Sunday, March 8, 2009
Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk huːˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned following his election to the presidency.
Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago prior to earning his law degree, and practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was elected to the United States Senate in November 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. During his tenure as Senator, he served on several committees, including the Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works, Veterans' Affairs, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
After a particularly close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary against rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination as a candidate for president, becoming the first major African American candidate for president. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was sworn in as president on January 20, 2009.