Talk:Barack Obama/Archive 11

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Archive 5 Archive 9 Archive 10 Archive 11 Archive 12 Archive 13 Archive 15


Presidential campaign section

The presidential campaign section in this article is a summary of the sub article expanding on the same topic. As a summary, it should be kept relatively short. For example, a major edit condensed the section in December, removing events before February 2007, including details about the Insight article and related media controversy that it seems some editors here would like to see reinstated. My own view is that we should not burden a summary section with excessive details, and that the topics currently addressed there already cover notable elements of the campaign that are most relevant to this article. Although the Nevada results still need to be added, we should take care that the section does not become burdened with extensive reporting of election results. There will be lots more to report over the coming weeks, so additions should be made while also weighing the possibility of removing or condensing more dated information that would be better to include in the sub article. Open to hearing other views. --HailFire (talk) 12:36, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

I think we should add Nevada now, before South Carolina. And then we can talk about whether to remove all of the results or what from this main article: we don't want to stop to talk while holding off adding a loss. And I still question the NH rounding up of the .5 - it's minor, but let's add the actual percentages as we did for Iowa. Tvoz |talk 10:14, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

There is vandalism in the first paragraph: "He is a faggot who should not win down with obama! down with obama BOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =(=(=(=(=(=(" Someone who is a registered editor may wish to change that, since the article is semi-protected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:19, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

The son of Saddam Hussein

What is the source for the claim that he is the son of Saddam Hussein? Clearly they share the family name. John from Minnesota (talk) 16:29, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

  • "Hussein" is among the most common names in the Islamic world; it's hardly a family name, any more than being named "John" or "Paul" would indicate a relationship with Pope John Paul. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 16:31, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
    • If his family has an Islamic background, it should be mentioned in the article. However, islamism isn't mentioned. John from Minnesota (talk) 16:33, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The above is a blatant troll, and should probably be removed rather than responded to. --StuffOfInterest (talk) 16:47, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

      • I dunno; assuming good faith told me the first question was just pig-ignorance. And the second question could just be difficulty with reading comprehension, given that the article does mention his father's and stepfather's backgrounds. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:06, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
You are a generous man, Josh Gordon. I think Stuff is right, but removing the trolling won't help - there will be another, and another, and another. To "John from Minnesota": please read the article. Tvoz |talk 21:08, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Sen Barack Obgama's father was named Barack Hussein Obama and was a Muslim as was his grandfather.

In Kenya, their country there is a substantial per cent of Muslims.

(Hussein is a name from early Muslim martyr esp reverred by Shia Muslims as he was murdered/martyred by Sunni Muslims in warfare in Iraq. This martyr Hussein, who Muslims are named for, was a son in law of the prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam/Muslim religion.)

Also, Sen Obama's mother's second husband (she divorced Obama Sr when Obama Jr was 2 years old) was an Indonesian and the family moved to Indonesia when Sen Obama was about 5-12 yrs old and he attended in Indonesia Muslim schools.

His mother was an aetheist; and Sen Obama claims to have been a member of a protestant church the past 20 or so years.

Nostradamus predicts that in these times, there comes one with a purple turban, a portent

or "sign" that it is well worth looking out for ... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Nostradamus is not a reliable source. Tvoz |talk 06:11, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Did I miss a purple turban somewhere? 'Cos I'm not sure why you're mentioning it here.Flickharrison (talk) 23:26, 27 January 2008 (UTC)


The end of the first paragraph, "He is a faggot who should not win down with obama! down with obama BOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =(=(=(=(=(=(" is inaccurate and nasty. I don't know how to correct it, myself, though. Chuckwrox (talk) 17:58, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Misleading statements

The intro of the article reads "He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with a landslide 70% of the vote in an election year marked by Republican gains." While this factually accurate, it doesn't convey the circumstances of Sen. Obama's victory and is misleading. This statement seems to suggest that Barack was elected in spite of strong support for Republican candidates. However, in Illinois, the Republican candidate withdrew from the race and Barack was running uncontested for some time until the republicans found a replacement. Barack didn't win in the face of broad Republican support; he won because there was no Republican candidate. This statement is misleading and suggests that Barack overcame popular support for the Republicans. While there may have been national support for the Republicans, this was absolutely not the case in the Illinois race. Let's edit it How about "Barack was elected to the Senate in Nov. 2004 with a landslide 70% of the vote after Republican Jack Ryan dropped out of the race..." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:37, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't know, your suggest edit seems a little more POV than the current version. You seem to be implying that his electoral victory is entirely due to Ryan dropping out. --Loonymonkey (talk) 02:22, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Obama's Farrakhan Test

He has been asked in an article publised by Washington Post to distance himself from the anti-semitic views of Louis Farrakhan who has a close friendship with Obama's spiritual advisor Jeremiah Wright. This is a legitimate concern among many political observers and he has neither clarified nor commented on this issue. If in Europe, a political candidate's close friend attends Neo-Nazi meetings, then it would be a huge controversy. Although I have a lot of admiration for his vision and audacity of hope, I find it quite odd that his supporters on this page resort to any means possible to suppress any criticism.Heja Helweda (talk) 03:44, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Well Barack Obama isn't in Europe. And from what I can tell, this isn't a major issue and you have only quote one source which appears to be an editorial. The fact that this isn't a big deal isn't surprising since the views of a friend of Obama's spiritual advisor hardly seem that significant. Besides that, isn't it just as important that Obama distance himself from the homophobic and other racist views of Louis Farrakhan? In any case, I'm pretty sure there are many politicians who are friends with people who are friends with someone who has controversial views. I don't think we always mention the fact since usually the views of a friend of a friend don't affect the person. Heck I'm sure some of Bush's friends of friends have homophobic, anti-Islamic, anti-Arab, anti-semitic etc views but I don't think we mention these in his article either. If anything, Islamo-phobia and anti-Arabism is a far greater problem in the US then anti-semitism so I would say it's far more important that people disassociate themselves from anyone with Islamophobic and anti-Arab views Nil Einne (talk) 10:25, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't see how Jeremiah Wright's connection to Louis Farrakhan is worth mentioning in the article about Obama. Richard Cohen states that he doesn't think Obama shares Wright's view of Farrakhan, and he just advises him not to associate himself in that manner. Nothing of this sort has happened yet, so I don't see why it's worth mentioning. Nishkid64 (talk) 20:52, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Nill Einne, above. This is worse than simply "guilt by association." The fact that we're talking about a friend of a friend makes it especially irrelevant. One editorialist writing an opinion piece doesn't make the issue notable. (and before I get accused of being an "Obama supporter suppressing any criticism" I should mention that I made the exact same argument on the John McCain article last week.)--Loonymonkey (talk) 02:30, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree. They also happen to live a few blocks away from each other, another association?! HG | Talk 06:12, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

In what sense is Barack Obama African American? An FA needs some clarity on this

(Qualification: What I am about to say shouldn't be misinterpreted or simplified. Also, since I am traveling, and dependent on uncertain internet access, I will likely not be able to reply promptly.)

Barack Obama is a biracial American whose father happened to be Kenyan and whose mother happened to be white American (i.e. American of European heritage). Although he likely qualifies as "African American" under a legal definition, it is important to remember that he is not African-American in the usual cultural sense of the word, which includes the inheritance—through one's upbringing or "family memory"—of a culture created in the crucible of slavery, a culture that is the progenitor of a McCoy Tyner, a Little Walter Jacobs, and a Zora Neale Hurston, and more generally of jazz, blues, African-American literature, and much more.

In this respect Obama is no different from his step-siblings whose father happens to be Indonesian; however, in the same respect, he is a little different from a Halle Berry or a Tiger Woods, both of whom have African-American fathers. The Wikipedia Halle Berry page, for example, refers to her "African-American descent." No matter how broadly one interprets the words "African American descent," they don't apply with any urgency to Barack Obama. Genealogically, they clearly don't (since neither of his parents were African-American); culturally, they don't much either, unless one counts the handful of years he served as a community organizer in Chicago or the fact of his marriage to an African American woman as badges of that identity. In that realm of broad identifications though, I'm afraid, there is a long line of claimants of the African American tag, not least of whom are Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Elvis Presley or even Bill Clinton (as Toni Morrison famously had it).

I am ending with the question asked in the section heading: in what sense is Barack Obama "African American?" As a Wikipedia Featured Article, this page needs to address this issue a little less facilely than it does in the Cultural and political identity section. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:08, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Fowler raises a good point that I think should be discussed. While Obama has a father of African ancestry, this does not necessarily make him African-American. For example, in the Tiger Woods biography, he is considered multiracial, not African-American. Woods has an African-American father and an Asian mother. In Obama's case, this seems to be true as well. He was born to a white mother and an African father. According to the definition of multiracial, if someone is less than 75% of a certain race, then that person is considered multiracial. In the past this discussion about Barack has been dismissed, but I think it is a serious question if this article is going to define him as the 5th African-American Senator. It would be a laughable double-standard if Wikipedia defined multiracial as "anyone with fewer than 75% of their ancestors originating from the same broad geographic region should be considered multiracial" but then called Barack Obama African-American. Just think about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:47, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, I don't know that what I am saying involves percentages of racial composition. Traditionally, in American society, the offspring of a black man and a white woman would have been considered black (or African American). Charlie Patton, for example, who by your definition was likely "multiracial," was always considered black; similarly, Lena Horne, who was light-skinned enough to pass, was always considered black. However, the term "African-American," implicitly involves a history: it usually means, a descendant of African-Americans, not just the offspring of a (modern-day) African father and a (modern-day) American mother. I am not saying—as many people have in the press and elsewhere—anything about whether Obama is "black enough" or "white enough," or for that matter, "Christian enough" or "Muslim enough," only that he lacks the history that it takes to be African American. Tiger Woods or Halle Berry, through their fathers, are descendants of African Americans; Obama, however, is not, since is father was not African American, but rather a Kenyan student who was studying in Hawaii. The term Native American, has a similar built-in history. The offspring of a present-day Chukchi father and (say) a white (European American) mother cannot be called native American, although the off-spring of a Navajo father and a white mother can.
I agree with you that if the article is going to make the claim that Obama is the fifth African American senator in US history, and indeed a potential first African-American president, it needs to argue that point more convincingly than it hitherto has. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 21:59, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure your Chukchi people example is particularly applicable in this case as the term Native American is uniquely applicable to indigenous people living on the Americas and is not applicable to indigenous people living on other continents. The problem being, the term African American has not historically been tied to only a subset of blacks living within the US, but is applied equally to all blacks in the US, regardless of them having ancestral ties to American slaves or being first generation immigrants. All in all, call it a fault in the classification system of "race" in the US. Native American is defined as being the descendant of the indigenous people of the Americas (and more specifically of officially recognized tribes within the United States), while the term "African American" is applied across a broad range of people based upon their race rather than their ancestral origins. --Bobblehead (rants) 22:30, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I gave the Chukchi as an example of a people whose ancestors (according to available Y-chromosome evidence), by crossing the Bering Straits, eventually peopled the Americas, in the same way that sub-Saharan Africans, by coming over to the New World—directly on a slave ship or indirectly after many centuries in the Carribean—became the essential ancestors of American Blacks. I grant you, as I did at the outset in my first post, that Barack Obama is legally African-American. (In other words, he can legally check that requisite box in a form, should he so desire.) However, the term African-American, in its commonplace usage, carries within it a reference to an African American history or experience. To be sure, that history doesn't have to go all the way back to slavery, but for a vast majority of American blacks it does, and for the vast majority of the remainder, it goes back at least a few generations. Descendants of Trinidadian Blacks who emigrated to the US in the 1940s would presumably belong to the latter category. What African-American experience is Barack Obama heir to? A Wikipeida Featured Article needs to address this issue. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:57, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
What commonplace usage are you talking about? For a vast majority of Americans anyone that is black is African American regardless of how long they, or their ancestors, have been in the United States. The advent of the term being used only for descendants of slaves has only arisen since Barack Obama started to rise to national prominence and even then it is only limited to the punditry and has not filtered down to the "common American". --Bobblehead (rants) 00:18, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
"The advent of the term being used only for descendants of slaves has only arisen since Barack Obama started to rise to national prominence and even then it is only limited to the punditry and has not filtered down to the 'common American'." Really? Here is an excerpt from the (stable) signed article "African Americans" in Encyclopedia Encarta, written by Leslie M. Harris, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Professor of History, Emory University.

African Americans (American Blacks or Black Americans), racial group in the United States whose dominant ancestry is from sub-Saharan West Africa.... Recent black immigrants from Africa and the islands of the Caribbean are sometimes classified as African Americans. However, these groups, especially first- and second-generation immigrants, often have cultural practices, histories, and languages that are distinct from those of African Americans born in the United States. For example, Caribbean natives may speak French, British English, or Spanish as their first language.... Caribbean and African immigrants often have little knowledge or experience of the distinctive history of race relations in the United States. Thus, Caribbean and African immigrants may or may not choose to identify with the African American community... Like other blacks in the western hemisphere, the overwhelming majority of African Americans were brought to North America as slaves between the 1700s and the early 1800s."

Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:23, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
This is a very common tactic to attack Obama. "He's not really African-American." Whatever. It's typical, and not surprising. These type of users are better left unengaged, as you'll not convince them, no matter what. -- Bellwether BC 01:43, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec)And Barack Obama identifies with the African American community.. What's your point? It is not up to the article on Barack Obama to clarify what it means to be an "African American". Wikipedia conveniently enough has an article for that and that article has a subsection that covers Who is African American. This article includes a link to that article and covers questions of whether or not he is "black enough" and that is all that is necessary. --Bobblehead (rants) 01:50, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Exactly...find a reliable source that says whether he is African American. All this chatter is pointless. Talk pages are not for conversations on race like these. johnpseudo 04:32, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, all three, for replies so cogent that I feel at once awed and humbled. I shall look forward to continuing enlightenment upon my reading of "Who is African American?" In my ignorance, one I share with author of the Encarta article, Prof. Harris, I had made the mistake of linking "African American" to the Middle Passage, and didn't realize that the identity could be chosen. Warm regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 06:30, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think saying Obama is African American runs afoul of Dr. Harris's explanation of "Who is African American". Based on the information you have provided in your blockquote, she seems to be saying that Caribbean and African immigrants can choose to identify themselves as African Americans or not and once they have done so, they are included in that grouping. Obama has identified himself as African American and thus would seem to meet Dr. Harris's explanation. --Bobblehead (rants) 06:49, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Need I remind you again that we are not talking about the legal definition of "African American," but rather commonplace usage. Or are you denying again, as you were earlier, that commonplace usage has anything to do with history, with slavery and the middle passage? Or that, even more remarkably, the advent of Barack Obama has thrust such meanings on the term? The term "African American," BTW, was coined in 1978, by Jesse Jackson, then head of Operation PUSH in Chicago, at a time when, back in Hawaii, Barack Obama was still worrying about his SAT scores. Here is Prof. Harris again from that text quoted above, "Like other blacks in the western hemisphere, the overwhelming majority of African Americans were brought to North America as slaves between the 1700s and the early 1800s."

Of the 86 articles in Encyclopedia Encarta that have "African American" in the primary or secondary titles—articles like, "African American History," "African American Music," "Civil Rights Movement by African Americans," "Segregation of African Americans in the US," "African American Inventors," "African American Dance," "African American Speech," "Martin Luther King," "Jazz," "Blues," "Frederick Douglass," "Gospel," "Harlem Renaissance," "George Washington Carver," and many more—can you guess how much content is devoted to even the Black Americans of Caribbean heritage like Sidney Poitier or Harry Belafonte, let alone the newcomers of the Kenya-Hawaii variety like Obama? Precious little. Why do you think that is?

As for any suggestions above that I am but the latest Obama-basher, let me profess equally burning disinterest in the entire field of candidates that have been thrust upon us this election season. The only reason why I am here is that the Obama article is an FA and I've had an interest both in the selection and quality of FAs for some time. It started with the FAs Louis Slotin and Western Chalukya architecture, whose selection process I thought was defective, and my suggestions for whose improvement can be found littered in the FA reviews. Then, a few days ago, after re-reading a year-old interview with Jimbo Wales in the New York Times, and after seeing him repeatedly pressed there on whether Wikipedia content was primarily authored and controlled by teenagers (and, by implication, showcased that attendant level of knowledge), I decided to pick a more "current" FA, and that alone explains my presence here.

Again, all I am suggesting is that somewhere in the lead something more specific be said about Barack Obama's status as an African American (and therefore the claim of his being the fifth African American in this and third in that). An FA needs that, especially since "African American" or "Black American" are terms whose subjects have long and tortured histories. It is not enough, in a later section, to pass the buck to another Wikipedia article, "Whos is an African American?"; it has to be done in the lead, albeit briefly, and up front. The topic is far too controversial to finesse (and likely to become even more so in the coming months). I will be happy to do that myself, and with greater precision, once I am no longer traveling and have easier access to the sources. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Please stop. Obama is identified in multiple reliable sources as "African-American." Your original research is of no account. -- Bellwether BC 14:58, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Are you even reading what I am saying? I am acknowledging that he is legally African American, but also that the overwhelming majority of African Americans in the US, as stated by Prof. Harris in the Encarta article quoted above, are descendants of American slaves, and therefore part of a history, which Obama is not. All commonplace usage of "African American" (as listed above in "African American music," "African American literature," etc.) involve connections to that history. Find me one among your multiple reliable sources that say anything to the contrary. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:45, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You are pushing a fringe-POV that Obama isn't "black enough", and doing so by synthesizing primary sources, which is the definition of original research. That's simply not allowed. -- Bellwether BC 15:49, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Dunkelweizen (talk) 15:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Far from it. The "Black Enough" arguments (which I allude to, and distance myself from, in my second post above) have, among other things, to do with racial lineages; my argument is simply that the word "African American" in the US is used primarily for people whose ancestors survived the middle passage and slavery, and who are therefore part of a history (and experience). It has nothing to do with Obama's mother being white, but rather with neither parent being African American. If Barack Obama's two parents had been first generation black immigrants from Kenya and Tanzania (say), he would still not be African American in such usage. As for synthesizing anything, the Encarta article I quoted above is a signed tertiary source. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:12, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Bobblehead and Bellwether. The terms are commonly used without regard to legality or specifics of "racial lineage" - he self-identifies as both black and African American, and uses the terms interchangeably as most people do. This is OR/ synthesis, POV and not allowed. Tvoz |talk 16:36, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
No disagreement that common usage has little to do with legalities and racial lineage; however in common usage, the term "African American" comes with a history. I will provide examples of such usage in JSTOR sources soon. Meanwhile, here is one, from the very first source cited in Wikipedia's own article African Americans, which I was enjoined above to read for my edification. The article is the report "Black Diversity in Metropolitan America," by John R. Logan and Glenn Deane, Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research, University at Albany, August 15, 2003. The article distinguishes between, African Americans, Afro Caribbeans, and Africans. And here is an excerpt:

"The number of black Americans with recent roots in sub-Saharan Africa nearly tripled during the 1990’s. The number with origins in the Caribbean increased by over 60 percent.... Black Americans of all ethnic backgrounds are highly segregated from whites and disadvantaged in comparison to them. Yet beneath this communality born of the color line are substantial differences between the majority of blacks with historical origins in slavery and in the rural South and new, growing minorities from the Caribbean and Africa. Nearly 17% of recent growth in the black population is due to increases in these new groups.... The newcomers have numerous advantages compared to African Americans. Their own education levels and incomes tend to be higher. They not only typically live in somewhat different neighborhoods, but in most metro areas these neighborhoods have a higher socioeconomic standing."

While I marshal my JSTOR sources, why don't you, for your part, scour your pool of WP:RS, WP:NPOV, and WP:NOR reliable sources for usage of the term "African American" for first- or even second- generation African or Caribbean immigrants in the US? As for self-identification, can Hillary Clinton then self-identify herself as both black and African American, should she so choose in the next census? George Bush then self-identify himself as black and, in the scant remaining lame-duck time, become the first African-American president yet? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 17:57, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
"...can Hillary Clinton then self-identify herself as both black and African American, should she so choose in the next census?" With this ludicrous hypothetical, you have completely--utterly!--revealed yourself for what you are. I recommend that all further posts from this editor be summarily ignored, and edits to the main article attempting to insert this POV be reverted on sight. -- Bellwether BC 18:17, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm afraid, I have very little interest in any of the candidates. The only reason I mentioned Hillary Clinton is that she is the obvious counterpoint; not someone I particularly care for myself. I have now changed subject of my sentence above to another person I don't particularly care for, if that will make you happy. The point I'm making is that common usage is not determined by the choice of one individual; in other words it is different from "self usage." Meanwhile, I will collect my JSTOR sources in a separate section below and await yours in turn. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
(undent) However you parse the words, whichever white person you choose to insert into your ludicrous hypothetical, it remains a ludicrous hypothetical. Placing actual white people into the hypothetical reveals you for what you are: someone actively interested in undermining Obama's claims to "blackness." I should never have responded to your post, but it's so over-the-top and POV that I felt I needed to do so. Also, I would strongly recommend actually starting a new discussion after someone places the archiving tags on this one. It's considered rude to remove them, in my opinion. -- Bellwether BC 19:23, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Wow, agreed once again. Even with everything considered, it's ultimately fair to say that Obama is an African-American; he says it, others say it, and as has been well-established, it's perfectly fair to say it. The existence of multiple commonly-used definitions for "African-American" is utterly immaterial. Dunkelweizen (talk) 19:35, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't worry about the unarchiving of the discussion. I gave permission for anyone to revert the edit if they didn't agree with my closing. --Bobblehead (rants) 19:26, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
I guess I just don't see what this discussion is accomplishing. With his outrageous hypotheticals, he has completely revealed his agenda. I think we should ignore him, and summarily revert any edits he attempts to make to the main article that would advance such a distincly POV position. -- Bellwether BC 19:34, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Whether or not he has an agenda is immaterial. If he attempts to make edits to the main article supporting his position, they can be reverted under WP:NPOV, WP:OR, or WP:SYN. But yes, ignore is the best option at this point. --Bobblehead (rants) 19:47, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You are of course welcome to impute whatever agenda you want, but you will really be barking up the wrong tree if you think my motivation has anything to do with Barack Obama himself or his politics. My motivations, as I have repeatedly mentioned above, have to do with English usage, especially in Featured Articles. If you want to take me on (as it were), you'd be better off examining the this post in the featured article Lion or this post in the Feature Article India. Be warned too that I know a thing or two about reliable sources, so that any knee-jerk reverts in the name of WP:POV or WP:OR, will see this page, featured article or not, in mediation.
As for my rudeness in reopening the archived page, why was it not equally rude of user:Bobblehead to close it in the first place without any prior consensus? I will be collecting my sources in a separate section below and will not now revisit this section. user:Bobblehead is welcome to archive the discussion now, without, of course, adding the gratuitous caption of her/his making. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:37, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
  • No one is "taking you on." We're simply stating, as a matter of fact, that if you attempt to insert your POV as outline above, into the article, it will be removed. Additionally, threatening to yank an FA into mediation if you don't get your way probably isn't your best play here, and reflects even more poorly on your motives. -- Bellwether BC 21:05, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Retrying this. --HailFire (talk) 00:02, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


His father is identified in the article as "Barack Obama Sr." Why then isn't the son identified using "Jr."? I've never heard of a "Sr." whose son was not a "Jr."Ferrylodge (talk) 21:25, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

There isn't a hard and fast rule about what happens with a "Jr." after the "Sr." dies and ultimately it is up to the person if they continue to reference to themselves as Jr. following their father's death, or if they "move up". In the case of Barack Obama, his lack of a son that shares his name adds an extra layer of ambiguity because the death of his father allowed him to drop the suffix entirely and that seems to be the route he took. In most cases the addition of Jr. or Sr. is not a legal name, but is just an addition used to differentiate the father from the son. So the birth certificate of a person that shares their name with their father will frequently not include Junior, but will just be their name (So Barack Hussein Obama, rather than Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.). --Bobblehead (rants) 23:38, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Sounds reasonable.Ferrylodge (talk) 00:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Wasn't he known as "Barry Obama" in Indonesia? "Indonesia is home to several of the most radical Islamic schools in Southeast Asia, some with alleged terrorist links. But Solichin, who proudly pointed to a photo of a young Barry Obama, as he was known, said his school is not one of them."[1]Ferrylodge (talk) 01:02, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

It appears to depend on which source you find and who you ask. According to his records at the Catholic school and childhood friends, he was Barry Soetoro.[2][3] --Bobblehead (rants) 01:11, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Since the sources conflict, and since the presently cited sources do not support the sentence, maybe it would be best to just say: "In 1969, he transferred to the Basuki school, which he attended thru 1971, and where he was known as "Barry".[14][15]Ferrylodge (talk) 01:19, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Is it really necessary to clarify that he was known as "Barry" as a child? --Bobblehead (rants) 01:52, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I notice that "Barry" is already in footnote 9, so maybe we can leave it out of the Indonesia text. But I disagree with you about leaving the "I want be President" essay out of the text; if it's not a coincidence, then it's a very interesting factoid indicative of a very long-standing goal.Ferrylodge (talk) 01:56, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Just so you know, Britannica, does say, "Barack Obama, born August 4, 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S., in full Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. ..." Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:31, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Kindergarten through Grade 4 schooling

I've restored the previous text. Before readding, please justify why any additional details would be useful, and explain why readers seeking that level of detail should not just read the cited sources, as they would for any other part of the article. --HailFire (talk) 02:00, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I see that you have deleted the wikilink to the Basuki school. That's been in the article for a couple weeks. I don't see the harm in mentioning that he attended that school, after attending a Catholic School where he was enrolled as a Muslim. Doesn't seem like undue weight to me.Ferrylodge (talk) 02:06, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the section was in conflict with WP:UNDUE. Why is it a problem to have his early schooling mentioned in the article? Nishkid64 (talk) 02:18, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Nishkid64, and I'd also note, Hailfire, that you perhaps inadvertently removed the primary source about his early education: Nedra Pickler, "Obama Debunks Claim About Islamic School", Washington Post (January 24, 2007). And anyway, the text ought to mention that he attended the Basuki school, after attending a Catholic School where he was enrolled as a Muslim. Is there some problem having text or references that suggest he might have once been a Muslim? If so, I think that concern is misplaced. American voters are sophisticated enough to understand that there should be no religious test for the presidency.Ferrylodge (talk) 02:43, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with HailFire. The extraneous details about Indonesia and phrases like "where he enrolled as a Muslim" seem intended simply to foster the incorrect impression that Obama was once Muslim. --Loonymonkey (talk) 02:47, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
If the article were to say that he "attended the Basuki school after attending a Catholic School", then the misimpression would be that he was Catholic. I do not think that the Washington Post was trying to create any misimpression by adding that he was enrolled as a Muslim, but rather was trying to prevent a misimpression.
I'm getting the sense that there may be some phobia about mentioning that Barack Obama was raised in a family with a Muslim stepfather. Is that fact so radioactive, that we cannot even mention the two schools he attended in Jakarta, and so radioactive that we cannot even include the Washington Post article in the footnotes?Ferrylodge (talk) 02:57, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
The religion of his stepfather is no more radioactive than the religion of the grandparents that he lived with for 8 years. Religion simply was not important to the people that raised Obama and classifying them with a religion requires the addition of qualifications about what religion meant to them. Saying Obama's stepfather was Muslim implies that he was actually a practitioner of that religion when all evidence points towards him being non-practicing. --Bobblehead (rants) 04:27, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
It would be good to briefly mention the schools Obama went to, instead of avoiding that subject. I think that can and should be done briefly without getting tangled up in religious issues. What's wrong with saying that Obama attended the Basuki school after transferring from a Catholic School? And we can briefly say that he was enrolled at the Catholic school as a Muslim, because his step-father followed a brand of Islam. Period.
This would be entirely accurate. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers, a few neighbors said. But Soetoro usually was too busy working....In his autobiography, Obama said Soetoro followed the same kind of Islam as many Indonesians." Obama wrote in Dreams from My Father: "Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam...."Ferrylodge (talk) 04:55, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Bobblehead, Looneymonkey and HailFire - we've been over this many times, and i wonder why this change was made when there is a discussion going on right hereabout it with editors objecting to it and clearly no consensus for the change. Tvoz |talk 09:31, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Tvoz, I have no desire to spend hours doing battle with you again. As you must know very well, the objections above were related to mentioning that Obama or his stepfather may have been Muslims. The material that you just deleted from the article (i.e. in the second paragraph of the Early Life section[4]) said nothing whatsoever about that subject. But you win. You have again successfully thrown your weight around for no discernible reason.Ferrylodge (talk) 18:01, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Why are you personalizing this? What I said above is that there is an ongoing discussion here, and given the many, many discussions about these same 4 years in his childhood that have gone on here on these talk pages in the last year or two, it seems to me the appropriate action is to wait until we have agreement, not assume agreement. HailFire reverted to what we've had as stable text for a while and brought it here to talk which is underway. I reverted to HailFire because the edit did not reflect consensus and wasn't well worded, seeming to me to raise questions ("though he was not Catholic" - so, what was he?); he "transferred" in second grade (at age 8) - was this some decision on his part, as was his transferring from Occidental to Columbia? since likely not do we then need to say why his mother moved him to a different school? And the way it was rendered as its own paragraph gives much more weight to these four childhood years than they deserve in the main text, nor am I convinced that the names of schools that he attended for 2 years each at age 6 and 8 are notable enough for the main text. Punahou is a different story - he attended from 5th grade through high school which is more significant, and Punahou also happens to be a notable school unto itself without the Obama connection which obviously the two schools in Indonesia are not. We are constantly trying to keep the length in check, and I agree with HailFire's point that readers can find that level of detail in the sources, it's not needed here in the text. The edit summary was mistaken that it satisfied everyone, so I reverted to the original. Tvoz |talk 00:54, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for giving your explanation. Your reason is now discernible, though I disgree with it.Ferrylodge (talk) 01:02, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

No Platform?

Given that Obama is a presidential candidate, I would have expected to see a section covering whatever position information is out that might be expected to constitute his political platform. Was a decision taken somewhere that that wasn't a fit topic for WP, or is it just that no one's done it? --Baylink (talk) 20:01, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Look here Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008 Jons63 (talk) 20:04, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
I looked, where is the platform?--Nowa (talk) 01:06, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
You can also look at Political positions of Barack Obama. --Bobblehead (rants) 01:09, 29 January 2008 (UTC)


Seriously, I don't know how this merits a featured article or any kind of kudos from the press. It reads like a campaign biography. There should be a questionable neutrality flag on it. No mention of the Rezko scandal? Mr Obama may yet be deposed and/or required to testify in this upcoming trial. Not up to snuff at all. I am unimpressed Awomanforachange (talk) 10:04, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry you're unimpressed. See the section on Personal life, which mentions Rezko and includes a link to the separate article Antoin Rezko. Tvoz |talk 10:09, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Why wouldn't that be in a "controversy" section? It is beyond his "personal life" He used his position and/or status to get millions in government funding for Rezko's projects. And he "returned" $80,000 of nearly $170,000 in campaign contributions raised for him by Rezko. That's political, not personal. One sentence is not more than lip service at any rate, compared to all the apple-polishing about what bills he sponsored. The article on Rezko is problematic all on it's own. It has a neutrality warning. Awomanforachange (talk) 10:41, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Already doing the GOP's work for them? Karl would so appreciate it. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 15:39, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not our job to make decisions on matters based on whether the opposition party may or may not relish using a controversy. I believe the term "slum landlord" was used in the debate last night, making the issue a bit more prominent in the campaign. Any controversy being discussed between the candidates has a certain level of relevance. NoSeptember 16:07, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
That's true. If the issue becomes more prominent in the campaign (as seems to be happening), it will need to reflected here. Seems more of a campaign issue than a biography issue so I imagine it would be more of an issue in the Campaign article. --Loonymonkey (talk) 16:20, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

It was mentioned the other night in the debate, Barack himself went on t.v. the next morning to discuss the issue, the LA Times wrote a piece about Barack and Rezko; I don't see why it's not in this article. I would argue that it has received more press coverage and more attention than other topics included in this bio. Why not put in? Insert a couple lines about it, defend the man if you want, but this bio has serious POV issues if Rezko's name doesn't come up at all. How can this article be a fair and balanced look at Barack Obama if Rezko is not mentioned at all? Even with Rezko, this article still reads like an Obama campaign ad. I'm surprised there's no tag at the end, "I'm Barack Obama, and I approve of this Wikipedia page." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:14, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

If anywhere, it belongs on the presidential campaign article, i.e. the Clinton-Hsu connection. Take it there. johnpseudo 18:46, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

John, Rezko has nothing to do with his Presidential Campaign. He was involved with Rezko long before he was a Senator and long before he was considering a run for President. He had broken off ties with Rezko before he sought the nomination. So to say Rezko belongs on his presidential campaign article is simply a bad judgment and a misunderstanding of the circumstances of the relationship. It belongs here, just like Watergate would belong with the Nixon page, or Monica Lewinsky would belong with the Bill Clinton page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:58, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Obama's time of employment and for a law firm representing Rezko are referenced here and in his book as working as a n advocate for housing for the poor. I believe he was on the other side. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fronbi (talkcontribs) 21:51, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

user:Fowler&fowler's references for the description of Obama as "biracial," and for common usage of "African American"

I am collecting references below, which I will soon enclose in a collapsible box. This section has only references and quotations. Please don't intersperse them with comments. Please feel free, however, to comment in a separate section. Thanks. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
Tertiary Sources
  • Encyclopedia Encarta Well, here is how the Encarta article on Obama—which is quite complimentary to him, BTW—begins: "Barack Obama, born in 1961, Democratic member of the United States Senate from Illinois and candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2008 presidential election. Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, also named Barack Obama, belonged to the Luo tribe of Kenya, where he grew up in a small village. He won a government scholarship to study abroad and was the first African student at the University of Hawaii. There he met Ann Dunham, a fellow student originally from Kansas. She had moved to Hawaii with her parents in 1959. The young interracial couple married in 1960, when miscegenation was still illegal in more than half of the United States."1
If Encarta can be so direct off the bat—and by so doing, make Obama's ethnicity irrelevant—to properly focus on the man himself, why is Wikipedia tripping itself at every step over whether Obama is legally African-American or only so according to the US Congress office (in turn a result of the 2000 Census, when citizens, for the first time, were given the option of choosing the ethnicity, "African American.")? Why not simply throw out the "African-American" fifth, or third, or first entirely? Best to serve up Obama unvarnished, without the aid of confusing labels. His is a remarkable story regardless. What if his parents were both black immigrants from Haiti, but he preferred not to call himself "African American," would his story be any less remarkable?
1. "Barack Obama," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2007 © 1997-2007 Microsoft Corporation.
Secondary Sources
Peer-reviewed Academic Journals, Academic and Official Reports, and Monographs

More coming ... Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:37, 30 January 2008 (UTC) Last updated Fowler&fowler«Talk» 23:57, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

A note on original research

For those who wish to place their original research into the article, please read this link before attempting to do so. -- Bellwether BC 23:58, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

  • A further note: adding more synthesized references to the list does not change the fact that they constitute "synthesis" of primary sources, and thus violate the OR policy linked above. -- Bellwether BC 01:15, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that helpful note. Speaking of POV, synthesis, and—dare I say—spin, perhaps you would like to fix this sentence in the lead, "He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with a landslide 70% of the vote in an election year marked by Republican gains?"
Hint1: The 70% had something to do with an incandescently brilliant Icarus flying all way from Maryland to Chicago and breathlessly grabbing an Illinois Driver's license just hours before tossing his Republican hat in the ring. (And wasn't quite the Democratic breakwater in the Republican surge).
Hint2: Here is Encyclopedia Encarta's version, "In the general election held in November 2004, Obama won in a landslide with 70 percent of the vote, aided in part by months of scandal and upheaval in the Illinois Republican Party."
Hint3: Here is Encyclopaedia Britannica's version, "In the general election campaign, Obama's Republican opponent was forced to withdraw after details of his divorce proceedings came to light. The state Republican party then brought in Alan Keyes, a conservative radio talk-show host and former diplomat who moved to Illinois from Maryland for the contest." Fowler&fowler«Talk» 13:19, 31 January 2008 (UTC)


Please protect this article. With Super Tuesday coming up next week, it is important that vandalism and misleading edits be specifically prevented, on the page of all prominent candidates. Ashwinr (talk) 00:14, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Not necessary. --HailFire (talk) 21:07, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Lack of neutrality in Obama article

As has been commented upon numerous times on this article's talk page, this article is far from neutral and often reads like an advert. I am placing a POV tag on the article which should not be removed until the neutrality issues are resolved. The lack of neutrality includes the following topics.

  • Insufficient coverage of Obama's involvement with Rezko, including extent of funding, the purchase of Obama's home and adjacent lot with Rezko involvement.
  • The lack of mention of Obama 17 year plus friendship with the indicted Rezko
  • The lack of coverage of early religious upbringing of Obama
  • The lack of coverage of Obama's absenteeism on Congressional voting
  • The lack of coverage of the Muslim world's opinion of Obama's religion
  • The lack of coverage of Obama's role in denying survival care for prematurely born infants, when Obama was in the Illinois legislature
  • The lack of coverage of multiple slum properties in Obama's Illinois district, which properties fell into slum standing under management by Rezko at the same time Obama's law firm was representing Rezko and helping him acquire more properties which Rezko would then neglect
  • The lack of coverage of criticisms of other foreign leaders such as the Prime Minister of Australia

The above is a partial list of items whose coverage has been eliminated or sanitized. Let us have more respect for the readers of Wikipedia than to use this as a platform for advertizing. Decoratrix (talk) 00:38, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Please read the talkpage before aggressively placing neutrality tags. These issues (every one of them) has been extensively dealt with above. As such, I've removed your spurious tag. -- Bellwether BC 00:54, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Congressional History

I noticed this on the page without an actual source for proof of this matter.

As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, Obama co-sponsored the enactment of conventional weapons control and transparency legislation, and made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In the 110th Congress, he has sponsored legislation on lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for returned U.S. military personnel.

It think that this is not true. Not unless there is proof of him actually signing documents of this matter, it should be removed. Nicknyte (talk) 19:17, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Where can I learn about Barack Hussein Obama Neutrally?

I would like to learn more about this man, but in a neutral fashion...neither a "for" or "against"...I just want an objective source of information on him. This article is obviously cheerleading Obama all the way. The support for Obama in this article is so blatantly obvious it just oozes out of the text. This article is severely lacking in neutrality, but thats not a surprise. This is wikipedia! Well known for bias. I want to learn about Obama, but this is not a good place. I don't want a conservative source either. Does anyone know a neutral source of information on Obama? Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I think that when you include his middle name, which he does not use, you betray your own bias. I do not see anyone asking where they can find information about Rudolph William Louis Giuliani, or commenting about Willard Mitt Romney. A Google search on Obama returns well over 4 million web pages, so I would suggest starting there. Paisan30 (talk) 05:14, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Well said, Paisan. Tvoz |talk 05:26, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, Paisan. Besides I don't think an article makes it to FA if it had contested POV points. HoosierState 05:29, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that this is a good WP article. However there is nothing special about FA status. I see many on the main page that are clearly not NPOV. The poor reader could also check out some of the articles linked for more info. Steve Dufour (talk) 06:03, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
If it's biased to include the middle name, I wonder if Wikipedia should perhaps remove it from the first sentence - or is it normal to have a person's full official name as the start of the article? Interestingly, if you look up Bill Clinton, his III is only given in brackets afterwards, and "Bill" is inserted in quotes into the middle of his bolded name. So clearly there is some variation. (talk) 12:40, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I would also like to learn more about Barak Obama from neutral unbiased sources. His wiki page reads like it was written by his campaign staff. There's a lot of spin there.```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Illinois777 (talkcontribs) 22:51, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

After a relatively cursory glance, it seems pretty neutral to me. It may not be perfectly NPOV, but it certainly doesn't seem like it was written by his campaign staff. Balderdash707 (talk) 06:27, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Though not a part of his campaign staff, I know one of the biggest Obama campaign organizer my University contributed/edited chunks of this article specifically to create a more favorable image of Obama. Though I realize the person who brought up the issue appears not to like Obama much (as you all have suggested with the inclusion of his middle name), he/she still makes a very valid point. The article is nowhere near NPOV, though personally I can't blame Wiki editors entirely. I tried looking at many of the sources of information while looking through his articles. Most of the ones I've seen come from sources that openly support Obama or have generally written articles in his favor throughout this entire primary campaign. Unfortunately, given the current state of the media, and wikipedia's dependence on it as a source, I'm afraid there is no neutrality on Obama. I do believe Wiki editors have done their best to make the articles sound neutral, taking facts out after the spin make it very hard to discern what's a fact and what was an exaggerated POV of his experience and stance on many issues. As a lukewarm supporter of Obama, I've never been all too fond of the media spin on his whole campaign, but his message seems genuine. As for finding a NPOV, my best suggestion would be to search for articles with an Obama spin (not hard to find), then find some with a Hillary spin (if it's possible), and try your best to come to your own conclusion. FantajiFan (talk) 20:51, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Pete Rouse

Hi. I'm seeking additional reliables sources for background bio and other info on Pete Rouse, chief of staff. Would like to do this bio as a DYK. Thanks! HG | Talk 04:27, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Greetings. Glad to report that Pete Rouse is about be go onto the Main Page via Did you know.... So, if you can find any other info about him, this would be a great time to add it to the new article! Thanks. HG | Talk 03:43, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Note to Prester John

Regarding the edit you reinserted here today, the cited source[5] provides no verification for our saying that "Obama campaigned on" this issue. It only quotes a supporter's view or expectation. The supporter says: "I think when the Latino community hears Barack's position on such an important and controversial issue, they'll understand that his heart and his intellect is with Latino community." Note the use of future tense. You've not provided any WP:RS with clear evidence of Obama's political advocacy on this issue. I've reverted the edit. --HailFire (talk) 22:04, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Here is the lead paragraph from the source provided;

"Sen. Barack Obama easily won the African American vote in South Carolina, but to woo California Latinos, where he is running 3-to-1 behind rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, he is taking a giant risk: spotlighting his support for the red-hot issue of granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants."

To accurately represent the reference we would have to use language such as "spotlighted" instead of "campaigned" (which I happen to believe is more encyclopedic). Would you accept the addition if I changed the language to more accurately reflect the reference? Prester John -(Talk to the Hand) 01:05, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

No, because the cited source offers no evidence of political advocacy by Obama on this topic. --HailFire (talk) 21:25, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

Um, except for the paragraph from the source which I quoted above??????? Let me spell it out.

"Sen. Barack Obama easily won the African American vote in South Carolina, but to woo California Latinos, where he is running 3-to-1 behind rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, he is taking a giant risk: spotlighting his support for the red-hot issue of granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants."

Prester John -(Talk to the Hand) 00:13, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Where does the source provide evidence of this as a high-profile topic of political advocacy by Obama that would merit its inclusion in the section? --HailFire (talk) 07:10, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

In the very same section I have highlighted above. There is no doubt that Obama's position on grant drivers licenses to illegal aliens is high profile; Here, let me highlight another part of that reference.

"Sen. Barack Obama easily won the African American vote in South Carolina, but to woo California Latinos, where he is running 3-to-1 behind rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, he is taking a giant risk: spotlighting his support for the red-hot issue of granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants."

Dual Citizenship

Barack Hussein Obama holds dual citizenship with Kenya. This should be public knowledge.

Under the Independence Constitution of Kenya, Obama became a Kenyan citizen on December 12, 1963. (talk) 05:24, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

There are quite a few of us who hold dual citizenship so it doesn't seem too remarkable.--Ѕandahl 05:56, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Except most people with dual citizenships acknowledge it. Unless something can be found indicating that Obama has accepted his Kenyan citizenship, I'm not sure it warrants mention in the article. --Bobblehead (rants) 17:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

That is impossible. The Kenyan Citizenship Act ( requires 1) voluntary registration by those of Kenyan descent who are born elsewhere, 2) the renunciation of citizenship to any other country, 3) residence in Kenya for at least 5 years. As a natural-born US citizen who has not given up his American citizenship and has not lived in Kenya for five years, Obama is not eligible to be a Kenyan citizen. Furthermore, Edwin Okong'o, editor-in-chief of Mshale, has written that Obama does not hold Kenyan citizenship, although he is very popular there. "Likewise, the fact that Obama doesn't hold Kenyan citizenship, or speak any Kenyan language, is insignificant.[...] ( This is just another pathetic smear, albeit a clever one: instead of claiming that holding dual citizenship with Kenya is wrong (and risking a charge of racism), it's his supposed deception that makes it so outrageous. --- signed, guy who can't log in at work

Text flow in early life and career section

I restored some text to the notes for better text flow. Open to hearing other views on this, but please consider the reader before inserting out of sequence details only indirectly related to the section topic. --HailFire (talk) 06:46, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Here is the text in the article as it stands at the moment;

"Obama's parents met while both were attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was enrolled as a foreign student.[1] They separated when he was two years old and later divorced.[2] His father went to Harvard University to pursue Ph.D. studies, then returned to Kenya, where he died in an auto accident in 1982.[3] His mother married another foreign student, Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Soetoro's home country of Indonesia in 1967.[4] Obama attended local schools in Jakarta from ages 6 to 10, where classes were taught in the Indonesian language.[5][6]"

What is odd here is that we get a full detailing of the life of Obamas estranged father yet the man who guided him through his formative years is quickly brushed aside as a "student". Attempts to flesh out the life of Obamas stepfather have been deleted by HailFire under his policy of WP:IDONTLIKEIT, presumably because he worked for the hated evil U.S. Oil Industry. Must......Cleanse......article.......... Prester John -(Talk to the Hand) 07:37, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree with user:Prester John. The glossing over (not just in Wikipedia, but in the media as well) of his Indonesian stepfather's role in the formation of his identity, is part of America's three centuries old (and continuing) binarization of race. (See Samuel Freedman's article in the Jerusalem Post quoted in my list of newspaper references above.) Obama, of course, has contributed to it, for reasons of political expediency perhaps, in a way that someone like Tiger Woods—who famously said, "but what about my (Thai) mother"—has not. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 13:27, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • There's no "glossing over", and your use of such weaselly language to describe the current article, as well as your agreement with the POV-pushing of Prester John out your intentions at the article. -- Bellwether BC 15:43, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Bellwether, it might be time to reread the No personal attacks policy again highlighted at the top of this talk page. Our intentions for an encyclopedia is to inform and educate not censor. Do you disagree with the fact that Obamas stepfather worked for the U.S. oil industry? see this reference in the article;

  • No, now might be the time for you to re-read it. Identifying weasel-words, and categorizing someone's contributions as "POV-pushing" is not a "personal attack." I'll thank you to stop accusing me of such. -- Bellwether BC 21:30, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

"Soetoro worked for the Indonesian government and later a U.S. oil company before he and Obama's mother divorced in the late 1970s. Soetoro died of a liver ailment in 1987 at age 51."

Do you have an opinion on why we get to read about the ultimate fate Obamas father, yet we learn nothing about the man who actually raised him? I have no doubt if Lolo Soetoro worked for UNICEF we would be reading about it. Prester John -(Talk to the Hand) 16:04, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, the interesting psychological details about his dad (Kenyan) are left out too. Here is an excerpt from a review of Obama's first book (by Linda Chavez, former chairperson of the Equal Opportunity Commission):

His father, whom Obama met only once as a 10-year-old, was married and the father of two by the time he met Obama's mother and married her. The circumstances of their marriage—whether he was even free to wed—are sketchy, as is their divorce. One thing is clear, however, Obama's father (also named Barack) was a troubled man. ... After abandoning his new wife and son to attend graduate school at Harvard, the elder Barack met another woman—also white—whom he married, fathering two more children. Obama Sr. returned to Kenya, where his new wife insisted that he give up his African bride, though he frequently paid her visits and fathered at least one, possibly two more sons (the younger son's paternity remains in question because the first wife also had taken other lovers). But this marriage didn't last either, so his father moved on to yet another woman, in a long chain of broken families that ended only with his death in a car accident when Barack was 21. ... Obama tells us less about his mother, who was still alive at the time he wrote this book. She is missing through most of the book. Even when Obama describes his time in Indonesia when he lived briefly with his mother and her second husband, an Indonesian, the details are sketchy. ... What does come across, indirectly, is Obama's sense of loss when his mother sends him back to Hawaii to live with her parents, while choosing to keep his younger half-sister with her. Obama describes his awkward reunion with his grandparents at Honolulu's airport: "suddenly, the conversation stopped. I realized that I was to live with strangers." This can't have been easy on a 10-year-old boy.(Chavez, Linda, "Barack Obama and the Breakdown in Family",, February 16, 2007.)

His silence about his mother, which some have interpreted to be anger, is a common theme in all psychological studies of Obama. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 17:37, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Leading candidate

Can we remove the leading from the opening sentence. The John McCain article doesn't have it? GoodDay (talk) 18:16, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

What's your point? The John McCain article has nothing to do with this article. --Bobblehead (rants) 18:28, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I see what he was trying to say. If you look at delegate counts, no one is really "leading" the democratic race at this point, and it is a little pov-ish. John McCain's leading by a lot more v. Romney than Obama v. Clinton right now, though I don't think any article needs the word right now. Wizardman 18:43, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree. We should have at least a few sources before using the word "leading". johnpseudo 18:45, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

IMHO, we should wait until a candidate from his/her respective party gets a majority of delegates. Then we could label him/her prospective nominee, until he/she actually get the nomination (at the respective National Convention). Then after the Conventions, we call him/her nominee. GoodDay (talk) 18:59, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

  • There are two "leading candidates." As such, I've added the phrase "a leading" to each article. This is not POV, but a simple statement of fact. -- Bellwether BC 19:09, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

:That's acceptable, as it gives consistancy to both sides (Democrat & Republican). GoodDay (talk) 19:14, 31 January 2008 (UTC)

I thought you were adding leading to John McCain?? GoodDay (talk) 19:18, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I've made it clear I don't even watch those articles? If you think that they all need to be consistent, put the phrasing in there, yourself. -- Bellwether BC 00:50, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Can we at least wait until after Februay 5th?? GoodDay (talk) 19:30, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
Better to just say "X is a candidate", "Y is a candidate", "Z is a candidate" than to start characterizing them. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 21:20, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the word is included as a shorter form of "serious contender". For instance, Mike Gravel and Ron Paul are I think clearly not at this point "leading candidates". If the phrase "a leading candidate" is used, indicating there is more than one, I don't think it's necessarily objectionable, and is a rather common usage. John Carter (talk) 21:26, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
  • This has been exactly my point all along. There's no POV in saying that both serious candidates are "a leading candidate." -- Bellwether BC 00:52, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
Agree - I would support "a leading candidate" in Obama, Clinton, McCain and Romney - not because they all have to be equal, but because it is a true statement for all of them. I am less sure about Huckabee, being a distant third at this point. Tvoz |talk 20:07, 1 February 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree about McCain, Romney, and perhaps Huckabee. However, I'll leave those adds to you, as I have no interest in raising the ire of the POV-warriors on that side of the political spectrum. -- Bellwether BC 01:07, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
I wanted to throw my two-sense into this discussion. To me, it seems like using the phrase "leading candidate" without some sort of objective reason why the word "leading" was used is being inherently subjective and NPOV. If there are actual measures by which any candidate is a leading candidate, then these measures should be able to stand for themselves without any classification. If there is a clear and important measure that makes someone a leading candidate (clear lead in delegates or national polls), then this should be mentioned in the intro paragraph, otherwise, it should be left out.Karma Heretic (talk) 17:36, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

No mentions, no references, no links for iowa spreech

I didnt find no reference for any spreech and no links too. The spreech at iowa was historical and it has to be showed or at least mention or cite it.

See Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008. Tvoz |talk 21:23, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Ok, thats not enouth, that sprech made hope on half of world. That sprech was the most seen aboard united states. It HAS to me metioned on the biography. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:12, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

Relationship with lobbyists

Why doesn't this article look into some of Mr. Obama false claims? While he has accussed Ms. Clinton of cozy relationships with lobbyists (with no concrete evidence), he himself as an Illinois state senator gutted an important comprehensive health care bill with unpalatable amendments causing it fail passage after insurance company lobbyists came knocking on his office door.

This first appeared in the Boston Globe: [7] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bostoner (talkcontribs) 20:23, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

One last attempt before an RfC

Since both user:Bobblehead and user:Bellwether BC keep repeating that I have violated WP:OR (including WP:SYN) and WP:RS, without actually provided precise evidence where, here again is the actual edit and supporting citations (the final edit itself will not have unsightly double footnotes):


  1. Scott, Janny. "A Biracial Candidate Walks His Own Fine Line". The New York Times, December 29, 2007. Please also see the thirteen other newspaper articles mentioned above from some of the world's best-known newspapers.
  2. Williams/Zogby Poll: Americans' Attitudes Changing Towards Multiracial Candidates (December 20, 2006), Quote: "More than half (55 percent) of whites classified Obama as biracial after being told that Obama’s mother is white and his Kenyan father is black. Likewise, 61 percent of Hispanics also saw Obama as biracial, the Williams Identity Survey conducted by Zogby International shows. The Zogby Interactive survey polled 2,155 adults from Nov. 1-2, 2006. The poll contained a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points. For blacks, the Obama candidacy is viewed differently as the Illinois Democrat cannot escape the nation’s past racial history. Sixty-six percent of blacks that responded to the interactive poll classified Obama as black."
  3. Hirschman, Charles; Alba, Richard; Farley, Reynolds (2000), "The Meaning and Measurement of Race in the U.S. Census: Glimpses into the Future", Demography, 37 (3): 381–393 
  4. Grieco, Elizabeth M. and Rachel C. Cassidy. March 2001. "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: Census 2000 Brief", US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau, Washington DC 20233.
  5. Williams, David R.; Jackson, James S. (2000), "Race/Ethnicity and the 2000 Census: Recommendations for African American and Other Black Populations in the United States", American Journal of Public Health, 90 (11): 1728–1730 
  6. Hannaham, James. February 2, 2008, "Multiracial man", Quote: "Obama himself, when repeatedly asked, essentially, which side he is on, categorizes himself as 'black' or 'African-American,' ... We have assumed that Obama is a black man largely because he has some African physical characteristics and blood, and because he has defined himself that way. ... Obama has allowed the country to think what it wants about him, perhaps in an effort to reach Americans for whom his intricate multicultural background might prove difficult to parse. As it gets harder for him to deny his biracial heritage -- indeed, as he begins to use it politically, as we saw in Kansas -- will we cease to think of him along those carefully drawn lines?"

Reference 1 (as well as the 13 other newspaper articles above) demonstrates that "biracial" is applied to Obama. Reference 2 demonstrates that a majority of Americans do regard Obama to be biracial; References 3 and 4 explain what choices ("White alone"; "Black or African American alone"; "American Indian and Alaska Native alone"; "Asian alone"; "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone"; "Some other race alone"; and "Two or more races") Census 2000 provides for self-identification of race, whereas Reference 5 (by its title alone, not to mention its content) provides evidence of confusion presented in the term, "African American." References 1 and 6 support the entire appositive phrase, which therefore does not constitute synthesis. Thus far, user:Bellwether BC and user:Bobblehead have not provided any precise objections; indeed by their remarks, they have given scant confidence that they have even understood what the issue is. In the absence of precise objections, I shall be forced to request an RfC, and I am not making a threat, but rather simply following Wikipedia policy on dispute resolution. (Again, if you think I am trolling please discuss this with the FAC director user:Raul654.) Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:57, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Well, 3, 4, and 5 are in this context used for WP:SYN. You're taking the data and drawing your own conclusion, not reporting a reliable source's conclusion. That's synthesis. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 16:06, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
No, as I indicate above, Reference 1 also supports the entire appositive phrase, which therefore does not constitute synthesis, as do many of the 13 newspaper articles mentioned above. References 3, 4, and 5, are provided to merely explain the terms. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:11, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
PS And here is reference, hot off the press from today, which supports the entire phrase (and which I have now added as footnote 6 to the phrase above):
  • Hannaham, James. February 2, 2008, "Multiracial man", Quote: "Obama himself, when repeatedly asked, essentially, which side he is on, categorizes himself as 'black' or 'African-American,' ... We have assumed that Obama is a black man largely because he has some African physical characteristics and blood, and because he has defined himself that way. ... Obama has allowed the country to think what it wants about him, perhaps in an effort to reach Americans for whom his intricate multicultural background might prove difficult to parse. As it gets harder for him to deny his biracial heritage -- indeed, as he begins to use it politically, as we saw in Kansas -- will we cease to think of him along those carefully drawn lines?" Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:38, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The parody was so close to what you actually propose--both in content and sensibility--it slipped by me. You should really read it as a comment/critique of both your message and your methods. -- Bellwether BC 16:59, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

The post below is a parody by an IP. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 16:43, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

How about,

I hope my new version meets everyone's criteria. If there is no objection I will enter it into the article. (talk) 16:24, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

  • No, it does not. Your above notes constitute a violation of WP:SYN. This has been explained to you again and again, by multiple editors. There's no pressing need to alter this FA in the way you are attempting to. In fact, there's a pressing need not to, as doing so violates both WP:SYN and WP:UNDUE. -- Bellwether BC 16:30, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Well then, as absolutely nobody agrees with me or thinks that I am even close to right on this subject, I should waste everybody's time by starting an RFC. (talk) 16:40, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
What do you mean parody? I just think that the whole truth about Obama should be known. We should completely disregard his personal wishes and reinforce racial barriers. I could use other language, how about this:

Looks pretty similar to yours. However, I think the point comes out clearer in mine. (talk) 16:49, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

F&F, I think the mistake you are making is in including Obama's race at all. The reference in the lead to him being African-American does not define him as African-American, it says that he is listed as such by the Senate Historical Office. Your edit would create an explicit reference to his race, which I believe is inappropriate. The fact that he is biracial surely has a place in the body of the article but it is not so relevant to warrant a mention in the introduction any more than Mitt Romney's Mormonism does. Also, I feel it is worth pointing out that the articles of other famous biracial people generally do not refer to them as biracial in the lead, if indeed they refer to their race at all. For example, Bob Marley, Derek Jeter, Halle Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Malcolm X. --Fucube (talk) 19:21, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

No, I don't object to no race being mentioned; either throw out the bit about the Senate Office saying he is the fifth African Amerian senator ... as well, or explain, how Obama—with a Kenyan father and white American mother—gets to be African American (Senate office or not). As simple as that. None of the other pages, make any confusing claims. The Halle Berry page talks about her "African American descent," which in her makes sense, since her father is African American. Neither of Obama's parents are African American. The only reason why the senate office makes that claim is that Obama has self-identified as African American alone in Census 2000 (and in numerous public appearances since), instead of Two races category. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 20:32, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
SO this comes down to the fact that you do not believe that Obama is African American. Well, that's your pov. Please keep it out of the article and stop waisting everyone's time. (talk) 21:03, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
How Obama "gets to be" African-American? Someone should let me know if it's out of line for me to say this, but it's almost as though the assumption is that you're not really African-American unless you're hazed into the club of African-Americanness. That strikes me as unfair. Thousands of African-Americans are born every day who will never have to live under the scourge of Jim Crow, and yet they "get to be" African-American. Do you see how little this matters? Let the man self-identify. Dunkelweizen (talk) 16:23, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
No, you're mouthing the inanities that appear in the media on a daily basis. It has nothing to do with hazing. The term "African American" is widely used (see reference 5, for example, at the top of this section) to mean descendants of people who survived the middle passage and slavery. As I have already indicated before there is a vast (public health and mental health) literature out there which uses "African American" with exactly such meaning. It is used as an "ethnic term," not as a indicator of African lineage, which ultimately all human beings, including both you and I, have. Obama, for example, as a first generation biracial Kenyan-American does not have the same medical and psychological risks that African Americans have. The only reason why Obama is able to get away with the term "African American" is that Census 2000 allowed him that choice ("African American alone"). But it also allowed him the choice, "Two or more races," which he declined; in contrast, Tiger Woods (another biracial citizen, with more claim to "African American," since his father was African American) declined the "African American alone" label, with the remark, "But what about my mother". The strategy of the Obama campaign, as I understand it, from various recent media stories, is to identify him as "African American alone" in the early phase of the campaign (so that he doesn't lose the black vote on the grounds, "He is afraid to be black.") and then, should he lock in the Democratic nomination, sell him as a multiracial person, to the wider white electorate, that would likely be turned off by an African American. Be that as it may. But this is Wikipedia. It is not beholden to how Obama sells himself, or how his opponents sell him. There is a simple underlying truth here. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 17:12, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
So he's a "Kenyan-American" instead of an "African-American" now? Your language is revealing your true position increasingly ("get away with," "gets to be," how Obama "sells" himself, etc. If you were less attached to your position and a little more intellectually honest with yourself, you would probably acknowledge that language is more flexible than you have construed. You would also understand that your average racist probably is concerned less with the circumstances of Obama's eighteenth- and nineteenth-century ancestors than he is with the fact that he exhibits African-descended physical features (as well as whatever racist inferences he makes beyond that). It looks very much to me like you are either threatened or indignant that Obama is claiming something about his family history that is untrue. The extremely high publicity about his family background (it's even in his book) rules this out entirely. Dunkelweizen (talk) 20:27, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
(Clarified) OK, Now that you're making a more reasonable point, I'll try to answer it. Although I was being sort of ironical when I used the expression "first generation Kenyan-American," that is exactly how the children of black immigrants from Kenya (which Obama is on his father's side) refer to themselves. The children of Black African or Black Caribbean immigrants, who according to Henry Louis Gates Jr. now comprise a full three-quarters of the "African-American" student population at Harvard, are nonetheless keen to distance themselves from "native black Americans," who are often seen in terms of the old stereotypes (lazy,shiftless, ...). Obama, to his credit, has always expressed solidarity with "native Black Americans," to the extent of even marrying one, and saying that his choice of "African American," is in effect imposed on him by the larger society; that, if arrested, his mugshot will not be seen as that of your run-of-the-mill biracial American, but as that of a Black criminal.
All that I don't begrudge him. My question ultimately is simple: Why is the fact of Obama being the fifth African American senator, third popularly elected, and only current etc. mentioned at all? Why is that notable? If Obama's parents had been Caucasian immigrants from the Luxembourg or Monaco, his ethnic status would not have made it to the second sentence of the lead. In other words, belonging to a statistical minority alone (Luxembourgian immigrants to the US) is not considered notable.
Alternatively, why does society take especial notice of certain kinds of "minority" achievements ("first Catholic president," "first Black supreme court justice," "first woman Secretary of State," "first gay mayor," etc.), but not others? It is because these achievements are widely seen to have been accomplished in the face of significant obstacles ("women have to work twice as hard"). Not necessarily obstacles in the life of the particular individual who has triumphed, but historical or symbolic obstacles, which this triumph now both acknowledges and transcends. All the racial minorities officially recognized in the US are (at their heart) historical minorities, who faced hardship in the US in some form in their not too distant past. Other forms of hardship are similarly acknowledged: when America gets to have its first (openly) disabled/handicapped President, it will be a notable achievement. My question, then, remains, why is the statement, "Barack Obama is the fifth African American senator, or the third popularly elected, or the only current" notable? What historical or symbolic obstacles does it acknowledge or transcend? And if it is a statement only about a statistical minority, then why is it the second sentence of the lead? Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:57, 3 February 2008 (UTC) Clarified Fowler&fowler«Talk» 22:04, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Where was this argument earlier in this whole thing? Up until now, your whole argument has been rewording it to include other racial references. I completely agree with the new approach, lets remove all references to race. What race he is, whether it is African-American, Biracial, Kenyan-American is not pertinent to anything. He is an American, as required by the Constitution to be President. Jons63 (talk) 02:21, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, you are right. When I first saw the sentence, I felt there was something wrong with it, but I didn't have complete clarity myself, and brought it up in In what sense is Barack Obama African American: An FA needs clarity on this. As I read up on it—notably many recent newspaper stories/articles on Obama's ethnic status—things began to clarify a little. If you see section user:Fowler&fowler's references ..., you will see that in the second paragraph of "Encyclopedia Encarta," I ask for removal of the sentence altogether. In the first edit I actually made to sentence here, I said in my edit summary, "Either don't mention race at all in lead, or mention circumstances of how he is considered African American, ..." However, that edit was soon reverted, leading me to read the literature on Census 2000, as well as the public health (especially mental health) literature on African Americans. The latter, especially, clarified for me why achievement by historically disadvantaged minorities is valued in the US (and indeed in all societies). I reiterated again in my reply to user:Fucube above (this section) that we could just throw out the bit about fifth African American this or that. It was, however, in an exchange with user:Dunkelweizen above, where she/he said, "Let the man self-identify." that it hit me, "Well, under the law, Obama can certainly self-identify as 'African American.' He has the right look for it. But then, with this enlarged meaning of 'African American,' why is the statement, 'Obama is the fifth African American senator ...' notable?"
I am happy to remove that sentence altogether. Encarta, for example, makes no mention of "African American" in its lead (as I have already indicated above). Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 05:30, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

While he may chose to identify as "African-American", Barack Obama is indeed a mixed race American. Of course people will try to claim his as their own. But his father was black and his mother was white. Plus his father didn't participate in his upbrining, his so-called 'white' mother's family did. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

  • The reference to the Senate office should remain in the article. If the United States government has taken a stand on the race of a person, we should not ignore it just because some people dislike the outcome. As far as Wikipedia:Reliable sources goes, it's hard to beat the US goverment on the issue of race. Regardless of what one's opinion is about how the US government handles race issues, it is beyond dispute that they are an authority whose pronouncements cannot be ignored. --M@rēino 17:53, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
The reference is pertinent to the article in general, but is it of significant importance to be in the lede of the article? I do not believe it is that important and should not be in the lede. It should be rewritten into an appropriate place lower in the article. Jons63 (talk) 18:12, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Being the fifth A-A to serve may not be notable enough for the lede, but him being the only A-A in the senate is probably notable enough. Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka both mention their race/ethnicity in their ledes. Granted, they both represented first for their given ethnicity, but Akaka's includes that he's the only of his race/ethnicity serving. Additionally a quick stroll through the articles of the other non-white senators seems to indicate that it is common for race/ethnicity to be mentioned in the lede. Granted, just because it is mentioned the lede in other articles does not mean that it has to be included in the lede of this article, I'm just pointing out that it's not unusual for non-white senators to have their race/ethnicity mentioned in the lede. --Bobblehead (rants) 18:38, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
I think it is notable for the lede - only five in so many years makes it notable, I believe, and apparently so does the Senate historian. Tvoz |talk 20:13, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Mother's Ethnic Background Irrelevant?

While finding a consensus on the appropriate wording is admittedly difficult, omitting any reference to Ann Dunham's ethnic background (and therefore Sen. Obama's multiethnic background and upbringing) seems to be one of the worst alternatives. Mr. Obama has been talking about his mixed heritage and upbringing—and how it has affected his personal and political life; his heritage has been a significant topic of media coverage. Any encyclopedia article about Mr. Obama is woefully incomplete without a reference to his heritage. --ThorstenNY (talk) 21:02, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Unfortunately, I cannot find any information on her ethnicity, but I did add information on her race (white) to the lede. --M@rēino 23:50, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
  • P.S. I should also mention: info on her race was already in the body of the article, where we quote Obama as writing, "he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk." --M@rēino 23:52, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
That;s right, it is already in the article and not needed in the lede. Further, Kenyan and white are not equivalent - Kenyan and American are. That sentence says his father was Kenyan and his mother was American. The very first section of the article itself clearly says that his father was black and his mother was white. Nothing is omitted. Tvoz |talk 23:59, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
His mother's ethnic heritage is not mentioned at all in the intro section, nor is it explicitly mentioned anywhere in the article. It is implicitly referenced by the quote "white as milk", but such a potentially ambiguous reference is not sufficient for an encyclopedia article. (E.g., without additional information, some readers could infer that the mother might have been what used to be refered to as "passing.") The criticism regarding equivalence is a red herring. Obviously, the mixed background of Obama's parents can and should be expressed differently then "Kenyan fater, white mother". --ThorstenNY (talk) 08:26, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Age vandalism

His portrait profile lists his year of birth as 1991, aging him at 16. As a new user, I cannot repair this. Somebody, however, should. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ripscallion (talkcontribs) 23:43, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

The Black Kennedy

I've heard him being called this, but have no citation of it. Does anyone what any? Basketballone10 00:45, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Religion Contradiction

Profile states religion as 'Muslim' while article states 'Obama is himself a devout Christian'. I'm almost certain the latter is true.

Philpill (talk) 16:36, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Which profile says he is Muslim? I did find an oddly placed sentence in the "Early life" section that inaccurately said his father was Muslim and mentioned Obama being a devout Christian. Considering the section is about Obama's early life and Obama's father was not Muslim then and Obama was not a devout christian at that point in time, I've removed the sentence. Does that resolve the contradiction you saw? --Bobblehead (rants) 16:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I figured out what you were talking about. The article was vandalized by another editor, but the change has been reverted, so we're all good now. Thanks for identifying the issue. --Bobblehead (rants) 17:05, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I think it needs to be emphasized more than Obama is a Christian. I've had several people swear to me that he's a muslim and that he said he's a muslim. This needs to be cleared up once and for all, perhaps even being mentioned a top the page. (talk) 15:53, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
People are stupid, and emphasizing his religion is stupid, given that it is not a major emphasis of his campaign. Just because people are stupid doesn't mean we need to emphasize that they're wrong at the top of the page; it should be in the article where it is appropriate. Titanium Dragon (talk) 21:59, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Still, the fact that Obama is a Christian, and that religion is the basis of a major false (indeed potentially defamatory) smear against Obama raises the profile of this element of his personal history. bd2412 T 23:53, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Malia's birthday

Most articles on the Obama children list Malia's birthday as 4 July 1999. I believe this is wrong and that her correct birthday is 4 July 1998, as evidenced by several articles from their campaign in Iowa, which stated that she turned 9 on 7 July 2007. Eg,

90% of the other references to her birthday seem to be copies and miscopies of 1999, apparently from Wikipedia.

Manumoka —Preceding unsigned comment added by Manumoka (talkcontribs) 17:39, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry to sound rude, but who cares? This is an encyclopedia article, not an obituary. Actually even obituaries, don't have exact dates of children's birth. How about other luminaries like Einstein, Gandhi, or Freud, does Wikipedia have exact dates of their children's birth? Unlikely, I think. It is enough to say, "The year 1999 saw the birth of ..." Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:07, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
PS I just realized, you are talking about the year. Sorry. Please correct the year, but throw out the day and month. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:09, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
More apologies! :) Apparently, Einstein's first son's actual date of birth is mentioned (but not the second's). So, you be the judge. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:12, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
It is generally preferred to only include the year on living people that are not notable except for their relation to their parents. Heck, in many cases the name of the children are not listed in articles, just that a son or daughter was born in a certain year.--Bobblehead (rants) 19:02, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Sidley & Austin

The name of the law firm where Barack Obama and Michelle Obama met is "Sidley Austin" not "Sidley & Austin" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:51, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

You are correct. I made the change. --Loonymonkey (talk) 01:03, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Ok, this is obscure - but was it ""Sidley & Austin" at the time they met? And, importantly, would that even matter? (I have no idea...never come across this issue before...) --TheOtherBob 19:24, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Going purely off the article and this source[6], it was known as Sidley & Austin at the time of Obama's employment. The company renamed to Sidley Austin, LLC in 2006.--Bobblehead (rants) 19:46, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Per Wikipedia article, current Sidley Austin, LLP is result of 2001 merger of Sidley & Austin and other firm whose name has since been dropped. So I've restored '88 name, S&A. Andyvphil (talk) 04:52, 10 February 2008 (UTC)


baruch needs disambig Randomblue (talk) 17:45, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Any other common misspellings worth tracking down? TheodoreTest (talk) 05:29, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Third grade essay

What do you think about mentioning the essay he wrote when in third grade saying he wanted to be president someday? It might be interesting to the readers. Borock (talk) 22:43, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

What is the origin of his accent?

Watching him on tv, he seems to have a American Southern accent, but he was born in Hawaii and lived in his formative years in Indonesia. Is it affected to seem more "folksy?" Did he spend time somewhere that this accent was prevalent?

I think his mother's family is from Kansas and that's what his accent sounds like to me. People from the Illinois-Iowa-Kansas-Nebraska region have this sort of sound. (talk) 23:50, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

There is no such thing as an "Illinois-Iowa-Kansas-Nebraska region", linguistically. Southern Illinoians have what could be described as a Kentucky accent; Obama has never lived there. Northern Illinoians either sound like Wisconsinites or else have the classically neutral Midwestern accent (which actually comes from Missouri). Iowans speak just as neutrally. Nebraskans are more culturally close to Denver than any of the places you mentioned, and would at least marginally derive their mannerisms from there. I don't understand the argument that Obama talks like he's from Kansas because his mother's family is from there, given that he himself never lived there. -- (talk) 11:05, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

To be fair, he didn't have a distinguishable accent until he began a national campaign; specifically when he campaigned in southern states. This would be consistent with his varied geographical upbringing and long time spent in the midwest. Scottmkeen (talk) 19:16, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Unrelated questions

I perused the article but can find nothing about two issues that have been bothering me. Did you write about them? First of all: Is it true that Barack took his oaths of office on the Koran? and not the Bible? Secondly: Is it true that Barack will not do the Pledge to the Flag or say the Pledge? Thanks Ekalaka333 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ekalaka333 (talkcontribs) 20:31, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Both of those assertions are false - see the Snopes article debunking them. Obama was sworn in on the Christian Bible, and has actually led the entire Senate in the Pledge of Allegiance on several occasions.[7], [8]. bd2412 T 20:37, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Present vote criticism

There is a section that mentions that he has been criticized by pro-choice people for his present votes on critical legislation. What is not mentioned is that the citation used for this fact states outright that this criticism is baseless. This convenient omission is clear POV. The article is locked now, so I cannot make the correction needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:17, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

The other problem is that the text of the article makes it seem like Obama literally voted "no" on some bills that might be characterized as "pro-choice." Or, in an alternative reading, he voted "no" on some bills that might be characterized as "pro-life." Neither of these claims are supported by the source. What the source does make clear, and the article doesn't mention, is that "present" votes, under the rules of the Illinois State Senate, have the same effect as a "no" vote. I'm an Obama supporter, so it would be inappropriate for me to edit the article. The text "for a series of "present" or "no" votes on late-term abortion and parental notification issues" should be changed to "for a series of "present" votes, which have the same effect as "no" votes in the Illinois State Senate, on late-term abortion and parental notification issues."Mawginty (talk) 17:24, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

I also find this section problematic. I just talked to a friend today who had decided against voting for Obama because of the biased information in this section. Fn 38 even links to an article debunking this voting "present" issue. Why is the article locked for editing? It is not objective in the least. (talk) 00:46, 12 February 2008 (UTC) Denis (11 Feb 08)

The article is locked so that only established editors can make changes. This is due to repeated vandalism. →Wordbuilder (talk) 00:49, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Obama victories

As of February 9th, Barack Obama has won in the presidential primaries the states and territories of:

Lousiana Utah Missouri Illinois Delaware Georgia Connecticut Alabama South Carolina Washington (state) American Samoa and the Virgin Islands —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jrftkd13 (talkcontribs) 04:40, 10 February 2008 (UTC)


Will someone who understands the story of Obama's involvement in, and voting on, the reauthorisation of the Patriot Act, please provide an accurate and reasonably thorough summary. (It seems bizarre that this is missing. Perhaps it was in an earlier version of the article.) Archelon (talk) 00:29, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

Uh-huh. Well, the article may as well just say that he voted for the reauthorisation then, since that seems to be the simple truth. Objections? Archelon (talk) 03:05, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't object to any addition that is relevant, encyclopedic, and properly sourced. If it fails any of these three, then I do object. →Wordbuilder (talk) 03:26, 13 February 2008 (UTC)


This article has a clear bias. I can't see one negative pointed out yet on Hilary's page there are a couple. I know everyone likes Obama and he is a nice guy but this the primary information source for many people and i believe it is morally wrong to present a bias like this. His pros and cons should be listed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Androm (talkcontribs) 18:26, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

If you wish to add anything to the article, please be bold and do so. Remember to cite any information you add to reliable sources. Make sure to write from a neutral point of view. Also keep in mind that "Controversy" sections are frowned upon. Failure to comply with these suggestion will most likely result in your edits being reverted. Rami R 20:04, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Also, I'm changing the "leading" part from his candidacy, and putting "a candidate" for the '08 elections. Executor Tassadar (talk) 06:46, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Please read discussions above and previously - consensus is that "a leading candidate" is accurate and should be included. I'm reinstating it. Tvoz |talk 07:00, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Repost: Pronunciation of his name

It would be very much appreciated if someone (preferably a US native) could record the pronunciation of his name as a free alternative to this page. --Morten LJ (talk) 07:59, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Image:Flickr Obama Springfield 01.jpg

I've realigned this non-lede "extreme aspect ratio" image to the left and increased to 240 pixels. Alternating left and right alignments in sections makes for a better flow of images and text. See also: Talk:Barack Obama/Archive 9#Use of Image:Flickr Obama Springfield 01.jpg in presidential campaign section. Open to other suggestions. --HailFire (talk) 12:44, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Health care statement incorrect

The statement that Barack Obama supports universal health care is erronous. In the campaign debates only Clinton and Edwards were for universal health care. Obama is for lower insurance costs for most people, but it is not for universal health care. RHBrown (talk) 19:53, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Universal health care does not necessarily mean "free" insurance for everyone, it just means that everyone has access to health care insurance regardless of financial or health status. People that can not afford to pay the premiums of Obama's health care plan, but do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP will get federal subsidies based upon income.[9] This is not functionally different than Hillary Clinton's plan[10] or Edwards's plan.[11] --Bobblehead (rants) 20:12, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
Obama has said in the debates that he does not support Single-payer health care, perhaps that is what is confusing you? --Bobblehead (rants) 20:18, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Election history

The effort that went into compiling the list of electoral results is appreciated, but this feature article is already well over the 32k readable prose target, so we should be selective about how we allocate the available space. Listing results that are already detailed and fully sourced in the article or the Illinois senate election sub article may not be the best use of that space. Open to other views, but please keep in mind that the article already exceeds 38k of readable prose, even without this new section. I think previous consensus agreed that listing election results is not a good use of this biography article space, but need to search the archives to locate that discussion. --HailFire (talk) 22:11, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

The Race Problem

The US Census 2000, for the first time of any census, gave Americans the choice of choosing two or more races in Question 6 ("What is this person's race?"). According to Elizabeth M. Grieco and Rachel C. Cassidy. (US Census Bureau. March 2001. "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: Census 2000 Brief", US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau, Washington DC 20233.)

"People who responded to the question on race (in Census 2000) by indicating only one race are referred to as the race alone population, or the group that reported only one race category. Six categories make up this population:

  • White alone;
  • Black or African American alone;
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone;
  • Asian alone
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone; and
  • Some other race alone

Individuals who chose more than one of the six race categories are referred to as the Two or more races population, or as the group that reported more than one race. All respondents who indicated more than one race can be collapsed into

  • Two or more races category,
which combined with the six alone categories, yields seven mutually exclusive and exhaustive categories. Thus, the six race alone categories and the Two or more races category sum to the total population."

Obama is a biracial American. He has been described so in the media, including in the latest newspaper endorsement—from the Chicago Sun-Times—that he garned today. Please also see the numerous citations in the section above (from some of the world's best-known English language newspapers) that describe him as such. There is nothing "POV" about these newspaper articles; the authors span the gamut: black and white, male and female, conservative and liberal, straight and gay, and American and international.

For any American citizen, but especially for biracial Americans, the US Census Bureau gives the choice of self-identifying as "Two or more races" category. That Obama is described by the US Senate Historical Office as the fifth African American senator, is the result of the self-identification—Black or African American alone—and not "Two or more races" category. This needs to be explained, otherwise, the lead doesn't add up. For this reason, I have changed the sentence in the lead to:


  1. Scott, Janny. "A Biracial Candidate Walks His Own Fine Line". The New York Times, December 29, 2007.
  2. Grieco, Elizabeth M. and Rachel C. Cassidy. March 2001. "Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: Census 2000 Brief", US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau, Washington DC 20233.

I feel this is a WP:RS and WP:NPOV (to use the canned Wikpedia simplifications I detest) resolution of the problem. Regards, Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:08, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Your synthesizing of primary sources is interesting reading, but it will not change the content of this article. -- Bellwether BC 01:24, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The census briefs. You synthesize their contents to come to your own conclusion. That's the definition of OR. -- Bellwether BC 01:32, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
The census briefs are not primary sources! It is an analysis of primary data by two econometricians. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:37, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The census briefs are an extension of the census itself, which is specifically listed here as "primary sources." -- Bellwether BC 01:42, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the census itself collected primary data, but the brief is a report that analyzed that data and was published a year later in March 2001. Here is the beginning of the first paragraph: "This is a report, part of a series that analyzes population and housing data collected in Census 2000, provides a portrait of race and Hispanic origin in the United States and discusses their distributions at the national level." Neither the brief, nor the NYT feature article are primary sources. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 01:52, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The brief is an extension of the census. It's a primary source. And your analysis and synthesis of both primary and secondary sources (which the NYT qualifies as) is become tedious. -- Bellwether BC 01:54, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
You are wrong, but you don't really think that the brief is the only source out there? Here are three that are bona fide journal articles:
The first source says the same thing that the census brief does. There is also a vast public health literature on ethnicity in the US, since different racial groups have different health risks. Notice the title of the second paper above, "Race/Ethnicity and the 2000 Census: Recommendations for African American and Other Black Populations in the United States." Obama, from a public health perspective, belongs to the other black population, not "African Americans," a term which is reserved for descendants of people who survived the middle passage and slavery and who, sadly have greater health risks. You might find this tedious, but this what reliable secondary sources are about. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 04:13, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
F&F, it's time to let this subject drop. Your synthesis of original research is not going to alter the fact that Barack Obama is considered to be an African American by himself and a majority of Americans and none of the sources that you have provided in this section can be used to support a claim that Obama is not African American. You seem to have a rather strong POV on whether or not Obama can be classified as an African American and I'm concerned that it is affecting your ability to comply with Wikipedia's policies on Neutral Point of View and No Original Research (particularly WP:SYN) in regards to this topic. --Bobblehead (rants) 06:35, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Although, you keep accusing me of saying he is not African American, the edit I made in the article, didn't say that, but rather explained how he came to be African American, given that he is biracial and is characterized as such by many sources, including the 14 newspaper articles (cited above) from some of the world's best-known newspapers. Again: those newspaper articles are not saying that he is not African American, but simply that he is biracial. In other words, they make the case that referring to Obama as biracial does not violate WP:NPOV or WP:NOR.
  • "... Barack Obama is considered to be an African American by himself and a majority of Americans" Need I remind you that Wikipedia relies solely on reliable sources, not what a majority of Americans think. But you are off the mark there in any case. The majority of Americans do think that he his biracial (and in fact, not African American). Here is are results of the Williams/Zogby Poll: Americans' Attitudes Changing Towards Multiracial Candidates (December 20, 2006), "More than half (55 percent) of whites classified Obama as biracial after being told that Obama’s mother is white and his Kenyan father is black. Likewise, 61 percent of Hispanics also saw Obama as biracial, the Williams Identity Survey conducted by Zogby International shows. The Zogby Interactive survey polled 2,155 adults from Nov. 1-2, 2006. The poll contained a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points. For blacks, the Obama candidacy is viewed differently as the Illinois Democrat cannot escape the nation’s past racial history. Sixty-six percent of blacks that responded to the interactive poll classified Obama as black."
  • "You seem to have a rather strong POV on whether or not Obama can be classified as an African American and I'm concerned that it is affecting your ability to comply with Wikipedia's policies on Neutral Point of View and No Original Research (particularly WP:SYN) in regards to this topic." I would refrain from making patronizing comments like these. As I have repeatedly mentioned above, the only reason why I am editing this page is that I have an interest in FAs (and this article is one). If your remarks are preparation for leaving a warning on my page for a trumped-up charge of trolling, I would advise you to discuss the matter with someone neutral like FAC director user:Raul654, whose judgment in these matters I respect, and have him explain my error to me.
  • In your revert of my edit you talked about the consensus reached on this talk page. I would like to remind you again, that while a consensus is important, it does not take precedence over reliable sources, and that there is such a thing as a consensus in error. For example, the consensus here presumably included the assent of user:Bellwether BC, didn't seem to understand (above) that a published analysis of primary data (viz Census 2000) is not called "primary," whether it is called a "census brief" or not. The consensus likely also included you yourself, who made the surprising assertion above that the practice of linking of the term "African American" to slavery is consequent to the advent of Barack Obama on the political scene; this, when, at a whim, I can bring up a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles, written long before Obama showed any political stirrings, which make precisely such a connection. As I indicate above, the field of Public Health is full of literature in which "African American" refers precisely to the descendants of slaves. I will, of course, not revert in the same summary fashion that you have done and observe the 1RR rule that I observe in Wikipedia edits.
  • All I am suggesting is that the sentence explain how Barack Obama came to be African American," given that he is biracial and given that the Census 2000 gave all Americans the choice of "Two races" category. There is no synthesis of original research here; the edit I have made: "A biracial American who self-identifies as African American" simply provides a level of detail that is expected in a featured article, in light of the confusing label "African American." Every bit of my addition, including the entire phrase itself, is supported by secondary sources. Neither user:Bellwether BC, nor user:Bobblehead has provided correct explanations of why what I have said constitutes WP:OR (including WP:SYN). If all they will provide are repetitions of Wikipedia rules, without explaining where exactly the rules have been broken, I shall be forced to request an RfC here. (And please don't see this even remotely as a threat.) Fowler&fowler«Talk» 15:10, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
  • No matter how we "see" it, it is a "threat." You're saying, "Either include my version, or I RfC it." That's a threat, pure and simple. No one supports you, so you threaten to waste our time on an RfC. -- Bellwether BC 17:02, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Please RfC it. An article RfC is a good thing; it brings more attention to the issues at hand, and the whole point of open source anything is that more eyes are better. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:43, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Yup. You aren't getting anywhere with the editors currently on the article, perhaps you will have more luck with the community at large. --Bobblehead (rants) 17:54, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, please expound upon your racist and/or politically motivated arguments to the community at large. Nobody has anything better to do and their is no better use of everybody else's time. (talk) 21:00, 2 February 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me rather a waste of time to argue about whether Obama is X, Y, Z, or whatever, based on any source whatsoever, including his own self-identification. Wikipedia:How_many_legs_does_a_horse_have?. If we have reliable sources that say he's X, Y, Z, or whatever, then quote whatever they say, cite, and move on. IMHO we'll probably wind up with several different cited opinions on this, and that would be a good thing. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 03:13, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, that actually is very perceptive, and especially appropriate not just for Obama, but for politicians in general, who thrive on whatever people make of them. So, just as Hillary Clinton (the girl from Wilmette, or is it Winnetka) is now a New Yorker who can put on her best Southern drawl when on the pulpit of the Ebenezer Baptist in the Great City of the South, Obama (a biracial citizen of the Kenyan-Kansas variety, with no links to the middle passage or slavery), can turn up at the funeral of Rosa Parks and credit Ms. Parks—by her act of iconic defiance in the front of the bus—with instantly rescuing his parents' interracial marriage from social ostracism, when, it turns out, all along, his parents were married four years later. I am happy to change the proposed edit below to something that conforms to your suggestion. Whether it escapes the gimlet eye of the self-appointed guardians of this page, remains to be seen. Thanks. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 14:51, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Perhaps it's good that you continue to post here. Your anger and bias becomes more blatantly obvious with every word you type. (See your nonsense (and it is nonsense) about "Obama (a biracial citizen of the Kenyan-Kansas variety, with no links to the middle passage or slavery.) -- Bellwether BC 20:32, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Anger? You are the one who seems angry. Might I suggest that you lighten up. I was being both facetious and ironical in replying to user:Writtenonsand and at the same time both agreeing with her/him and making a general point about the incongruities of politics. The discourse here would be more productive if you pointed out inaccuracies rather than reacted with canned hysterics ("nonsense," WP:I'mmortified). Fowler&fowler«Talk» 19:18, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
PS There's nothing inaccurate in what I said. All has been said by others before in reliable sources. Fowler&fowler«Talk» 19:22, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
It seems strange to me that a Kenyan-Kansan is not an African-American but if in medical health jargon Obama is not African-American, but instead "other black" (and no one has questioned this, bad faith accusations of OR and other obstructive and faulty Wikilawyering aside) I can't see the objection to a terse clarification, which F&F has provided. Assertions that there is a consensus against his clarification are bogus. Andyvphil (talk) 02:40, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
...on the other hand, the health jargon doesn't seem to have impacted the African American article, unless a quick glance misses something. F&F, wouldn't you do better to fix the root rather than one of the twigs? My jaundiced view of the bogus Wikilawyering employed against you is unchanged, but my suggestion is you get something in there first. Andyvphil (talk) 04:33, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

From the (former) section Obama's Ethnicity (moved here because it's the same topic)-

This question maybe already answered in previous discussions but I was wondering; If Obama's mother was caucasian and his father black does that technically make him an african american? Levi Seigel (talk) 03:33, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

No, it makes him biracial: that is if race even existed. (talk) 05:59, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

His ethnicity is 1/2 Luo and 1/2 European American. -- (talk) 00:20, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, he's that too, of course, but in Senator Obama's case it's more of a vague label based on the geographic origin of one of his parents than a specific description of actual ethnic heritage. -- (talk) 00:53, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
This has been discussed previously. According to our article on the subject, he is African American if he is a US citizen with some roots in Africa, this is certainly the case for Obama. --Morten LJ (talk) 13:29, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
  • No, he's that based on a multitude of reliable sources. Nothing more, nothing less, as per WP policy. Bellwether BC 15:48, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Still doesn't make him African-American. (talk) 05:17, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Yes, it actually does. Bellwether BC 05:24, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Descent categories

This is now a featured article, and I notice certain categories relating to Obama's descent. One of them is this " Americans of Irish descent" Does he also come under Scottish descent? This is a faily n00bish search, but it yields some citable evidence.

Tenacious D Fan (talk) 10:28, 14 February 2008 (UTC)


Obama has been the topic of scandal very recently. The scandal has included Karl Rove in saying that he got Republicans to change their party in order to vote for Obama. He has also been quoted in saying that he was able to get the right people on CNN and MSNBC news cast to bash his opponent and support Obama, in the hopes of having Democrats vote Republican. Source: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Paexo (talkcontribs) 17:51, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Wow... That Karl Rove is a genius. I was unaware that the life-long Democrats that support Obama were actually Republicans in disguise. But to be honest, Karl really has to work on controlling the rest of the Republicans as there seems to be a grassroots campaign to have Republicans vote for Hillary because they believe they have a better chance of beating her in the general election than Obama. Although, one has to wonder about your source.. It seems to have been written by a person that hasn't actually read the Time magazine article they claim to use as a source.[12] Karl Rove's name isn't mentioned once and there is absolutely no mention of any of the former Republican's being organized by anything other than themselves... --Bobblehead (rants) 18:33, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not convinced that Paexo is interested in improving the article (see ClueBot's reversion of the user's "contribution"). →Wordbuilder (talk) 18:42, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Leading candidate (again)

This article (like Hillary Rodham Clinton) -again-, should have leading removed. Neither Obama or Clinton have a large enough gap between them. GoodDay (talk) 23:16, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. Be bold and remove it. At such time he becomes the clear leader, it can be put back in. →Wordbuilder (talk) 23:29, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

My reasoning? Obama and Clinton are practically tied. If any candidate needed leading in their article? it would be Republican frontrunner John McCain (but don't add it there either). GoodDay (talk) 23:34, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Holy smokers, I can't find it to remove it. There's too much confusion on the editing page. GoodDay (talk) 23:46, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with this - both articles correctly say "a leading candidate", not "the leading candidate". There is a clear and obvious difference between those two constructions. As I said when GoodDay said this on the Clinton talk page, removing "a" ignores that the Democratic race has narrowed down from eight to two, each of which is a leading candidate. The lack of gap between them is irrelevant, as is McCain. Please don't remove it. Tvoz |talk 00:11, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Sigh (sorry Al Gore), all right then. GoodDay (talk) 00:15, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

The article "a" does make all the difference. I should have looked at this more closely before making my earlier comment. →Wordbuilder (talk) 00:43, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

  • GoodDay tries every few days to remove this descriptor from both the Obama and Clinton articles. I don't think anyone really knows why. Bellwether BC 01:29, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I thought the Super Duper Tuesday results would discourage the usage of a leading. But I'm fine with it now. GoodDay (talk) 14:27, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
"A leading" would have made good sense last week for either Clinton or Obama; however, with only two candidates remaining, it is now redundant. More generally, "a leading" applied to a candidate X, implies that candidate X is one of a group of "leaders." That, in turn, in logical terms, presupposes a group of "stragglers." However, the set of stragglers is now empty. Alternatively, saying that Clinton or Obama is each "a leading candidate" is logically equivalent to saying, "Clinton and Obama are together the leaders in the field of candidates." But that field doesn't have any one else. In other words, "a leading" applied to one candidate in a field of two, is equivalent to applying "the leading" to a field of one. And that, most people will agree, is redundant. The sentence should be changed to "one of two remaining candidates." Fowler&fowler«Talk» 18:04, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
Mike Gravel is still in and he has a section on the MSNBC delegate scoreboard ... ;)--Tombomp (talk) 09:15, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
He has a snowballs shot in hell (or worse) of winning, or even finishing second. Charles Stewart (talk) 09:18, 11 February 2008 (UTC)
Definitely; I was just showing that the set of stragglers is in fact not empty --Tombomp (talk) 09:26, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to remove it again. Whether or not he or she is "a" or "the" leading candidate, it does add bias. For me the only acceptable compromise would be a rewording that included the other's name. e.g. "Along with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Obama is a leading candidate for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination." However, I think someone can do better. Think!Scottmkeen (talk) 00:02, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

controversy subsection

While Mr. Obama has less controversy attached to his career than many other politicians there needs to be a concise exposition of controversies attached to his name. Otherwise it could be asserted that the article was not neutral. I took the liberty of undoing the first revert to my addition however I'll otherwise leave it to the article's usual editors to consider my postulate.Trilobitealive (talk) 22:40, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Controversies are more than welcome to be incorporated in the existing article or one of the many sub-articles, but they will not be in a controversy subsection. Controversy subsections are by and large glorified trivia sections that invariably become a dumping ground for every complaint about the person, whether they are truly notable or not. All in all, if you would like to propose that a specific controversy be added to this article, you're more than welcome to propose that it be added. --Bobblehead (rants) 23:27, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
Bobblehead, is there a Wikipedia guideline that discourages sections/subsections dedicated specifically to controversies? →Wordbuilder (talk) 00:19, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
My thesis is that he doesn't have enough controversial material to add multiple sections such as are seen in the Hillary Rodham Clinton or Richard Nixon articles. But I might point out that the general reader needs to have a clearly defined place to find the information.Trilobitealive (talk) 00:23, 10 February 2008 (UTC) (UTC) I did go back and change the subheading to "Concern over business relationships" however I'm afraid that if you don't have a clearly defined area for these concerns to be addressed then the general reader will assume the worst.Trilobitealive (talk) 00:28, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Wordbuilder, Bobblehead is probably referring to one of the possible interpretations of WP:NPOV#Article structure. My opinion (which I'll admit no one here asked) is that when the general reader comes to one of these articles they need to have all the major areas of concern easily laid out and addressed in a neutral an easy-to-find place. This particular article isn't a huge project of mine but when I read it something became apparent to me (a general reader): the fact that his few real controversies don't need to be buried in a discussion about his domestic life. That's all. No plans for mutiny here. Trilobitealive (talk) 00:41, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
Actually controversy sections are strongly discouraged and are not found in the presidential candidate articles for good reason. They are poor encyclopedic style and in practice tend to simply become POV magnets where anyone opposed to the subject will dump any editorial or attack piece they can find. Most importantly, they give undue weight to subjects which may not be at all noteworthy. It is much better (albeit harder) to weave notable controversies into the relevant sections of the article. In this particular case, a lot of work was spent by a number of much better and more experienced editors than myself specifically dismantling these attack sections in the presidential candidate articles and integrating anything notable into the body of the article. Please note that there are no criticism sections in the John McCain or Hillary Clinton articles either. This is by design.
By way of illustration, Gzkn [13] made a very good point about the idea of a separate criticism section over a year ago, saying: "think about whether a general 'praise' section would make sense". --Loonymonkey (talk) 01:14, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the replies. I'm not advocating such a section. I was just curious as to what the guidelines said regarding the subject. →Wordbuilder (talk) 03:29, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Although I have not seen changed on the site, numerous stories and photos are circulating of the Obama campaign office in Houston. They do not have the American flag in the office. However, they do fly the Cuban flag with a photo of Che on it. If that is not controversial, I do not know what is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:15, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I've noticed that this sounds a lot like a campaign ad, and there isn't really anything counterbalancing that. I think that like, it definitly needs a NPOV check. Yeah, and for controversies, they should start with the support that he gave Farrakhan a decade ago. They should also mention criticism of him. There is criticism of every politician, no matter how good or moral they are, so I think that that definitly needs to be changed.

  • People who come to presidential articles and open with "I've noticed that this sounds a lot like a campaign ad" are usually attempting to force their negative POV into the article. This may or may not be the case with this unsigned commenter, but it's not a helpful comment to make, especially on an article that is a current FA. Bellwether BC 00:53, 13 February 2008

There should definitely be a POV check and the "American Flag" issue should be mentioned (as should other controversies). This link offers some direct quotes from Obama regarding his decision to stop wearing an American flag.

For what it's worth, I've begun a thread above for a back-and-forth on that issue. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:21, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

What is the origin of Senator Obama's anti-Iraq war position

Senator Obama reminds voters rather often that only he, among his Democratic opponents, opposed the Iraq war before it began.

I assume that the origin of Senator Obama's opposition can be traced to the speech he gave in October 2002 at the anti-Iraq war rally at the Federal Plaza in Chicago. Part of the text of this speech is cited in footnote 105, but the entire text of the speech can be found in Wikisource:'s_Iraq_Speech

Based on the text, Senator Obama did not actually declare his opposition to the then anticipated Iraq war. He instead calls it a "dumb war" and cites various reasons for avoiding it, while suggesting several alternative courses of action the US government could take.

Has anyone established the date when Senator Obama first declared publicly his opposition? I suspect it probably occurred sometime in 2003 during his campaign for the US Senate. But, of course, I may be wrong.

--Buzava (talk) 09:25, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, I just read the entire text of the speech, and there's no way I would have interpreted that speech as anything but an expression of opposition to a war with Iraq. He says "I oppose dumb wars", and he says "I think a war with Iraq would be dumb". Technically, he never says "I oppose a war with Iraq", but I think it's clear that he was using a rhetorical device to say that exact thing. Cogswobbletalk 18:28, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
All (not part) of the text of Obama's October 2, 2002 speech is cited in the footnote with a link to Remarks of Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama Against Going to War with Iraq, which is the source for the Wikisource article Barack Obama's Iraq Speech. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Newross (talkcontribs) 08:31, 16 February 2008 (UTC)
  • U.S. Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) voted against the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War on October 10, 2002.
  • U.S. Sen. Clinton (D-NY) voted for the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War on October 11, 2002.
  • U.S. Sen. Biden (D-DE) voted for the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War on October 11, 2002.
  • U.S. Sen. Dodd (D-CT) voted for the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War on October 11, 2002.
  • U.S. Sen. Edwards (D-NC) was a cosponsor of and voted for the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War on October 11, 2002.
Newross (talk) 07:56, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

It's notable that he's voted identical to Hillary Clinton in all votes regarding Iraq. It's somewhat ludicrous, and certainly not novel that he would loudly proclaim his opposition to the war, when he never had to vote to authorize force. There's no way to predict how he would have voted. I daresay that peer pressure in the Senate might have been a pretty powerful thing at the time. Scottmkeen (talk) 23:53, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Article size and readable prose

Following edits entered today, this article's length was reduced from an all-time high of over 132k to under 120k. The article's readable prose component is now reduced to about 10 printed pages, including images and table of contents, bringing it more in line with featured article criteria #4: "It is of appropriate length, staying focused on the main topic without going into unnecessary detail." If your contributions (or content you value) have been removed, please consider removing less notable material before making new additions, or alternatively, helping to improve one of the subarticles. Thanks for editing. --HailFire (talk) 20:13, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

In that cause I have removed some extra info on Obama's Senate race opponent and on the debate between them. Borock (talk) 21:43, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
I haven't found too much to trim. I did remove the theory that he was awarded Secret Service protection because he is black. That seemed a little bit out there. Borock (talk) 23:52, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
Re: Obama's early public opposition to the Iraq War before it started:
Newross (talk) 05:27, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

"Cultural and political image" section

This seems to have been written when Obama was still fairly new and unknown. Now just about everyone in the country is talking about him at least once a day. I'm not sure how the section could be updated. Maybe it should just be removed, and then rewritten and put back after he leaves office. ;-) Borock (talk) 00:02, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

hmm... Many hours of hard work have gone into that section. I contributed some of them myself. On the other hand you have a point. Rereading it now it seems kind of like a random collection of opinions, in a way. The "controversy" over his "blackness" especially seems a bit outdated now. I'm not quite bold enough to remove the whole section however. Steve Dufour (talk) 02:34, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Please don't remove sections from or make major changes to this article without discussion - this is a featured article that has been vetted and reviewed, and we need to talk about major changes like this. I do not think the section should come out - this is an encyclopedia piece with a long view and we have to assume that people coming to read it now and in the future may not know about these image issues. Editing it is of course possible, but we ought to talk about how first. Similarly, I think big edits especially by new editors ought to be preceded by discussion - being bold is generally fine, but in a high-profile article like this one there has been a great deal of discussion that you may not be aware of. We have extensive archives of how we got to the point we're at,and editors who are available to talk with, so I think bold editing can be problematic. New eyes are valuable, but let's talk first. Tvoz |talk 03:33, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I would definitely not remove this section. I do not find it dated; rather, it helps to explain why Obama is where he is today and why his presidential campaign is so successful. It should be augmented at some point with reflections from the campaign, yes. But I believe it is vital to the article. Indeed, I have emulated it in both the Hillary Rodham Clinton article (*) and the John McCain article. This section gives us a chance of describing the political and cultural intersection between a biographical figure and American public life, and that's an important thing to do. Wasted Time R (talk) 05:21, 18 February 2008 (UTC) (*) Back version of HRC given because section is currently out of the article for scholarly cite renovation work.
I don't plan on removing the section then. I've made a resolution not to hurt anyone's feelings here on Wikipedia. Borock (talk) 14:26, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Is there any interest in adding a section about his international echo? In Germany he's dominating the news about the presidential election, but with reports from a very critical stance as far as the Spiegel is concerned. That's rather unusual. Wandalstouring (talk) 15:29, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Is the articles in Spiegel and other foreign news agencies about Obama the person or Obama the presidential election candidate? If it is about the presidential election candidate, it would probably be worthwhile to include it in Obama's election campaign article. If it is about the person, then the image section would probably be applicable. --Bobblehead (rants) 16:32, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
It analyses his rhetoric and statements(especially about foreign politics), so I would include it in his campaign. Wandalstouring (talk) 18:30, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, there ya go.. You may also consider adding some of it to the Foreign policy section of his political positions article. It'd be nice to add some critical reviews of his policies in that article. --Bobblehead (rants) 18:35, 18 February 2008 (UTC)