President Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union

President Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union

President Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union

President Barack Obama: A More Perfect Union


Barack Obama's "improbable quest" has become a fact of American life and a benchmark in American history. Striving now toward "a more perfect union," Obama and the nation confront obstacles unforeseen at the outset of the 2008 electoral campaign. John K. Wilson tracks the sweep of this progress from the beginning of Obama's political career through his move into the White House. With his critical journalistic eye and his sympathetic "native son" perspective, Wilson shows us a side of Obama we haven't seen as well as a view of the media we need to understand-even more now as the Obama administration begins to govern. The paperback edition of this popular book includes a new introduction, updates throughout, and two new chapters on the electoral victory and the transition from campaigning into governing. New photos and new insights include a focus on the continued importance of race in American politics.


When Barack Obama took the oath of office in front of more than one million people on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on January 20, 2009, with hundreds of millions more watching online and on TV around the world, it marked the dawn of a new era in American politics.

When his predecessor, George W. Bush, had entered office eight years earlier, Obama was an obscure state senator still struggling to pay off his student loans and facing a debt from his failed campaign for Congress in 2000, wondering if he should give up on politics and pursue a more lucrative legal career. But on this day in 2009, Obama stood as the leader of the most powerful country on earth.

Since his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, people who listened to Obama were wondering, “Why can’t he be the president?” Obama was asking himself the same question. In January 2007, he answered it by defying conventional wisdom and announcing his campaign for president. Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, recalled, “There was always a joke between my mom and Barack that he would be the first black president.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu told Obama during his 2006 trip to Africa, “You are going to be a very credible presidential candidate.”

But few pundits had much faith in Obama’s campaign. Conservative writer William Kristol famously declared, “Barack Obama is not going to beat Hillary Clinton in a single Democratic primary. I’ll predict that right now.” Like so much else Kristol has written, this prediction was dead wrong.

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