07
url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/CPGV Obama
title=Wins Super Tuesday: Wins Most States, Wins Most Delegates
publisher=BarackObama.com
date=February 6, 2008
]

More February contests

On February 9, Obama won the Louisiana primary, [cite web
url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/CyPx
title=Obama Wins Louisiana!
author=Graham-Felsen, Sam
date=February 9, 2008
] as well as caucuses in Nebraska [cite web
url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/CyyJ
title=Obama Wins Nebraska!
author=Graham-Felsen, Sam
date=February 9, 2008
] and Washington State. [cite web|accessdate=
url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/Cyyf
title=Obama Wins Washington!
author=Graham-Felsen, Sam
date=February 9, 2008
] He garnered 57% of the available delegates in Louisiana, and 68% in both Nebraska and Washington. [cite news|accessdate=
url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/dates/index.html#20080209
title=February 9 - Multi State Events
publisher=CNN.com
] On the same day, he won caucuses in Virgin Islands with 92% of the popular vote. [cite web|accessdate=
url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/CmMg
title=Obama Wins the Virgin Islands!
date=February 9, 2008
author=Graham-Felsen, Sam
] The next day, Obama took the Maine caucuses amid what one senior Maine Democratic official called an "incredible" turnout. [cite news
url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23098411/
accessdate=2008-02-14
title=Obama easily wins Maine caucuses
publisher=MSNBC.com
date=February 10, 2008
] cite news|accessdate=
url=http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/10/obama_wins_maine_caucuses.php
title=Obama wins Maine caucuses
publisher=Associated Press
date=February 10, 2008
author=Adams, Glann
]

The "Potomac primary" took place on February 12. It included the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. There were 168 delegates up for grabs in the three primaries. [cite news|accessdate=
url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18911984
title=Obama, McCain Sweep 'Potomac Primaries'
author=Cook, Nancy
date=February 12, 2008
publisher=NPR.org
] Obama won all three, taking 75% of the popular vote in the District of Columbia, 60% in Maryland and 64% in Virginia. "Today, the change we seek swept through Chesapeake and over the Potomac," Obama said at a rally in Madison. [cite news|accessdate=
url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/dates/#20080212
title=Multi-State Event: February 12
publisher=CNN.com
See also: cite news|accessdate=
url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-elect_webfeb13,0,4777121.story
title=Obama, McCain roll in 'Potomac primary'
author=Silva, Mike
work=Chicago Tribune
date=February 12, 2008
]

On February 18, Michelle Obama attracted criticism when during a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin she said, "Let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change". Barack's response to the criticism was, "Statements like this are made and people try to take it out of context and make a great big deal out of it, and that isn't at all what she meant. What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America," he said. "Because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she's not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she's encouraged." [cite news|accessdate=
url=http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080220/D8UTP1H80.html
title=Obama Defends Wife on Matter of Pride
date=February 19, 2008
author=Associated Press
]

Two more primaries followed on February 19: Wisconsin and Hawaii. Obama won both decisively, taking 58% of the vote in Wisconsin and 14 of the 20 available national delegates in Hawaii. [cite news |title=Wisconsin — State Results |url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21229240 |publisher=MSNBC |date= |accessdate=2008-03-28 See also: [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Barack_Obama_presidential_campaign%2C_2008&action=edit&section=15 Obama Wins Hawaii Caucuses After Wisconsin Victory] Bloomberg.com, Feb. 20, 2008 See also: [http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/dates/#20080219 Primary Results: February 19] CNN.com] On February 21, Obama was announced as the winner of the week-long Democrats Abroad contest. [cite news | title=Obama wins Democrats Abroad contest | date=February 21 2008 | publisher=CNN | url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/21/obama-wins-democrats-abroad-contest | work= | accessdate=2008-02-21] The Democratic presidential candidate defended himself and his wife February 24 against suggestions that they are insufficiently patriotic. [cite news | title=Obama fights back on questions about his patriotism | date=February 24 2008 | publisher=CNN | url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/24/obama.patriotism/index.html | work= | accessdate=2008-02-25] Barack Obama’s campaign accused Hillary Clinton’s team February 25 of circulating a photo of the Illinois senator donning traditional attire – clothing worn by area Muslims – as a goodwill gesture during an overseas trip. [cite news | title=Obama camp slams Clinton team on controversial photo | date=February 25 2008 | publisher=CNN | url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/25/obama-camp-slams-clinton-team-on-controversial-photo/| work= | accessdate=2008-02-25] Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton argued with each other over negative campaigning, health care and free trade February 26. [cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/26/dems.debate/index.html|title=Clinton, Obama clash over campaign tactics in debate] Obama and John McCain engaged in a pointed exchange over Al-Qaeda in Iraq on February 27.cite news | url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/27/mccain.obama.iraq/index.html | title=McCain, Obama in heated exchange over Iraq | publisher=CNN | date=2008-02-27 | accessdate=2008-02-28]

March primaries

Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in a statistical dead heat in Texas, according to a poll released February 25 2008.cite news | http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/25/texas.poll/index.html | title=Poll: It's all tied up for Dems in Texas | publisher=CNN | date=2008-02-25 | accessdate=2008-02-25] During Obama's sweep of February's post-Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses, the March 4 primaries of Texas and Ohio became seen as a firewall for the Clinton campaign.cite news | url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g4k3Na1HrTddLiZu6GBem-EGJeLwD8V0055G0 | title=Ohio, Texas Uphill Climbs for Clinton | author=Calvin Woodward | publisher=Associated Press | date=2008-02-23 | accessdate=2008-02-24] In early polls for these states, Clinton held double digit leads in polls for those states, but by the end of February Obama had started to erode Clinton's lead in her key demographics and her lead had been reduced to single digits in some polls. In response to Obama's increases, Clinton's campaign began to increase their attacks on him, including an accusation of plagiarism due to similarities in Obama's campaign speeches and campaign speeches of Obama's campaign's national co-chair and Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick, although Patrick specifically stated he told Obama to use it. During the February 21, CNN-Univision debate in Austin, Texas Obama responded to the accusation by saying, "The notion that I had plagiarized from somebody who's one of my national co-chairs, who gave me the line and suggested that I use it, I think is silly." Clinton received a round of boos from the crowd when she responded, "Lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in; it's change you can Xerox". [cite news | url=http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-debate22feb22,1,4840714.story |title=Clinton, Obama debate leadership | author=Cathleen Decker | coauthors=Maria L. La Ganga | work=Los Angeles Times| date=2008-02-22 | accessdate=2008-02-24] On February 25, 2008, during the hotly contested primaries in Texas and Ohio, Obama appeared at rallies in both Cincinnati and - for the first time in his career - in Dayton, Ohio. The noontime audience at the Fifth Third Arena at the University of Cincinnati was estimated at 13,000. That evening, in Fairborn, just outside of Dayton, Obama spoke before a capacity audience estimated at over 11,000 at the Nutter Center, at Wright State University. Speaking for just under an hour, Obama charged the audience with an equal responsibility in "making things happen." According to the "Dayton Daily News", "Sen. Barack Obama packed the Nutter Center like a rock star...painting himself as a man who will cut through petty partisanship and bring real change to Washington.". ["Obama draws crowd of 11,000 at Nutter Center rally," by Lynn Hulsey and Laura A. Bischoff, staff writers, "The Dayton Daily News," February 25, 2008.]

In Ohio, as part of the campaign's self proclaimed goal to knock on a million doors the weekend immediately before the primary, Governor Deval Patrick (D-Massachusetts) [cite web | url=http://www.vindy.com/news/2008/mar/02/mass-governor-speaks-at-event/ | title=Mass. speaks at Obama event| publisher=Youngstown Vindacator | date=2008-03-01 | accessdate=2008-03-03] and Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kansas) spoke to Obama volunteers at volunteer rallies across the state on March 1 and 2, 2008. [cite web |url=http://www.cleveland.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/politics-2/1204548577183470.xml&storylist=cleveland| title=Clinton in Toledo, Kansas governor to campaign for Obama| publisher=Cleveland Plain Dealer | date=2008-01-03 | accessdate=2008-03-03] Obama, who had won the eleven contests in February following Super Tuesday, claimed victory in the Vermont primary and the Texas Democratic caucuses, on March 4, 2008 but lost the primaries in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. [cite news | url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/04/march.4.contests/index.html | title=Clinton wins key primaries, CNN projects; McCain clinches nod| publisher=Cleveland CNN | date=2008-03-04 | accessdate=2008-03-04 See also: cite news | url=http://www.forbes.com/business/2008/03/05/clinton-delegate-ohio-cx_0306oxford.html | title=Hillary Blunts Obama's Lead. Now What? | publisher=Forbes | date=2008-03-06 | accessdate=2008-03-06] On March 8, 2008, Barack Obama won the Wyoming caucus by nineteen points.cite news
url =http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23523885/
title = Wyoming - state results
work = MSNBC.com
accessdate = 2008-03-08
] The Clinton camp continued to suggest that Obama would make a good Vice Presidential candidate for Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton made known his support of this as a "dream ticket" which would be an "almost unstoppable force". [cite news
url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/03/bill-clinton-ca.html
title= Bill Clinton Calls A Hillary/Obama Ticket An 'Almost Unstoppable Force'
publisher=ABCNews.com
date=2008-03-08
accessdate=2008-03-08
] On March 10, he flatly rejected such suggestions. [cite web
url =http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/10/dems.campaign/index.html
title = Obama rejects being Clinton's No. 2
publishser = CNN.com accessdate = 2008-03-10
See also: cite news
url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/03/obama-you-wont.html
title= Obama:"You won't See Me as VP
publisher=ABCNews.com
date=2008-03-07
accessdate=2008-03-10
] Obama noted that he, not Senator Clinton, held the lead in pledged delegates and that he had won more of the popular vote than Clinton. "I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to somebody who is in first place," he said. [ [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aGAN6X7YzdXc&refer=home Obama Rejects Clinton Suggestion of Vice Presidency] Bloomberg.com, March 10, 2008] He told supporters in Columbus, MS that Clinton's VP suggestion was an example of what he called "the old okey-doke", further stating that the Clinton camp was trying to "bamboozle" or "hoodwink" voters. [cite news | url=http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/03/obama_clinton_t.html | title= Obama: Clinton trying to 'hoodwink' voters with VP talk | work=Boston Globe | date=2008-03-10 | accessdate=2008-03-10 See also: [http://www.sunherald.com/306/story/423341.html Obama: VP spot is not for me] Biloxi Sun Herald March 10, 2008] Obama wondered aloud why the Clinton campaign believed him competent for the Vice Presidency, but said he was "not ready" to be President. [cite news | url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jQLfFGt4BeOSjlAhGny8qaGNU3RgD8VAR0MG0 | title= Obama Ridicules Notion of VP Slot | publisher=AP | date=2008-03-10 | accessdate=2008-03-10 See also: cite news | url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/11/does-clinton-benefit-from-so-called-dream-ticket-talk/ | title= Does Clinton benefit from so-called 'dream ticket' talk? | publisher=CNN | date=2008-03-10 | accessdate=2008-03-11]

On March 11, 2008, Obama won the Mississippi primary. [cite web
url=http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/03/09/mississippi-emerging-as-obama-territory-ahead-of-tuesday-primary/ |title = Mississippi Emerging as Obama Territory As Democrats Debate ‘Dream Ticket’ Line-Up
publisher = FoxNews.com
accessdate=2008-03-09
See also: [http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/11/miss.primary/index.html Obama wins in Mississippi, CNN projects] CNN.com, March 11, 2008
] There, Obama won approximately 90% of the black vote, compared to Clinton's 70% majority of white voters. [cite news |first=Paul |last=Steinhauser |coauthors=Robert Yoon, Alexander Mooney and Eric Marrapodi |title=Obama wins Mississippi primary; Texas caucus win estimated |url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/11/miss.primary/index.html |work= |publisher=CNN |date= |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] On March 11 2008, David Axelrod demanded that Sen. Clinton sever ties with Geraldine Ferraro, a top Clinton fundraiser and 1984 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, who said publicly that Obama was a major presidential contender only because he is a black man. [cite web | url =http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/11/ferraro.comments/index.html | title = Ferraro's comment about Obama's race draws fire | work = cnn.com | accessdate = 2008-03-11] Sen. Barack Obama widened his lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in the overall delegate count when he was declared the winner of the March 4 Texas caucuses on March 12 2008. [cite web | url =http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/12/dems.delegates/index.html | title = Obama increases lead in delegate count | work = cnn.com | accessdate = 2008-03-12] Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would both statistically tie Republican John McCain in a general election matchup, according to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released March 18 2008. [cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/18/candidate.poll/index.html|title=Primary Poll: McCain, Obama, Clinton in dead heat in election matchup] The National Archives on March 19 2008 released more than 11,000 pages of Sen. Hillary Clinton's schedule when she was first lady. Sen. Barack Obama's campaign had pushed for the documents' release, arguing that their review is necessary to make a full evaluation of Clinton's experience as first lady. [cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/19/clinton.documents/index.html|title=Archives releases Hillary Clinton's White House schedule] Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama released their tax returns from 2000 to 2006 on his campaign Web site March 26 2008, and he challenged Sen. Hillary Clinton to release hers. [ cite web | url = http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/25/obama.tax.returns/index.html | title = Obama releases tax returns, challenges Clinton to follow suit | work = CNN | accessdate = 2008-03-24]

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a former 2008 Democratic candidate, endorsed Obama on March 21. Prominent Hillary Clinton advisor James Carville pointed out that the endorsement came during the week before Easter and likened Richardson's endorsement to Judas Iscariot's biblical betrayal of Jesus Christ. Richardson had served as former President Bill Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations and Secretary of Energy. Amid controversy, [cite web | url=http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/campaign-2008/2008/03/24/richardson-endorsement-sparks-more-negative-campaigning-in-clinton-obama-race.html | title = Richardson Endorsement Sparks More Negative Campaigning in Clinton-Obama Race | work=US News and World Report | accessdate=2008-03-24] a Clinton spokesman said that he would apologize had he made the comment but Carville declined to do so, further calling Richardson's decision an "egregious act". Richardson responded by refusing to "get in the gutter" with Carville, and said that certain people around Clinton feel a "sense of entitlement to the presidency". [ cite web | url = http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j3UeSRDhvPt_zjGloBBlylTdMygQD8VK30N80 | title = No Carville apology for Judas remark | work = Associated Press | accessdate = 2008-03-24]

On March 20, 2008, Obama gave a preview of his strategy in a potential general election campaign against Republican John McCain. Obama blasted McCain for backing tax cuts for the wealthy without corresponding spending cuts, and for his support of the Iraq war, which Obama blamed for high gasoline prices. "John McCain seems determined to carry out a third Bush term," Obama said. He added that McCain once opposed what Obama called the "irresponsible" Bush tax cuts, but now wants to make them permanent. He also asserted that McCain wants a "permanent occupation in Iraq". [ [http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/03/20/789664.aspx Obama: McCain represents a third Bush term] MSNBC.com, March 20, 2008]

International leaks and passport issues

In February 2008, Ian Brodie (Chief of Staff in Stephen Harper's Prime Minister's Office) became the center of a political controversy when it was alleged in the Canadian press that he leaked a memo [cite web
url=http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/Canwest%20News_1.pdf
title=Leaked Memo
publisher=ABC News
accessdate=2008-02-08
last=Goolsbee
first=Austan
] tied to the American Democratic political primary. According to the memo, Barack Obama's economic advisor Austan Goolsbee had met with Canadian consular officials in Chicago and told them to disregard Obama's campaign rhetoric regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a charge the Obama campaign later denied. In Canada, the leak was seen as an attempt by Conservative Prime Minister Harper's office to harm Obama's political campaign and help Republican candidate John McCain.

Brodie, during the media lockup for the February 26, 2008 budget, stopped to chat with several journalists, and was surrounded by a group from CTV. The conversation turned to the pledges to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement made by the two Democratic contenders, Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton. Brodie, apparently seeking to play down the potential impact on Canada, told the reporters the threat was not serious, and that someone from Clinton's campaign had even contacted Canadian diplomats to tell them not to worry because the NAFTA threats were mostly political posturing. The Canadian Press news agency quoted that source as saying that Brodie said that someone from Clinton's campaign called and was "telling the embassy to take it with a grain of salt."cite web
url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080305.wnafta06/BNStory/National/home
title=PM's top aide set off storm with Obama NAFTA leak
publisher=The Globe and Mail
accessdate=2008-03-06
last=Clark
first=Campbell
] The Clinton campaign denies it. "We flatly deny the report," says Clinton spokesperson Phil Singer. "We did not sanction nor would we ever sanction anyone to say any such a thing. We give the Canadian government blanket immunity to reveal the name of anyone in the Clinton campaign think they heard from." [cite web
url=http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/03/nafta-confusion.html
title=NAFTA Confusion
publisher=ABC News
accessdate=2008-03-06
last=Tapper
first=Jake
See also:cite web
url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/07/politics/main3917405.shtml
title=Clinton Team Also Talked To Canada
publisher=CBS News
accessdate=2008-03-07
last=
first=
]

The story was followed by CTV's Washington bureau chief, Tom Clark, who reported that the Obama campaign, not the Clinton's, had reassured Canadian diplomats. Clark cited unnamed Canadian sources in his initial report. Media later reported the source as Canadian Ambassador Michael Wilson. There was no explanation last night for why Brodie was said to have referred to the Clinton campaign but the news report was about the Obama campaign. Robert Hurst, president of CTV News, declined to comment.

The Prime Minister's communications director, Sandra Buckler, has said that Brodie "does not recall" discussing the issue. On March 4, 2008 Harper initially denied that Brodie was a source of the leak — but he appeared to be referring to a diplomatic memo that described the key conversation between an adviser to Obama and Canada's consul-general in Chicago, Georges Rioux. Harper did not appear to be distinguishing between the two leaks later in the day. Harper asked the top civil servant, Clerk of the Privy Council Kevin Lynch, to call in an internal security team, with the help of Foreign Affairs. Members of the opposition asserted that an internal inquiry is unlikely to look seriously at Harper's own high-level political aides and appointees, such as Brodie, or Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to Washington.

On March 10, 2008 Canadian MP Navdeep Bains called on Canadian Ambassador to the United States Michael Wilson to step down as Canada's ambassador to Washington while the leaks that damaged Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign are investigated. Wilson has publicly acknowledged that he spoke to CTV reporter Tom Clark who first reported the leaks before the story aired, but refused to discuss what was said. It now appears that Wilson, who was finance minister under former Canadian Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney, took part in political leaks that damaged a Democratic presidential contender. [cite web
url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080312.NAFTA12/TPStory/TPNational/Politics/
title=Envoy faces calls to resign in NAFTA leak probe
publisher=The Globe and Mail
accessdate=2008-03-12
last=Clark
first=Campbell
See also:cite web
url=http://www.thestar.com/World/Columnist/article/332041#
title=Envoy's role in leak questioned
publisher=Toronto Star
accessdate=2008-03-12
last=Harper
first=Tim
See also:cite web
url=http://www.liberal.ca/story_13716_e.aspx
title=Ambassador Wilson and Ian Brodie Must Step Aside
publisher=www.liberal.ca
accessdate=2008-03-12
last=
first=
]

There have been three separate incidents involving Barack Obama's State Department passport file since 2008 began; while the instances of unauthorized access have occurred over a three-month span, Obama was notified only on March 20, as upper levels of the State Department themselves, first became aware of the breaches. [ cite web | url = http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/20/obama.passport/index.html | title = Three wrongly viewed Obama's passport file | work = CNN.com | accessdate = 2008-03-20] On March 21 2008, the United States Department of State revealed that Obama's passport file was improperly accessed three times in 2008. Three contract employees are accused in the wrongdoing. One, who works for The Analysis Corporation (TAC), accessed Obama and McCain's records, and was disciplined. The two other workers, who worked for Stanley Inc., each accessed Obama's file on separate occasions and were fired. An unauthorized access of Hillary Clinton's file was also made in mid-2007, but was considered a training error and unrelated to the other instances. [cite web | url = http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/21/obama.passport/index.html | title = Obama urges inquiry into passport snooping | work = CNN.com | accessdate = 2008-03-23] John O. Brennan, president and CEO of Analysis, is a consultant to the Barack Obama campaign and contributed $2,300 to the Obama campaign in January 2008. Brennan is a former senior CIA official and former interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center.cite web | url = http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/22/passport.files/index.html | title = Chief of firm involved in breach is Obama adviser | work = CNN.com | accessdate = 2008-03-23] The chairman of Stanley Inc., Philip Nolan, is a Clinton supporter and contributor; [ cite web | url =http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2008/03/details-added-t.html | title = Details added to story of breached passports | work = USA Today | accessdate = 2008-03-23] his company has had contracts with the United States Department of State since 1992 and was recently awarded a $570 million contract to continue providing support for passport processing. The State Department is focusing an internal inquiry on the TAC employee, but plans to question all three of the contractors who accessed the candidates' files. [cite news |first=Bill |last=Gertz |authorlink=Bill Gertz |coauthors=Jon Ward |title=Passports probe focuses on worker |url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080322/NATION/243762495/1002 |work=The Washington Times|date=2008-03-22 |accessdate=2008-03-24 ]

Pennsylvania

After Obama's win in Mississippi on March 11, 2008, the campaign turned its attention to Pennsylvania. Mid March polls by Rasmussen Reports, [cite web|url=http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/pennsylvania/pennsylvania_democratic_presidential_primary|title=Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential Primary] Franklin & Marshall College, [cite web|url=http://edisk.fandm.edu/FLI/keystone/pdf/keymar08_1.pdf|title=Survey of Pennsylvanians - Summary of Findings|format=PDF] Quinnipiac University [cite web|url=http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1327.xml?ReleaseID=1158|title=Clinton Widens Lead Over Obama In Pennsylvania, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Momentum Shifts To Her, But Racial Split Grows] and Public Policy Polling [cite web|url=http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Penn_Release_031708.pdf|title=Clinton has large lead in Pennsylvania|format=PDF] had Obama trailing Senator Clinton in Pennsylvania by 12 to 16 points.

Speaking about small-town Pennsylvania at a private April 6 fundraising event in Kentfield, CA, a small suburb of San Francisco located in neighboring Marin County, his remarks would be widely criticized after they were reported:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. [Bacon, Perry and Murray, Shailagh. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/12/ST2008041200232.html "Opponents Paint Obama as an Elitist"] , "Washington Post" (2008-04-12). See also: cite web | url = http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mayhill-fowler/obama-no-surprise-that-ha_b_96188.html | title = Obama: No Surprise That Hard-Pressed Pennsylvanians Turn Bitter | work = Huffington Post | accessdate = 2008-04-10]

Hillary Clinton described the remarks as "elitist, out of touch and frankly patronizing"."Only in America" Newsweek May 5, 2008] Noting he had not chosen his words well, Obama subsequently explained his remarks, "Lately there has been a little typical sort of political flare-up, because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois, who are bitter." [Finnegan, Michael. [http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-obama13apr13,1,6505389.story “Obama expresses regret for remarks on small towns”] , "Los Angeles Times" (2008-04-13).] Obama had addressed similar themes in a 2004 interview with Charlie Rose [ [http://youtube.com/watch?v=a88wMPAWc90 short clip of Interview with] Charlie Rose See also: cite web|url=http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2004/11/23/1/an-hour-with-illinois-senator-barack-obama|title=Full interview with Charlie Rose] , and his strategists countered that Bill Clinton had made similar comments in 1991. [ [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/13/bill-clinton-flashback-al_n_96433.html Bill Clinton Flashback: "All These Economically Insecure White People...Are Scared To Death"] Huffington Post]

Just hours prior Obama's remarks in San Francisco, he spoke in Silicon Valley at another private event, and expressed a much more nuanced understanding of the second amendment and rural America. He stated,

We need sensible gun laws. I just got back from Montana where just about everyone has guns. In that culture, fathers and sons bond over hunting. You can't take that away from rural America. But the inner city is different, and we should tighten the laws on gun purchases and close the loopholes in gun show sales to unscrupulous buyers. The gun control people and the right to bear arms people are talking past each other about disconnected topics.

That Obama's comments in San Francisco made wide media play but not the ones he spoke in Silicon Valley became a source of speculation about the media and its political coverage. [Sam Stein, "Before Bitter-Gate: What Obama Said Hours Earlier About Guns", "The Huffington Post", 13 May 2008, [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/13/before-bitter-gate-what-o_n_101493.html Available online.] [http://www.webcitation.org/5XnK4p2vH Archived.] ]

On April 18, Obama spoke in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a crowd of 35,000, at that point the largest audience yet drawn during his campaign. [cite web|url=http://www.phillyimc.org/en/node/66547|title=Presidential Candidate Barack Obama Rally|date=2008-04-18|publisher=Philadelphia Independent Media Center|language=English|accessdate=2008-04-20] [cite web|url=http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/04/19/921128.aspx|title=Obama's Closing Argument? |last=Anburajan|first=Aswini |date=2008-04-18|publisher=msnbc.com|accessdate=2008-04-20] The next day, Obama conducted a whistle stop train tour from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. [cite news|url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jZv3Vf5-g07pAPJJrvLTZc3XDuyQD90577Q00|title=Obama takes whistle-stop tour through Pennsylvania|last=Sidoti|first=Liz|date=2008-04-19|publisher=Associated Press|accessdate=2008-04-20]

The last big event in the final week of the campaign was the April 16 debate on ABC-TV. Many pundits gave the edge to Hillary Clinton, though many were critical of moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. [cite web|url=http://www.npr.org/watchingwashington/2008/04/the_proper_pennsylvania_lesson.html| title=NPR: The Proper Pennsylvania Lesson for Obama|author=Ron Elving|work=Watching Washington|publisher=NPR|date=2008-04-23|accessdate=2008-06-06] A two-month-old controversy gained more exposure when Stephanopoulos questioned Obama during the debate about Obama's contacts with Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers. [cite news|url=http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/04/17/fact_check_obama_clinton_and_the_weather_underground/|publisher=Associated Press|title=Fact check: Obama, Clinton and the Weather Underground|date=April 17, 2008]

Polls during the debate week showed the momentum that had cut Clinton's lead by half had stalled. Despite being outspent by three to one, [ [http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/23/us.primary.intl/index.html?eref=edition April 23, 2008 Clinton 'excited' by Pennsylvania win] ] Clinton would win the April 22 primary election with 54.6% of the vote, a solid nine point margin over Obama's 45.4%. [ [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/22/pennsylvania-primary-resu_n_98098.html Pennsylvania Primary Results: Latest News, Video - Politics on The Huffington Post ] ] [cite news|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24251043/|title=Clinton wins in Pennsylvania|author=Alex Johnson|date=2008-04-23|accessdate=2008-04-23|publisher=MSNBC.com] [cite news|url=http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/the_real_american_idol/article1081965.ece|title=Hillary: I'm still Clin it to win it|author=Graeme Wilson and Emily Smith|date=2008-04-24|accessdate=2008-04-26|publisher=The Sun] Although Clinton remained behind in delegates, the press soon ran cover stories about Obama's apparent trouble connecting with less educated whites and Catholics. [ [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=4712936&page=1 Why Can't Barack Obama Close the Deal?] ]

Indiana and North Carolina

After Clinton's victory in Pennsylvania, the campaigns focused on the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. 115 delegates were at stake in North Carolina, [http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/23/clinton-takes-fight-to-indiana-looks-to-build-off-pennsylvania-win/ Clinton Takes Fight to Indiana, Looks to Build Off Pennsylvania Win] , FoxNews.com, April 23, 2008] and 72 in Indiana.Mike Baker, [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jTeJFS8UB3vw_ruLqdAWZBL3KNbgD908CA100 North Carolina excited to choose between Clinton and Obama] Associated Press, April 23, 2008] Polling suggested a close race in Indiana, while Obama enjoyed the advantage in North Carolina thanks in part to the state's large African-American population – a demographic from which Obama was receiving strong support throughout the primary season. Indiana's demographic makeup appeared to favor Clinton, as the state was predominantly white, rural and culturally conservative. Clinton won states like Ohio and Pennsylvania largely because of just such a voter base. However, there were positive signs for Obama as well.

Obama got a boost in Indiana when the former head of the state's Democratic party, Joe Andrew, endorsed him. Andrew, a superdelegate, also previously served as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1999–2001, a position he was appointed to by former President Bill Clinton. Andrew had come out behind Hillary Clinton's candidacy when she announced in 2007, and he explained that his defection to Obama was an attempt to end the protracted primary fight. He said that the Democrats were helping presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, and "doing his [McCain's] work for him". [ [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080501/D90CQURG0.html DNC chairman under Bill Clinton: Unite behind Obama] Associated Press, May 1, 2008]

Obama won in North Carolina, capturing 56% of the vote, while Hillary Clinton finished with 42%, according to CNN.cite news|accessdate=2008-05-07
url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/state/#NC
title=Election Central: Primary Results for North Carolina
publisher=CNN.com
] The Indiana race was much closer than expected, with Clinton, winning a 51% to 49% victory.cite news|accessdate=2008-05-07
url= http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/06/primaries.change/index.html
title= Clinton narrowly takes Indiana, CNN projects
publisher=CNN.com
date=2008-05-07
] cite news|accessdate=2008-05-07
url=http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/state/#IN
title=Election Central: Primary Results for Indiana
publisher=CNN.com
] These races were seen as Clinton's last chance to make a comeback in the nomination fight. [cite news | url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/07/political.analysis/index.html | title= Analysis: As Obama nears finish line, can Clinton rebound in time? | author=Alan Silverleib, Mark Preston | publisher=CNN | date=2008-05-07 | accessdate=2008-05-07] As the results came in, ABC political analyst and former top Bill Clinton aide George Stephanopolous declared the Democratic race "over", and NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert said, "We now know who the Democratic nominee will be." [cite news|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/1936435/Hillary-Clinton-refuses-to-quit,-but-battle-'is-over'.html| title=Hillary Clinton refuses to quit, but battle is 'over'|author=Toby Harnden|publisher=Daily Telegraph|date=2008-05-07|accessdate=2008-06-06] The day after these primaries, it appeared that superdelegates and party leaders were beginning to coalesce around Obama. He added four superdelegate endorsements to Clinton's one, and former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern switched his support from Clinton to Obama. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/07/democrats.race/ Clinton fights on as focus turns to superdelegates] CNN.com, May 7, 2008]

West Virginia

In the days leading up to the May 13 West Virginia primary, Obama took the lead in committed superdelegates. He picked up seven endorsements from superdelegates the week after the May 6 primaries. [http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=4818637&page=1 Obama Takes Lead in Superdelegate Tally] ABCNews.com, May 9, 2008] Clinton won West Virginia by a 41-percentage-point margin,cite news | url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/14/clinton/index.html?iref=mpstoryview | title= Clinton: It'd be 'terrible mistake' to pick McCain over Obama | publisher=CNN | date=2008-05-14 | accessdate=2008-05-15] and told supporters that she was "more determined than ever to carry on in this campaign". [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/13/wv.primary/index.html After big win, Clinton vows to push forward] CNN.com, May 13, 2008]

Kentucky and Oregon

Obama continued to add to his superdelegate lead in the week before the May 20 Kentucky and Oregon primaries, and former Democratic candidate John Edwards endorsed him on May 14. [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iJhSowPhssEAjdaqWDYv-cK6erJgD90M9VT80 Edwards endorsement pays off for Obama] Associated Press, May 15, 2008] [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/15/us/politics/15obama.html?_r=1&ref=politics&oref=slogin Ex-Rival Edwards Throws His Support Behind Obama] NY Times, May 15, 2008] As Obama's chance at becoming the nominee increased, he decided to focus much of his attention on general election battleground states. He planned to watch the Kentucky and Oregon results in Iowa, and scheduled an appearance in Florida for later that week. [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hb3TcNcec9cxJZ_6wiz4fOfBp1yQD90NH12O0 Obama seeks focus on end of primary campaign] Associated Press, May 17, 2008]

While campaigning in Oregon, Obama drew a crowd of 75,000, his largest crowd of the campaign season. [ [http://www.koin.com/content/mediacenter/default.aspx?videoid=7537@koin.dayport.com Video from KOIN News] ] [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/05/18/politics/fromtheroad/entry4105449.shtml Obama Takes His Message To Record Crowd] , CBS News]

Obama won Oregon, 59% to Clinton's 41%, but lost Kentucky by a margin of 35%. Delegates accrued in these two contests gave him an absolute majority among pledged delegates.

Montana and South Dakota - wrapping up the nomination

After a Clinton victory on June 1 in the Puerto Rico primary, [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i23h4XqvR0Ph96aWYyZ4PgI54YCwD911P1IO0 Clinton wins Puerto Rico but Obama gains delegates] Associated Press, June 2, 2008] only one more day of primaries remained. June 3 saw the final votes of the primary season in Montana, which Obama won by 58-40 percent, and South Dakota, which Clinton won by 55-45 percent. Throughout the course of the day, a flood of superdelegates endorsed Obama, putting him over the top in terms of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i23h4XqvR0Ph96aWYyZ4PgI54YCwD912RMEO0 Obama clinches nomination, plans celebration] Associated Press, June 3, 2008]

On June 7, Clinton formally ended her candidacy and endorsed Obama, making him the party's presumptive nominee.

Potential role of superdelegates

Following the February 12 primary, the potential role of superdelegates in deciding the Democratic nomination was heavily discussed. In particular, the possibility of one candidate gaining more pledged delegates from primary and caucus wins, but losing the nomination to the other due to the decisions of superdelegates, made some Democratic leaders uncomfortable. The Clinton camp, behind in pledged delegates, advocated that superdelegates exercise their own judgment in deciding which candidate to back, while the Obama camp, ahead in pledged delegates, advocated that superdelegates follow the will of the voters and back whichever candidate had the most pledged delegates.cite news | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/16/AR2008021602657.html?hpid=topnews | title=Clinton, Obama Dispute Roles of Superdelegates | author=Peter Slevin, Jose Antonio Vargas | publisher="The Washington Post" | date=2008-02-17 | accessdate=2008-02-17] Some party leaders, such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, argued for the latter interpretation,cite news | url=http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/politics/blog/2008/02/hillary_clinton_campaign_defen.html | title=Hillary Clinton camp defends superdelegate clout | author=Rick Pearson | publisher="The Baltimore Sun" | date=2008-02-16 | accessdate=2008-02-17] while others such as Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean argued for the former. [cite news | url=http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/02/howard_dean_speaks_out_about_r.php | title=Howard Dean On Super-Delegates: "Their role is to exercise their best judgment" | author=Greg Sargent | publisher=TPM Election Central | date=2008-02-16 | accessdate=2008-02-17] Dean also said party leaders would not force a deal, but "let the voters vote." [cite news |first=Jake |last=Tapper |authorlink=Jake Tapper |title=Howard Dean: Voters, Not Superdelegates, Will Decide |url=http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=4396023&page=1 |work=ABC News |date=2008-03-06 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ]

African American superdelegates previously pledged to Clinton, found themselves under pressure to switch to supporting Obama's candidacy; one example being John Lewis, a noted civil rights leader, Selma marcher, US Representative from Georgia, and superdelegate, who formally switched endorsements to Obama on February 27 2008; [cite web|accessdate=|url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/27/lewis-switches-from-clinton-to-obama/|date=February 27, 2008|title=Lewis switches from Clinton to Obama|work=CNN Political Ticker] Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. suggested that those staying with Clinton might face Democratic primary challenges in the future. [cite news | url=http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1713596,00.html | title=Black Lawmakers Rethink Clinton Support | author=David Espo | publisher=Associated Press | date=2008-02-14 | accessdate=2008-02-17] MoveOn.org started an Internet petition to urge superdelegates to "let the voters decide between Clinton and Obama, then support the people's choice." [cite news | url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/moveon-to-superdelegates-wait/ | title=MoveOn to Superdelegates: Wait! | author=Sarah Wheaton | publisher="The New York Times" | date=2008-02-14 | accessdate=2008-02-17]

While Clinton was viewed as having an institutional advantage in amassing superdelegates by virtue of her fifteen years of national prominence in party politics, [cite news | url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/17/MN99V44MH.DTL&type=politics | title=Many superdelegates delay deciding on a candidate | author=Adam Nagourney, Farhana Hossain | publisher="The New York Times" for "San Francisco Chronicle" | date=2008-02-17 | accessdate=2008-02-18] Obama had heavily outspent Clinton in previous contributions to superdelegates through their political action committees. [cite news | url=http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=336 | title=Seeking Superdelegates | author=Lindsay Renick Mayer |work=Capital Eye|publisher=Center for Responsive Politics | date=2008-02-14 | accessdate=2008-02-18]

Speculation that Barack Obama had amassed about fifty additional superdelegates, removing Clinton's final advantage in the race, was reported on the eve of the March 4 primaries and caucuses; with the Clinton victory in most of that night's contests, the Obama camp chose not to release those names as expected the following day. [cite web|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23507892#23507892|title=Hardball 3/6|work=MSNBC.com|accessdate=2008-03-06]

After Obama's large victory in North Carolina and close second in Indiana on May 6, he took the lead in committed superdelegates. The results in those two states made Obama the clear front-runner for the nomination, and he picked up endorsements from 26 superdelegates in the week following those primaries. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/us/politics/09cnd-campaign.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin Obama Pulls Ahead of Clinton in Superdelegates] NY Times, May 9, 2008] [ [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iFR0r8H6W8nb59poWNJ7qF8YApEgD90KABF80 Superdelegates put Obama within mathematical reach] Associated Press, May 12, 2008]

Primary voting, delegate count, and voter demographics

Democratic National Convention

On 27 August Barack Obama was awarded the Democratic presidential nomination by acclamation at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpkJ4TbVIcI Obama Gets Nomination] (video), YouTube (27 August 2008). Retrieved 28 August 2008.]

Issues about Obama's ethnic and religious affiliation during the campaign

Obama's childhood and heritage

Various criticisms have been made during the campaign concerning Obama's religious background and heritage, both by political opponents and by some members of the media.cite news | first=Christopher | last=Hayes | authorlink=Christopher Hayes (journalist)| title=The new right-wing smear machine | date=November 12 2007 | url=http://www.thenation.com/doc/20071112/hayes/5 | work=Nation | accessdate=2007-12-15]

Viral email

In 2004, conservative columnist Andy Martin issued a press release alleging that Obama had "sought to misrepresent his heritage," [cite web | url=http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040810/nytu167_1.html??printer=1 | title=Columnist Says Barack Obama 'Lied To The American People;' Asks Publisher to Withdraw Obama's Book] |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20040916062323/http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040810/nytu167_1.html??printer=1 | archivedate=2004-09-16 | author=Andy Martin Worldwide Communications | publisher=Yahoo!Finance |date=August 11, 2004 | accessdate=2008-03-24] indirectly triggering one of the first viral emails spreading false rumors about Obama's background. [Mosk, Matthew, "An Attack That Came Out of the Ether", Washington Post, 28 June 2008. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/27/AR2008062703781_pf.html Available online] . [http://www.webcitation.org/5YuxV77DG Archived.] ]

The issue lay fallow for almost three years, but picked up again in late 2006, as the announcement of Obama's presidential candidacy approached. In October, a conservative blog, Infidel Bloggers Alliance, reposted Martin's press release in response to a question about Obama's heritage. [ [http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2006/10/is-barack-obama-lying-about-his-life.html Infidel Bloggers Alliance: Is Barack Obama Lying About His Life Story? ] ] Then, on December 26, conservative activist Ted Sampley, co-founder of Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry, posted a column suggesting Obama was a secret Muslim, heavily quoting Martin's original press release. [ [http://www.usvetdsp.com/dec06/obama_muslim.htm Barak Hussein Obama - Who is he? ] ] Shortly afterward, many chain e-mails began circulating claiming that Obama was a hypothetical "Manchurian Candidate." [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/magazine/16wwln-idealab-t.html | title=Rumor’s Reasons | work=The New York Times | author=Farhad Manjoo | date=March 16 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-23] According to Hayes, one of these emails was forwarded to Snopes within hours of Sampley's story. Hayes believes that the email was likely a slightly altered version of the Sampley article, which was in turn heavily based on Martin's 2004 press release. Martin told Hayes that he got numerous calls once the emails began circulating. When the callers asked him if he wrote the release, Martin replied, "They are all my children." In January 2007, two of the Obama campaign's first hires were opposition researchers, immediately assigned to debunk these e-mails. [cite news | author=Ben Smith and Carrie Budoff Brown| title=E-mail smear taxes Obama campaign | date=January 26 2008 | url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/8109.html | work=Politico | accessdate=2008-01-24 See also: cite web |url=http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp |title=Who Is Barack Obama? |accessdate=2008-03-28 |work=Snopes ]

False allegations

On January 17, 2007, the day after Obama announced his candidacy, the Internet magazine "Insight" published an article claiming that Clinton campaign staff had told them that Obama had attended a Muslim seminary as a child in Indonesia and that they were planning to use that information against him during the upcoming primary election campaign. [ [http://www.insightmag.com/Media/MediaManager/Obama_1.htm Hillary's team has questions about Obama's Muslim background] "Insight" January 11, 2007.] The Clinton and Obama campaigns quickly denounced the allegations. [cite news | first=Jake | last=Tapper | title=Nothing Extreme About Indonesian School Attended by Obama | date=January 25 2007 | url=http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/print?id=2822061 | work =ABC News | accessdate=2007-12-05] Investigations by CNN, ABC and others showed that Obama had not, as "Insight" had written, attended an Islamic seminary. Instead, for his first three years abroad Obama attended St. Francis Assisi Catholic School, and in his last year transferred to State Elementary School Menteng Besuki‎, an Indonesian public school for children of all faiths. [cite news | first=Prodita | last=Sabarini | title=Impish Obama couldn't sit still, says school pal | date=January 31 2007 | url=http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article-southeastasia.asp?parentid=62743 | work=The Jakarta Post(reprinted by AsiaMedia) | accessdate=2008-02-11] A series of "Chicago Tribune" reports found that " [w] hen Obama attended 4th grade in 1971, Muslim children spent two hours a week studying Islam, and Christian children spent those two hours learning about the Christian religion."cite news
accessdate=
url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0703250340mar25,1,4608161.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed
title=History of schooling distorted
author=Barker, Kim
date=March 25, 2007
] The series also stated: "In fact, Obama's religious upbringing in Indonesia depended more on the conventions of the schools he attended than on any decision by him, his mother or his stepfather. When he was at a Catholic school for three years, he prayed as a Catholic. When he was at a public school for a year, he learned about Islam." [Cite news
title = Madrassa myth debunked
author=Barker, Kim
work=Chicago Tribune
url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-070325obama-islam-story,0,7180545.story
] In May 2008 "Insight" ceased publication. [ [http://www.insight-report.com/corepages/announcement.html Important Announcement for our Readers] Insight May 1, 2008]

In February 2008, a photo of Obama dressed in a turban and other local clothing while on a 2006 visit to an ethnic Somali community in Kenya appeared on the Drudge Report, which attributed it to a Clinton staffer upset at Obama getting more favorable coverage in the media than Clinton. The photo was interpreted as suggesting Muslim garb, and the Obama campaign accused the Clinton campaign of “shameful, offensive fear-mongering”. A spokesman for Clinton replied that the release of the photo had not been sanctioned by the campaign — but added that "We have over 700 people on this campaign and I’m not in a position to know what each one of them may or may not have done."cite news|accessdate=
url=http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=518585&in_page_id=1811
title=Obama in a turban: Barack accuses Hillary of smear campaign after circulating photos of him dressed as 'a Muslim'
author=Gardner, David
date=February 26, 2008
work=Daily Mail
See also: cite news
accessdate=
url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/02/25/obama-camp-slams-clinton-team-on-controversial-photo/
date=February 25, 2008
title=Obama camp slams Clinton team on controversial photo
publisher=CNN.com
See also:cite news|accessdate=
url=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2004203740_clinton26.html
title=Everything but the kitchen sink: Clinton steps up attacks on Obama
work=Seattle Times
date=February 26, 2008
]

E-mails and flyers repeating allegations about Obama and other candidates were distributed to voters in Iowa and South Carolina just before they went to vote for presidential candidates. In Iowa Obama told his supporters: “You have e-mails saying that I’m a Muslim plant that’s trying to take over America. If you get this e-mail from someone you know, set the record straight.” [Cite news | title = Obama Fights Foes, Seen or Otherwise | last = Zeleny | first = Jeff | date = 2007-11-10 | publisher = The New York Times | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/10/us/politics/10obama.html See also: Cite news | title = Palmetto Bugs: Slingers of Slime Step it up in SC | last = Reid | first = Tim | date = 2007-11-23 | publisher = The New York Post | url = http://www.nypost.com/seven/11232007/news/nationalnews/palmetto_bugs_188986.htm] Sen. Clinton's campaign fired at least two campaign volunteers for forwarding related e-mails about Obama. [cite news | first=Perry | last=Bacon Jr. | coauthors= | title=Clinton Campaign Volunteer Out Over False Obama Rumors |date=2007-12-05 | publisher=Washington Post | url =http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/12/05/clinton_campaign_volunteer_out.html | work = | pages = | accessdate = 2007-12-17 | language = ]

Obama's campaign organization responded with a letter from Christian leaders vouching for his Christian faith, as well as with appeals to supporters to help correct any misunderstanding. [Cite news | title = Obama Fights Foes, Seen or Otherwise | last = Zeleny | first = Jeff | date = 2007-11-10 | publisher = The New York Times | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/10/us/politics/10obama.html] From November 2007 to January 2008, as part of a drive to promote awareness of his Christian faith, Obama gave interviews to Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, to "Christianity Today" and to the religious website Beliefnet.com. [cite web|url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/8109_Page2.html|title=E-mail smear taxes Obama campaign See also: [http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/267174.aspx Meet the Rock Star of U.S. Politics] Christian Broadcasting Network November 11, 2007 See also: [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/januaryweb-only/104-32.0.html Q and A: Barack Obama] Christianity Today January 23, 2008 See also: [http://www.beliefnet.com/story/228/story_22894_1.html Barack Obama: Praying to Be 'An Instrument of God's Will'] Beliefnet.com] Nevertheless, the false belief that Obama is a Muslim has persisted in some key demographics, and is among the most frequently cited reasons for opposition to Obama in public polling. [cite news |first=Andrew |last=Kohut |authorlink=Andrew Kohut |title=That's What I Like About Me |url=http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/thats-what-i-like-about-me/ |work=The New York Times |date=2008-04-04 |accessdate=2008-04-20 |quote=...nearly a quarter (23%) of the largely older, white, working-class Democratic voters who hold a negative view of Mr. Obama believe he is a Muslim.] [cite web |url=http://www.gallup.com/poll/105994/Presidential-Candidates-Weaknesses-Depth.aspx |title=Presidential Candidates’ Weaknesses in Depth |accessdate=2008-04-20 |last=Saad |first=Lydia |date=2008-04-02 |publisher=Gallup |quote=...nearly as prevalent (12%) as an explanation for not wanting Obama elected is the belief that he is a Muslim. ... An additional 8% of Obama's detractors say they dislike his "religious affiliation," but it is unclear whether this is a reference to perceptions about Obama's connection to the Muslim religion, or to his ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ. ] In polls taken in March and April 2008, between 10 and 15% of respondents believed Obama was Muslim. [cite news |author=Staff writer |title=1 in 10 voters think Obama is Muslim |url=http://www.ajc.com/highschool/content/news/stories/2008/03/28/Obama_MuslimMyth_0328.html |work=The Atlanta Journal-Constitution |publisher=Associated Press |date=2008-03-28 |accessdate=2008-04-22 See also: cite web |url=http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/us/nws/elections/2008/041408.pdf |title=The Associated Press–Yahoo Poll: Wave 4 |accessdate=2008-04-22 |author=Knowledge Network |date=2008-04-14 |publisher=Yahoo News |format=PDF ]

Another accusation is that Obama refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance. This is based on a "Time" magazine picture of Obama listening to the U.S. National Anthem with his hands at his sides while the others on stage have their right hands over their hearts. He does, in fact, say the Pledge and sometimes leads the Senate in doing so. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3194740.ece Barack Obama: I'm no Muslim] Times Online, 01-16-2008 See also: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACNJMg6ZHu8 Obama Recites Pledge of Allegiance before Senate on 2/1/07] ; [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC9veEouqqQ Obama Recites Pledge of Allegiance before Senate on 6/21/07] .]

While it campaigned in Kentucky in May 2008, the Obama campaign mailed out a flyer featuring Obama's Christianity. [ [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/14/obama-using-cross-flyer-i_n_101788.html Obama Using Cross Flyer In Kentucky - Politics on The Huffington Post ] ]

Obama's name

Some conservative opponents of Obama featured his middle name "Hussein" and the similarity of his last name with "Osama" to suggest that he has Muslim heritage or possible associations with terrorists, or to question his loyalty to the United States [cite news|publisher=Media Matters|title=Schlussel: Should Barack Hussein Obama be president "when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam"?|title=http://mediamatters.org/items/200612200005|url=http://mediamatters.org/items/200612200005|date=December 20, 2006] (both "Barack" and "Hussein" are names of Semitic origin that mean, respectively, to bless/blessing and good/handsome). [cite news|url=http://blogs.trb.com/news/local/longisland/politics/blog/2008/02/middle_names_hussein_card_agai.html|publisher=New York Newsday|title=Middle names: "Hussein" card, again|author= John Riley|date=2008-02-27] In February, 2008, the Tennessee Republican Party circulated a memo titled "Anti-Semites for Obama" that featured his middle name and showed a picture of him in African clothes while on a trip to Africa.cite news|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/28/MNKGVABG8.DTL|publisher=San Francisco Chronicle|title=Right wing plays Muslim card against Obama|author=Joe Garofoli|date=February 28, 2008] A website, ExposeObama.com, sent out emails in early 2008 that included messages such as "President Barack Hussein Obama ... the scariest four words in the English language!" [cite news|publisher=San Francisco Chronicle|title=Dems face outsiders' dirty tricks:Mudslinging begins from the sidelines|author=Carla Marinucci|date=April 24, 2008 |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2008/04/24/MN3A10AHNB.DTL] In April 2008 a church in the small town of Jonesville, South Carolina posted a message on its sign which said, "Obama, Osama — humm, are they brothers". The next day Pastor Byrd removed the sign after receiving "so much negative comments from throughout the country". Those incidents attracted nation-wide media coverage, [ [http://jonesvillechurchofgod.com/Jonesville Church of God controversial sign] ] [ [http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/21/south-carolina-pastor-posts-sign-linking-obama-with-bin-laden/ South Carolina Pastor Posts Sign Linking Obama with bin Laden] Fox News 2008-04-21] while not openly supported, generally condemned by the other candidates' official campaigns and by the major political parties.

Impact of Rev. Jeremiah Wright

In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama's 20-year relationship to his former pastor Jeremiah Wright.cite news | url=http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=4443788 | title=Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11 | author=Brian Ross | coauthors=Rehab el-Buri|publisher="ABC News" | date=March 13 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-17 See also: cite news | url=http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/03/for-the-record.html | title=For The Record | work=The Daily Dish | publisher="The Atlantic" |date=March 16 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18 | last=Sullivan | first=Andrew] ABC News found and excerpted clips from racially and politically charged sermons by Rev. Wright, including his assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own terrorism and his assertion that " [t] he government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color." [cite news |url=http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/03/14/obamas-spiritual-adviser-questioned-us-role-in-spread-of-hiv-sept-11-attacks/ | title=Obama’s Pastor’s Sermon: ‘God Damn America’ | publisher=FOXNews | author=Jeff Goldblatt | date=March 14 2008 | accessdate=2008-04-04] Some of Wright's statements were widely criticized as anti-American.cite news |first=Ken |last=Dilanian |title=Defenders say Wright has love, righteous anger for USA |url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-03-18-obamawright_N.htm |work=USA Today |date=2008-03-18 |accessdate=2008-04-02 ] cite news|url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23745283/|title=Obama's reaction to Wright too little, too late|publisher=MSNBC|date=March 21, 2008|author=Adubato, Steve] Following negative media coverage and a drop in the polls, [cite news | url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3591359.ece | title=Polls show Barack Obama damaged by link to Reverend Jeremiah Wright | date=March 21, 2008 | accessdate=2008-04-05 | work=Times Online | author=Reid, Tim] Obama responded by condemning Wright's remarks, ending his relationship with the campaign, and delivering a speech entitled "A More Perfect Union" at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [cite news | url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0319/p25s01-uspo.html | title=Remarks by Barack Obama: 'A More Perfect Union' | author=Barack Obama | work=The Christian Science Monitor | date=March 18 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18] In the speech, Obama rejected some of Wright's comments, but refused to disown the man himself, noting his lifelong ministry to the poor and past service as a US Marine.cite news | url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/03/18/obama-confronts-racial-di_n_92064.html|title=Obama confronts racial division|date=March 18, 2008|publisher=Huffington Post |author=Nedra Pickler, Matt Apuzzo | accessdate=2008-04-19 See also: cite news |first=Peggy |last=Noonan |authorlink=Peggy Noonan |title=A Thinking Man's Speech |url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120604775960652829.html?mod=googlenews_wsj |work=The Wall Street Journal |date=2008-03-21 |accessdate=2008-04-11 ] The speech, which sought to place Wright's anger in a larger historical context, was well-received by liberal sources and some conservatives,cite news |first=Howard |last=Kurtz |authorlink=Howard Kurtz |title=Obama's Speech, Sliced and Diced |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/20/AR2008032000964.html |work=The Washington Post |date=2008-03-20 |accessdate=2008-04-19 ] [cite news |title=Mr. Obama’s Profile in Courage |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/19/opinion/19wed1.html |publisher=The New York Times |date=2008-03-19 |accessdate=2008-03-19] but other conservatives and supporters of Hillary Clinton continued to question the implications of Obama's long relationship with Wright. [cite news |first=Bill |last=Kristol |authorlink=Bill Kristol |title=Let's Not, and Say We Did |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/24/opinion/24kristol.html?em&ex=1206504000&en=116b0da3e79179f5&ei=5087%0A |work=New York Times |date=2008-03-24 |accessdate=2008-03-25 See also: cite news | url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120770107738700007.html | title=Obama's Minister Problem | work=The Wall Street Journal | accessdate=2008-04-12 | last=Davis | first=Lanny J. | date=April 9, 2008]

The story gained headlines again in late April with several public appearances by Rev. Wright. He appeared on the Bill Moyers show on PBS on April 25, spoke to the NAACP in Detroit on April 27 and addressed the media before a symposium at the National Press Club on April 28. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/29/us/politics/29watc.html?sq=obama%20wright&st=nyt&adxnnl=1&scp=7&adxnnlx=1209499414-4Xbo3Xf0nnHDjKuTi5ycgA Not Speaking for Obama, Pastor Speaks for Himself, at Length] NY Times, April 29, 2008] In Detroit, Wright "also defended Obama and lashed out at the news media for running excerpts of his heated sermons, media pundits and those who have tried to connect him to Islam because of his full name — Barack Hussein Obama". [ [http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/27/wright-discusses-public-crucifixion-at-sunday-services/ Rev. Wright Defends Sermons, Rattles Critics at NAACP Dinner] FoxNews.com, April 27, 2008] At the Press Club, Wright said that Obama "had to distance himself from me, because he's a politician". He also suggested that Obama is not a regular attendee at church, [ [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-0429edit1apr29,0,360729.story Wright's curious mission] Chicago Tribune, April 29, 2008] and reiterated his earlier views on terrorism, the HIV virus and other issues. Obama held a press conference on April 29 in which he went further than he had in his Pennsylvania speech, appearing to disown the pastor himself rather than just his controversial remarks. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/us_elections/article3842706.ece Barack Obama finally disowns race row pastor] Times Online, April 29, 2008] [Kristin Jensen, [http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=auLACCcPCZYI&refer=home Obama Calls Wright's Remarks `Ridiculous,' Offensive] Bloomberg.com, April 29, 2008] Obama said he was "outraged" and "saddened" by Wright's comments, calling them "divisive and destructive." He said of Wright, "the man I saw yesterday was not the man I met 20 years ago." Obama stated, "Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this," he added. [Jeff Mason, [http://www.reuters.com/article/vcCandidateFeed2/idUSN2934816520080429 Obama strongly denounces former pastor] Reuters, April 29, 2008]

Obama subsequently resigned his membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ following comments made during a guest sermon at the church by Catholic priest and long-term Obama friend, Michael Pfleger. During the sermon, Pfleger mocked Hillary Clinton and said that she felt "entitled" to be the Democratic nominee for President. [ [http://weblogs.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/blog/2008/05/another_video_from_obamas_chur.html Another video from Obama's church] ". "Chicago Tribune". May 29, 2008. Retrieved on May 29, 2008.] [cite news | url=http://www.wjbc.com/wire2/news/08826_PflegerWEB_095239.htm | title= Chicago cardinal asks Pfleger to step down temporarily | publisher=WJBC | date=May 4 2008 | accessdate=2008-06-13]

Effect of the Internet

ocial networking sites

Many commentators have noted Obama's strong support amongst social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.com. [cite news |first=Jose Antonio |last=Vargas |title=Young Voters Find Voice on Facebook |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/16/AR2007021602084.html |work=Washington Post |date=2008-02-17 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] An Internet consulting site, tracking each candidate's online performance, measured Sen. Obama as the candidate that connects the most with potential voters via the Internet. [SIPP index | http://www.spartaninternet.com/2008]

Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder and coordinator of online organizing within the Barack Obama presidential campaign, called the on-line surge backing Obama "unprecedented".cite news |first=Seth |last=Gitell |title=Obama's Facebook |url=http://www2.nysun.com/article/48560 |work=New York Sun |date=2007-02-13 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] As of late May, the "American Politics" application on Facebook listed Obama as the 6-1 favorite over Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the Obama campaign was a launch partner for Facebook's new F8 platform. [cite web |url=http://newsbusters.org/node/13288| title=Did Facebook Give Obama Inside Edge on New App? |first=Ken |last=Shepherd |date=2007-06-07 |accessdate=2008-03-28]

One group on Facebook, "Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)", has 774,320 members as of October 8, 2008. Obama's politician page has reached more than one million supporters as of June 17, 2008. On February 2 2007, Obama attended a rally at George Mason University organized by "Students for Barack Obama", a group that began on Facebook, with several thousand in attendance.cite news |first=Zachary A. |last=Goldfarb |title=Mobilized Online, Thousands Gather to Hear Obama |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/02/AR2007020201233.html |work=Washington Post |date=2007-02-03 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] Other countries have also registered Facebook groups in support of Senator Obama including Canadacite web |url=http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10137931875 |title=Canadians for Obama |accessdate=2008-03-28 |format=free Facebook registration required for access |publisher=Facebook ] and several European countries.cite web |url=http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5687588642 |title=Europeans for Barack Obama |accessdate=2008-03-28 |format=free Facebook registration required for access|publisher=Facebook ]

Obama's official website itself incorporates networking elements which allows supporters to create their own profiles and blogs, as well as to chat and plan grassroots events. My.BarackObama.com is a social networking website created by the campaign. It was first launched on February 11, 2007, and was billed as "a MySpace for his supporters". [cite news |first=Erica |last=Ogg |title=Barack Obama getting all Web 2.0 on us |url=http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-6158259-7.html |work=CNetNews.com NewsBlog |publisher=CNet |date=February 9, 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23 ] It was built and designed by internet technology and political strategist firm Blue State Digital [cite news |first=Brad |last=Stone |title=Social Networking’s Next Phase |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/03/technology/03social.htm |work=NYTimes.com |publisher=The New York Times |date=March 2, 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23 ] and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.cite news |first=Amy |last=Schatz |title=BO, U R So Gr8 |url=http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB118011947223614895-lMyQjAxMDE3ODIwOTEyMTk5Wj.html |work=WSJ.com NewsBlog |publisher=The Wall Street Journal |date=May 26, 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23 ]

The site now has over 70,000 registered users, [cite news |first=Christopher |last=Beam |title=In Your Face: How Facebook could crush MySpace, Yahoo!, and Google. |url=http://slate.com/id/2168872/ |work=Slate.com |publisher=Washington Post |date=June 22, 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23 ] and the Obama campaign credits the online social networking tool with increasing fundraising and event turnout. [cite news |first=Andy |last=Sullivan |title="Friends" in high places |url=http://features.us.reuters.com/techlife/news/D6519A8E-5184-11DC-82C6-8486467B.html |work=Reuters.com |publisher=Reuters |date=August 23, 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23 ] Other presidential candidates have since created their own social networking websites, such as Republican Sen. John McCain's "McCainSpace". [cite news |first=Josh |last=Drobnyk |title=Obama's groundswell: grass roots on the Web |url=http://www.barackobama.com/2007/04/23/obamas_groundswellgrass_roots.php |work=BarackObama.com Newsroom |publisher=Obama for America, Barack Obama' presidential campaign |date=April 23, 2007 |accessdate=2007-08-23 ]

The bulk of My.BarackObama.com's activity takes place in group and event organization, where members first create or join on-line "groups" which share common email listservs and blogs. These groups are then used to plan offline events, ranging from casual "meet ups" to large fundraising events, with those who RSVP for fundraising events via My.BarackObama.com having the option of fulfilling their fundraising promise in advance through online payment. Of the $25 million the Obama campaign raised in the first quarter of 2007, [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/04/obama.fundraising/index.html| title = Obama raises $25 million, challenges Clinton's front-runner status | publisher = CNN | date = 2007-04-09 | accessdate = 2008-02-09] over $6 million was raised through on-line channels.

Viral videos

The Obama primary campaign has received publicity from the introduction of several high-profile music videos concerning the senator. The first was an off-topic parody song portraying a fictional love between Senator Obama and a provocatively-dressed young woman nicknamed "Obama Girl", entitled "I Got a Crush... on Obama," first appearing on June 13, 2007. The second video was "Yes We Can", after the ubiquitous Obama campaign slogan, itself originally a long-standing union chant in the US. It was released on February 2, 2008, and was a straightforward, star-studded endorsement by a range of actors, musicians and other celebrities, led by Grammy-winner Will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas, singing the actual words of an Obama speech following the New Hampshire primary.cite news |first=Brian |last=Stelter |authorlink=Brian Stelter |title=Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On |url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/us/politics/27voters.html?_r=2&hp=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1206666163-YpoMNe/u2DIXJ6Q+JgPlLQ |work=The New York Times |date=2008-03-27 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] The video was generating over a million views on YouTube a day following its release. [cite news | url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/02/16/bmobama116.xml&DCMP=ILC-traffdrv07053100 | title=Barack Obama's 'Yes We Can' video | work=The Daily Telegraph | date=2008-02-14 | accessdate=2008-02-28] By March 27, 2008, the song had been viewed over 17 million times on YouTube and other sites.

The video of Obama's speech "A More Perfect Union" also "went viral", reaching over 1.3 million views on YouTube within a day of the speech's delivery. [cite news |first=Alex |last=Chadwick |authorlink=Alex Chadwick |coauthors=Alex Cohen |title=The Viral Obama Web Cycle |url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88584840 |work=Day to Day |publisher=NPR |date=2008-03-19 |accessdate=2008-03-21 ] Links to the speech were among the most widely shared on Facebook, and by March 27, the speech had been viewed nearly 3.4 million times.

During a time when Obama was receiving negative attention from the Wright controversy and other issues, "The Empire Strikes Barack" was released, a video that featured Barack Obama as Luke Skywalker, rallying from attacks by Hillary Clinton, portrayed as Darth Vader. [ [http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article3904150.ece The Webwatcher: John Mayer; Tom Waits; Empire Strikes Barack - Times Online ] ]

Political positions

Presidential candidate and Senator Barack Obama has taken positions on many national, political, economic and social issues, either through public comments or his senatorial voting record.

One such position is Obama's stance on health care. Obama has repeatedly said that he wants to see that every American has the option of having affordable health care as good as every U. S. Senator has. He has proposed a major overhaul of the nation’s health care system, aimed at covering the nearly 45 million uninsured Americans, reducing premium costs for everyone else, and breaking what he asserted was “the stranglehold” that the biggest drug and insurance companies have on the health care market. ["Obama Offers Health Care Plan," Robin Toner, "The New York Times," May 29, 2007]

Opinion polling

Following Obama's interview on "Meet the Press", opinion polling organizations added his name to surveyed lists of Democratic candidates. The first such poll (November 2006) ranked Obama in second place with 17% support among Democrats after Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) who placed first with 28% of the responses. [cite news |title=Poll: Obama now trails only Clinton on '08 list |url=http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/11/01/poll.2008/index.html?eref=rss_politics |work=CNN |date=2006-02-11 |accessdate=2008-03-28 ] A Zogby Poll released on January 18, 2007, showed Obama leading the Democratic contenders in the first primary state of New Hampshire with 23% of New Hampshire Democrats supporting Obama. Senator Clinton and former Senator John Edwards were tied for second place with 19% each. [cite web|url=http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1237|title=Zogby New Hampshire: 3 Dems In Tight Race; McCain Leads Republican Field|work=Zogby International|date=December 18, 2007|accessdate=2007-01-21|last=International|first=Zogby] A Washington Post/ABC News poll on February 26-27, 2007 placed Obama in second place with 24% among likely Democratic primary voters, with Hillary Clinton garnering 36% as the leader. [cite news|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/27/AR2007022701030.html|title=2008 Democratic Nomination|work=Washington Post|date=February 28, 2007|accessdate=2007-02-28]

Opinion polls taken in April 2007 differ widely from each other: Obama was listed in third place nationwide, 24% behind Hillary Clinton and 2% behind John Edwards. [cite web |url=http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/15313 |title=Democrats 2008: Hillary 41%, Edwards 19% |accessdate=2008-03-28 |work=Angus Reid Global Monitor ] In an April 30, 2007 Rasmussen Reports Poll, Barack Obama led the poll for the Democratic nomination for first time with 32% support. [ [http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Political%20Tracking/Democratic%20Primaries/DemocraticPresidentialPrimary.htm RasmussenReports 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary] , rassmussenreports.com, April 30, 2007. Retrieved on April 30, 2007.] By June however, Clinton was winning all the major national polls by double digits except one that showed Obama with a one point lead, and by July, all major national polls showed Obama trailing Clinton by double digits. [cite news |title=White House 2008: Democratic Nomination |url=http://www.pollingreport.com/wh08dem.htm |work=PollingReport.com |accessdate=2008-03-28 ]

Polling analysts are expected to take note of whether opinion polling statistics regarding Obama prove to be accurate, or are ultimately subject to the so-called "Bradley effect" observed in some previous American elections.Jonathan Alter, [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16238556/site/newsweek/ "Is America Ready?"] , "Newsweek", December 25, 2006 - January 1, 2007. Retrieved on January 17, 2007. See also: Polman, Dick. [http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/columnists/dick_polman/16507551.htm "Barack Obama's race seems to be a second-tier issue"] , "The Philadelphia Inquirer", January 21, 2007. Retrieved on February 22, 2007. See also: Younge, Gary. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2008468,00.html "The power of hope"] , "The Guardian", February 10, 2007. Retrieved on February 22, 2007. See also: McCann, John. [http://www.herald-sun.com/opinion/columnists/mccann/62-820850.cfm "Just point me to an honest candidate"] , "The Herald-Sun", February 18, 2007. Retrieved on February 22, 2007.] This continued to be a concern in some earlier primary states, but as the season progressed Obama showed electoral success with white voters in states like Virginia and Wisconsin. [ cite web | url = http://www.miamiherald.com/campaign08/story/475297.html | title = Working-class white men may hold key to Pennsylvania contest | work = Philadelphia Inquirer | accessdate = 2008-03-30]

In a poll by the University of Iowa in July and August 2007 of Iowa Republicans, Obama received the third-highest percentage, with 7% of the vote - more than Republican candidates Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and to-be nominee John McCain combined.cite news | title=Barack Obama's Republican edge | url=http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/08/24/obama_gop/ | work=Salon | accessdate = 2008-04-16] Polls by the Washington Post and ABC News indicated that Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to answer that Obama would be the Democrats' best chance to win the election.

At the end of March 2008 Obama became the first candidate to open a double-digit lead in his national Gallup daily tracking poll results since Super Tuesday, when his competitor Hillary Clinton had a similar margin. On March 30 the poll showed Obama at 52% and Clinton at 42%. The Rassmussen Reports poll, taken during the same time frame, also showed an Obama advantage of five points. [ cite web | url= http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2008/03/gallup-obama--1.html | title = Gallup: Obama has 10-point lead over Clinton -- largest this year | work = USA Today | accessdate = 2008-03-30] Another late-March poll found Obama maintaining his positive rating and limiting his negative rating better than his chief rival, Clinton. The NBC News and "Wall Street Journal" poll showed Obama losing two points of positive rating and gaining four points of negative rating, while Clinton lost eight points of positive rating and gained five points of negative rating. [ cite web | url = http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB120657171729866843-8cJolllJIL0b0_Tbt4nHsgn6pLw_20080426.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top | title = Democrats are tied in new poll | work = Wall Street Journal | accessdate = 2008-03-30] A "Newsweek" poll taken on April 16-17 showed Obama leading Clinton 54 to 35% among Democrats and Democrat-leaning registered voters. [cite news |first=Michael |last=Hirsch |title=Hillary Drops Back |url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/132721 |work=Newsweek |date=2008-04-18 |accessdate=2008-04-20 ] The Gallup daily tracking poll showed Obama's lead over Clinton in the same group peaking at 51 to 40% on April 14 (results based on interviews April 11–13), then closing, and on April 19 (results based on interviews April 16-18) Clinton gained a lead of 46 to 45%, the first time Obama had not led since March 18–20. [cite web |url=http://www.gallup.com/poll/106606/Gallup-Daily-Clinton-46-Obama-45.aspx |title=Gallup Daily: Clinton 46%, Obama 45% |accessdate=2008-04-20 |date=2008-04-19 |publisher=Gallup] The next day Obama showed a lead of 47 to 45% over Clinton. [cite web |url=http://www.gallup.com/poll/106609/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Holds-Slight-47-45-Advantage.aspx |title=Gallup Daily: Obama Holds 47% to 45% Advantage |accessdate=2008-04-20 |date=2008-04-20 |publisher=Gallup] The following day the Obama lead over Clinton increased to 49% over 42%. [cite web |url=http://www.gallup.com/poll/106678/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Regains-Lead-Over-Clinton-49-42.aspx |title=Gallup Daily: Obama Regains Lead Over Clinton, 49% to 42% |accessdate=2008-04-22 |date=2008-04-21 |publisher=Gallup]

Endorsements

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley endorsed Obama hours after his announcement, abandoning his tradition of staying neutral in Democratic primaries. [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-070210daley-obama-story,0,4825836.story?coll=chi-news-hed Daley Endorses Obama For President] Chicago Tribune, February 10, 2007] A day later, Obama traveled to Ames, Iowa where he was endorsed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald. Just days before the crucial New York Democratic Primary, Obama won the endorsement of the Young Democrats Club of Pelham, a key endorsement considering 16% of the club supported Hillary Clinton." [http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070211/NEWS/70211007/1001/LIFE Candidate Obama packs ISU's Hilton Coliseum] " The Des Moines Register, February 11 2007.] Perhaps Obama's biggest celebrity endorsement is talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who has occasionally joined Obama on the campaign trail and hosted a fundraiser at her Santa Barbara, CA estate. Following his win in South Carolina Obama received the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, and Senator Ted Kennedy, his brother. [cite news |first=Mike |last=Allen |coauthors=Brown, Carrie Budoff |title=Ted Kennedy embraces Obama |url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/8134.html |publisher=Politico |date=2008-01-27 |accessdate=2008-01-27] For the first time in its ten year history, MoveOn.org endorsed a Presidential candidate when Obama received 70% of an online ballot the organization held of its members.cite news | url=http://www.thenation.com/blogs/campaignmatters?bid=45&pid=278779 | title=MoveOn Endorses Obama... | publisher=The nation | date=2008-02-01 | author=Ari Mebler | accessdate=2008-02-01] On February 3 2008, another member from the Kennedy family, First Lady of California Maria Shriver, announced her endorsement for Obama. [cite web|url=http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/02/breaking-news-m.html|title=Breaking News: Maria Shriver endorses Barack Obama] On February 26, former Democratic candidate Chris Dodd endorsed Obama, [cite web|url=http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/02/dodd_obama_has.html|title=Dodd: Obama has tapped 'hearts and souls'|first=Scott|last=Helman|publisher=The Boston Globe|date=2008-02-26] followed on March 21 by another former Democratic candidate, current New Mexico governor and retired United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson. Richardson served under President Bill Clinton as Secretary of Energy and as a United Nations ambassador. [cite news|url=http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aUD8WZRfqyhs&refer=home|title=Richardson Endorses Obama for Presidential Nomination|publisher=Bloomberg.com|date=2008-03-21|accessdate=2008-03-21] Former President Jimmy Carter stated that he supports Obama for President. [cite news | url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/04/03/carter-hints-at-supporting-obama/ | date=April 3, 2008 | title=CNN Political Ticker: Carter hints at supporting Obama | publisher=CNN | accessdate=2008-04-08] On May 14, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards endorsed Obama, hinting that he believed the race was over and that it was time to unite behind one candidate. [ [http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/14/edwards-to-endorse-obama/ Edwards Endorses Obama - The Caucus - Politics - New York Times Blog ] ] On May 19, President pro tempore of the United States Senate Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) endorsed Obama. The 90-year old-Senate legend lauded Obama as a “shining young statesman” a “noble-hearted patriot” and a “humble Christian.” In particular, Byrd said that his shared opposition to the Iraq war with Obama was a key factor in his decision. On June 7, 2008, Sen. Hillary Clinton endorsed Sen. Obama after conceding her bid for the presidency, and even adopted his slogan "Yes We Can" into her concession speech. [ [http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/stateupdates/gG5VTS Senator Clinton Endorses Barack Obama] ] On 16 June 2008, Al Gore endorsed Obama in a speech given in Michigan, stating "take it from me, elections matter."cite web
url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25198995/
title=Al Gore endorses Barack Obama:Former vice president tells Detroit crowd, ‘elections matter’
accessdate= 2008-06-16
author= AP
last=
first=
authorlink=
coauthors=
date=June 16, 2008
work=
publisher= "MSNBC"
] Gore also endorsed Obama on his website, "algore.com", cite web
url=http://blog.algore.com/2008/06/my_endorsement.html
title=Al's Journal: My Endorsement
accessdate= 2008-06-16
author=
last=Gore
first=Al
authorlink=
coauthors=
date=June 16, 2008
work=
publisher= algore.com
] and appears on Obama's website, offering an official endorsement.cite web
url=https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/gore?source=AlGoreEmail
title=Join Al Gore: Support This Campaign
accessdate= 2008-06-16
author=
last=
first=
authorlink=
coauthors=
date=June 16, 2008
work=
publisher= barackobama.com
]

Fundraising

Hyatt board member Penny Pritzker currently serves as the national finance chair of the campaign; [cite web|url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0705130653may14,0,55114.story|title=Her money is on Obama. His? Clinton.|author=John McCormick|publisher=Chicago Tribune|date=2007-05-14|accessdate=2008-02-16 ] Pritzker served on the finance committee for Obama's 2004 Senate run. Obama has said he will not accept donations from federal lobbyists or political action committees during the campaign. [http://www.suntimes.com/news/sweet/238922,CST-EDT-sweet01.article Obama Begins Fundraising Drive] Chicago Sun-Times, February 1, 2007] While he started to collect private donations for a general election account, Obama asked the Federal Election Commission if he could later return the money if he decided to take public funds. In response, the FEC allowed presidential candidates to take contributions for a general election campaign even if they later decided to accept public money. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/22/AR2007022201377.html FEC Drafts New Campaign Finance Opinion] Washington Post, February 22, 2007]

Alan D. Solomont, who led a group that raised $35 million for John Kerry in 2004, has signed on with the campaign, saying Obama "is the sort of person America wants in the White House right now." [ [http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/01/26/with_kerry_out_key_aide_shifts_to_obama/ With Kerry out, key aide shifts to Obama] Boston Globe, January 26, 2007] Other fundraisers that have joined the campaign include David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Mark Gorenberg. [ [http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_07/b4021057.htm Campaign 2008: Cranking Up The Money Machine] BusinessWeek, February 12, 2007]

Obama's fundraising prowess early on matched that of Hillary Clinton's and, financially speaking, stayed competitive with her. On April 4, 2007, Obama's campaign announced that they had raised $25 million in the first quarter of 2007, coming close to Hillary Clinton's $26 million in first quarter contributions. Over 100,000 people donated to the campaign and $6.9 million was raised through the Internet. $23.5 million of Obama's first quarter funds can be used in the primary, the highest of any candidate. [ [http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/eoqwrap/ Barack Obama First Quarter Fundraising Report] BarackObama.com, April 4, 2007]

Obama's fundraising skills were affirmed again in the second quarter of 2007, when his campaign received $32.5 million in donations: $5.5 million more than his nearest rival, Hillary Clinton, whose campaign raised around $27 million. [cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/01/us/politics/01cnd-obama.html?ref=politics | title=Obama Raised $33 Million in Second Quarter | publisher=The New York Times | author=Jeff Zeleny | date=2007-07-01 | accessdate=2007-07-01] Obama's 258,000 individual donors revealed his wide grassroots appeal and success raising funds via the Internet. [cite news | url=http://communities.canada.com/nationalpost/blogs/posted/archive/2007/07/06/grim-old-pantry-looks-bare-meanwhile-obama-fundraising-soars.aspx | title=Grim Old Pantry looks bare; meanwhile Obama fundraising soars | publisher= Canada "National Post" | date=2007-07-06 | accessdate=2007-07-08] Altogether Obama's campaign raised US$58 million during the first half of 2007, topping all other candidates and exceeding previous records for the first six months of any year before an election year. [cite news | first=Jim | last=Malone | title=Obama Fundraising Suggests Close Race for Party Nomination | date=July 2 2007 | url =http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-07-02-voa52.cfm | work=Voice of America | accessdate=2007-11-18]

For the third quarter of 2007, which typically sees lower numbers than the rest of the year, Obama raised $20 million, still a large amount but bested by Clinton, who led all candidates with $27 million raised.cite news | url=http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-dems3oct03,1,1411964.story | title=Clinton leads the field in campaign fundraising | author=Dan Morain | publisher=The Los Angeles Times | date=2007-10-02 | accessdate=2007-10-04] Obama's campaign reported adding 108,000 new donors through in the quarter, for a total of 365,000 individual contributors in the first nine months. [cite news | first=Michael | last=Cooper | coauthors= Aron Pilhofer | title=Democratic Candidates Keep Outraising Republicans | date=October 16 2007 | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/16/us/politics/16donate.html | work =New York Times | accessdate=2007-11-18]

In the fourth quarter of 2007, Obama raised $23.5 million, while Clinton raised $27.3 million. [cite news | url=http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/dcdev/forms/C00431445/320718/ | title=FEC 4th Quarter Report | publisher=FEC | author=Emily Cadei |date=2008-01-03 | accessdate=2008-02-10 ] By January 2008, Obama had received over 800,000 donations from over 600,000 individual donors. [cite web|url=http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hW59mscjOsVzYHXPy0YUY331VjYgD8UF6C2O0|title=Obama Ads Feature Prominent Politicians]

The Obama campaign raised $32 million in the month of January 2008 alone, from over 250,000 separate supporters. [cite web|url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/contribute_c/250K_email/graphic|title=politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/01/31/obama-raises-32-million-in-january/|title=Obama raises $32 million in January] When it was disclosed that Hillary Clinton loaned $5 million of her own money to her campaign, Obama's supporters donated over $6.5 million in less than 24 hours. [cite news | first=Peter | last=Overby | title=Clinton Pumps Her Own Money into Campaign | date=February 6 2008 | url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18752227 | work =National Public Radio | accessdate=2008-02-06 See also: cite web|url=http://my.barackobama.com/page/contribute_c/sincefeb5_email/graphic|title=BarackObama.com: graphic comparing Clinton campaign gift to Obama campaign fundraising] When the Clinton campaign reported that it had raised over $10 million in the five days after Super Tuesday, the Obama campaign reported raising "well more" than that. [cite news|author=Gavrilovic, Maria|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/02/10/politics/fromtheroad/entry3813469.shtml|title=Obama Confident About Upcoming Contests|work=CBS News|date=2008-02-10|accessdate=2008-02-16]

Candidate financial disclosures released following the Wisconsin and Hawaii primaries raised Barack Obama's estimated January take to $37 million, about $17 million more than the second-placed candidate Hillary Clinton. Much of her fundraising was furthermore ineligible for primary-contest spending, and her campaign is projected to have ended the month in debt by over eight million dollars, one-quarter of that being unpaid fees to consultant Mark Penn. [cite web|url=http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0208/8613.html|title=January yields debt for HRC, cash for Obama|work=Politico.com|accessdate=2008-02-20] In February, the Obama campaign surpassed the one million donor mark, a first for a competitive primary campaign in the United States [" [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iUBPIAUuM_7kh7_oKdmbFTpXCHHg Million-man Obama targets Texas, Ohio after debate] ". AFP. 2008-02-27. See also: " [http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/samgrahamfelsen/gGgxP7 Message From Barack] ". BarackObama.com 2008-02-27.] and raised $55 million, setting a record for political fundraising in one month. [cite web|url=http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/06/democrats.campaign/index.html|title="Obama raises $55 million in February, sets new record" segment|work=CNN|accessdate=2008-03-06] Of the $55 million raised in February $45 million of it was contributed over the Internet—without Obama hosting a single fund-raiser. [cite web|url=http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/obama-finance|title="The Amazing Money Machine: How Silicon Valley made Barack Obama this year’s hottest start-up"|accessdate=2008-05-15]

According to reports filed with the FEC and news from the "Boston Herald", by the end of the first quarter of 2008, the campaign had raised more money ($133,549,000) than it had raised in all of 2007 (103,802,537). [cite web|title=Obama for America: Report of Receipts and Disbursements|publisher=Federal Elections Commission|url=http://query.nictusa.com/pres/2008/M2/C00431445.html|accessdate=2008-04-03 See also: cite web|title=Obama raises $40M to Clinton’s $20M in March|publisher=Boston Herald|url=http://news.bostonherald.com/news/national/politics/2008/view.bg?articleid=1084773&srvc=home&position=recent|accessdate=2008-04-03] By the end of March, Obama had raised a total of over $235 million during the course of his campaign. [Kuhnhenn, Jim. " [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hcoilzhWtvfWBl2MqCAEW8J3UQKgD906I2S81 Obama is flush, Clinton in debt] ". Associated Press. 2008-04-21.]

General election

On June 3, 2008, after the Montana and South Dakota primaries, Barack Obama secured enough delegates to clinch the nomination of the Democratic party for president of the United States. [cite news|url=http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=b6115b8e-fe3f-4bde-9b25-b6a7c2120c80&p=2|title=A Timeline of the Democratic Campaign|work=Ottawa Citizen] His opponent, Republican party nominee John McCain, passed the delegate threshold to become the presumptive nominee much earlier, on March 4. On June 7, Obama's remaining opponent in the quest for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, conceded defeat at a rally in Washington and urged supporters to back Obama.

ee also

* CNN Obama Rap Song - The Ba Rock Song 2008
* Deadheads for Obama
* Electoral history of Barack Obama
* Obama Republican
* Sí Se Puede Cambiar

References

External links

* [http://www.barackobama.com Official Campaign Website]
*dmoz|Regional/North_America/United_States/Society_and_Culture/Politics/Candidates_and_Campaigns/Presidential/Candidates/Obama,_Barack
*newseum front page archive|event=Obama locks up nomination|year=08|month=06|day=04


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