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Barack Obama Biography
Part 2: Meteoric Rise

Armed with his law degree, Obama moved back to Chicago and began teaching at the University of Chicago Law School. He joined a well-known Chicago law firm in 1993. Two years later, he published a memoir titled Dreams from My Father.

Convinced that he had a different sort of calling, Obama decided to run for political office. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and served there for eight years, then was elected to the U.S. senate, in 2004. A member of several influential committees and author of a handful of well-known bills, Obama gained national recognition when he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Recognition from that speech was widespread and immediate. Obama built on his reputation and, two years later, announced his candidacy for the Presidency.

He quickly built up a national organization full of seasoned advisers and determined to create a wide range of supporters using new media methods. These methods, foremost among them emails and text messages, would serve him well throughout the presidential campaign.

Obama was one of a crowded Democratic Party field of candidates in late 2007, as he began crisscrossing Iowa and New Hampshire, the two states that had the first statewide elections for president (a caucus and primary, respectively). To many, Obama's victory in the Iowa caucuses was a surprise. Many political observers thought that Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady and seasoned professional, would be the nominee of the Democratic Party. Indeed, Clinton won the most votes in the New Hampshire primary, setting the stage for a long and sometimes bitter primary campaign that ended with Clinton conceding not long before the Democratic National Convention.

Just before the convention, Obama named as his running mate Joseph Biden, a longtime senator from Delaware and former presidential candidate in his own right.

Obama spelled out many of his political philosophies in his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope. Even more of what he thinks about America, its politics, and its place in the world can be found on his website.

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