Talk:Barack Obama/Archive 47

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Obama citizenship conspiracy theories RfC

Since the issue of Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories has been discussed here before, I thought it would be worth mentioning here that there is currently an RfC ongoing concerning whether the article should be renamed to remove "conspiracy theories" from the title. Please see Talk:Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories#RfC: Is the phrase "conspiracy theories" accurate for the article title?. -- ChrisO (talk) 20:22, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

TBD vs. Roland Burris

Obviously Burris cannot be listed as the successor. However, there could be a footnote on the TBD with a comment pointing to Burris as the "tentative" (some such) appointee, subject to (doubtful) certification by the Illinois Secretary of State as well as the U.S. Senate. I think this is some sort of cynical game Blagojevich is playing, with Roland stuck in the middle. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 23:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

It's been added to Burris's article already. Until there's an actual successor, it has nothing to do with Obama's article. Jesse White said he wouldn't sign off on it, although that might not be a legal requirement anyway. Blagojevich's general counsel (as governor, not personal) resigned today, so we can't ask him. <joke>For those and other reasons too numerous to mention, I would recommend waiting at least until after SNL this week so we can footnote their parody.</joke> I'm guessing Blagojevich's personal attorney told him to pick someone, anyone, and since all of the candidates on the original list agreed not to accept the job, Burris 'won' first dibs on drinking from the poisoned chalice. Flatterworld (talk) 01:00, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Obama is becoming a popular song topic in Caribbean.

I think he has to be one of the most sung about US Presidents in the Caribbean region. The Calypsonian named "De Fosto" from Trinidad and Tobago made a song about Obama for 2009.

Then Teddy Ranks.

And now 3rd Bass. (talk) 07:18, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I hope this doesnt come off as an act of Douchebaggery on my part, but I think # of songs written about someone isn't notable, at all. Interesting yes. Notable, not quite. --DemocraplypseNow (talk) 22:17, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
In a nutshell, it's notable if multiple independent reliable sources think it is important enough to write about. Until then, probably not. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK


Saying he "is an American politican" and "the President-elect" in the same sentence is redundant. If he's the President-elect, then of course he's a politician. Does George Washington's article say "George Washington was an American politican and the first President"? "American politician" should be removed from the lead in. --Tim010987 (talk)

The president of what Demonym'd country? Was he a peanut farmer, then just became president ? He is both an American Politician, and the president-elect. I see your point, but I disagree. --DemocraplypseNow (talk) 07:10, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Both statements are normal phraseology for a bio and they both belong. This is not Ameripedia. Other countries elect Presidents. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 13:23, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Trinity United Church of Christ membership resigned 31st may 2008

When you go to the 'Trinity United Church of Christ' page it says that "On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership in the church.[52]" and yet on the Barack Obama page it says "He was baptized at the Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988 and was an active member there for two decades.[188][189]" but no mention of him resigning over the Jeremiah Wright controversy. Does this need a fix or is it OK as is? RM (talk) 22:24, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd think not, what you quoted is worded in past tense. It implies alredy that he is no longer a member. --DemocraplypseNow (talk) 17:26, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Barack Obama related to Brad Pitt

Hi, I saw that Obama was related to Brad Pitt on yahoo. Shouldn't that be included in his bio? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nosebutton (talkcontribs) 23:56, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I doubt that that's true. And it's not realy relavent anyway.
I Feel Tired (talk) 00:26, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
There's a separate article on relatives, both close and distant. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 00:48, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

It is 100% True

If you can cite it, you can try to put it into the family article. It doesn't belong here. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 21:35, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Barack Obama is half-white

The introduction and first section are inconsistent. The introduction indicates Obama is the first "African-American" elected president, yet the first sentence of the first section indicates his mother is white. It does not matter that the FAQ indicates this is what Obama considers himself, it is factually incorrect. If half of ones ancestry can arbitrarily take precedence over the other half, Obama could just as accurately be called a "white" president, and this would be accurate as well. The assignment of "African-American" is thus arbitrary and incorrect. Erstats (talk) 05:17, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

It's hard to be more "african-american" than Obama -- his dad was african and his mom was american! : —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
No, it's not inaccurate, and this has already been covered at great length. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 05:24, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
[edit conflict] And perhaps if reliable sources said that Obama considered himself white, not African American, we'd say so. But he doesn't, nor do the overwhelming - virtually universal - preponderance of reliable sources. There is nothing inconsistent, arbitrary, or inaccurate in our description. (And happy new year, BB) Tvoz/talk 05:32, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
What are you talking about? There are discussions in every corner of the reliable media (e.g.,,8599,1584736,00.html) bringing this issue to light. It is perfectly in line with a wide range of reliable sources to indicate in the intro that he is "the first half African-American" president. That statement is 100% accurate...something that Wikipedia should strive for. To say "the overwhelming - virtually universal - preponderance of reliable sources" indicate he is the first black president (not biracial or half African-American) is absolutely incorrect. And again, it goes against actual fact...he is indeed, half white. Erstats (talk) 07:43, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Hence the song "Barack the Magic Half-Negro"??? Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 11:11, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I love the way that the one-drop rule has magically inverted itself in wingnuttia in the last couple of months, such that it is impossible to allow anyone to claim that Obama isn't really basically just some guy with a tan. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 12:38, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Precisely. And ironically this stuff comes from both the extreme right and the extreme left basically saying "he's not black enough". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 13:06, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Shouldn't there be a note under this section or perhaps a political ties one that describes Obama's relation to Dick Cheney (8th cousins) and George W. Bush (10th cousins once removed)? Since it is fact that Obama is half-white, it is quite interesting and remarkable how they are all distant relatives. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:33, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
His mix-raced background is covered in this article, and his genetic connection to other public figures is covered in another article. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 20:53, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Perfect, and smarter to put it separate on the other article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:50, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

First: Barack Obama is NOT half "African-American". He is half African. Nevertheless, Barack Obama is African American.

Second: If Obama isn’t black then neither are his children. To go by percentages, for the sake of argument, Obama’s children are “25% white”. How come then people don’t argue that is children “aren’t black”. From eyeballing the local African American population, I would say a plurality look like Obama’s children, yet I can say with almost absolute certainty that the people living here view them as black. In accordance with the argument that Obama isn’t black because he is “50 percent white” wouldn’t the same argument hold for a sizable number of African Americans who have white ancestry whether the white ancestry is 50% or 10%? In other words, why is someone 50% white and 50% black argued to be “not black”, yet someone 75% black and 25% white is seen “as black”? And who is to enforce these blood quantums? I personally don’t think African Americans go around on witch hunts to figure out who is “100% black” and who is not. I have personally never met a black person who thinks in strict percentages. If anything, I’ve met black people who think in terms of nationality: “I am 100% Jamaican; I am 100% Somali, etc”. NEVER have I met a black person say: “You are only 98% black? Then I don’t accept you because I only accept 100% blacks”. The phrase “100% black” is ludicrous. Blood quantums are ludicrous. LzqTAnFKVf7 (talk) 10:34, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

You're right. In any case, we go by valid sources, not by our opinions of what his percentages are. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 13:24, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Would it be better to just ignore this topic every time it is mentioned?LedRush (talk) 16:43, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Interesting idea. Just refuse to respond unless someone messes with the article. I'll give it a try. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 18:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually Bugs, I think your first response was great, and is a good model for future repeat scenarios. After one concise reply referring readers to the FAQ and/or other articles, we get into the territory of diminishing returns. Regards, SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 22:40, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

(Unindent) I think the real root of the problem is a lack of understanding of the basics of how such ethnic terms have come about, and I wonder if the FAQ might be better actually addressing the situation directly beyond "most sources call him that". Ethnicity is not a strict biological area but a cultural construct (sometimes entrenched by laws past or present, sometimes not) based on perceptions and understandings. An ethnic grouping becomes "recognised" as such by a combination of individuals self-identifying as such a grouping, wider society identifying them as such and, sometimes, laws entrenching division. There is usually a common history as well, which can go beyond mere ancestry and into the shared experience and history of a people.

You may have noticed that some of the objections to labelling Obama as "African American" (although rarely raised on this talk page) come not on the basis of his European ancestry but because his African ancestry doesn't include American slaves, with the argument being that "African American" only encompasses the descendents of slaves. However not all of African descent in America were enslaved. And during the era of segregation those with both African and European ancestry were deemed African - indeed the Supreme Court case that upheld the principle of "separate but equal" as the basis for segregation was one that involved a man who was 1/8th black - Homer Plessy. See Plessy v. Ferguson. Historically Obama too would have been on the black side of the segregation laws. Discrimination against a people has often had the effect of binding them together as a grouping in society, with the result that they remain a self-identified group long after the legal apparatus of discrimination has been removed. There is still a huge amount of discrimination in the US today and it rarely stops to discriminate on the basis of precise ancestry.

Recognising "mixed race" as a distinct group in society is a very modern concept and one that not everyone has accepted, particularly in societies with a history of racial divides. Off the top of my head I can only think of pre-1994 South Africa (and the individual colonies pre-Union) as a country that had an explicit legal identity given to people of mixed race descent - Coloured (and even then the legal classification was often amiss - see the story of Dimitri Tsafendas). More generally people with multiple ethnic parentage tended to be classified as one group or another - for instance the "Irish American" who takes pride in their Irish heritage even though they have only one great, great, great grandparent who was Irish (and said Irish American might not be accepted as "Irish" by other Irish - see Plastic Paddy. People with both African and European ancestry, even parents, have long been recognised as leading African Americans - see Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, Hiram Rhodes Revels or P. B. S. Pinchback for but a few.

Not sure how best to summarise this for the FAQ or the best place to link to though. Timrollpickering (talk) 22:12, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I think the Obama should be called the first mixed race president, having a African father and an Caucasian mother. I do not think his mother should be described as American since Americans are not really defined by race but rather nationality. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AuCourantStory (talkcontribs) 22:54, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Or, why not just give the intended respect to the nationalities of both his parents, and refer to him as Kenyan-American? ( (talk) 23:43, 7 January 2009 (UTC))

Probably because he isn't a Kenyan-American. He's an African-American, as described by:
  1. Himself
  2. The preponderance of reliable sources
  3. United States official classification (see African Americans#Who is African American?)
The near-continuous (and largely pointless) discussion on this talk page, and in dozens of separate archived discussions from this talk page, have always reached the same conclusion. The "mixed-race" aspect is implicitly obvious from his parentage and larger ancestry (as described in the article and in child articles) and it does not need to also be stated explicitly. -- Scjessey (talk) 23:58, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Ethnic/Racial Terminology and Appropriate Usage

Regardless of whether one considers Barack Obama "African-American" or "Kenyan-American", as a US citizen he is "African American." Other incorrect, offensive, or inappropriate ethnic/racial notations in this article are the references to Barack Obama being "half white" and his mother being a "white" American. "White" would be appropriate in a slang or colloquial article, just as "Black" would be; however, in this article the appropriate terminology should be "half Caucasian" being born to a "Caucasian" American mother. (JohnHarvard 1636 (talk) 20:47, 9 January 2009 (UTC)JohnHarvard_1636)

Just wanted to state that the editor who started this discussion, Erstats, is a banned sockpuppet. He just got blocked again.--SouthernNights (talk) 00:09, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Splendid, splendid. So, shall we archive this section? Or just clobber it? Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 00:26, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Thought you might want to see this

Why is Wikipedia important?

"At any given moment, right now, if you go to Wikipedia you're going to find the most comprehensive article on Barack Obama. You're not going to find it on the Washington Post or the New York Times, you're going to find it on Wikipedia. Why? Because all of these people care about information have gone there to edit it and re-edit it and add as much information as they can."

Jose Antonio Vargas, Reporter for the Washington Post

Smallbones (talk) 19:56, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Smallbones. Jose has been writing about the political articles on Wikipedia for a while - he talked to a few of us back in 2007 and gets that most of us do try to get it right. (Hi Jose!) Tvoz/talk 20:25, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Speaking of as much information as we can: In the lead up to President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration later this month, Tipperary native Lucy Carrigan reflects back on working for the Obama campaign --➨♀♂Candlewicke ST # :) 12:09, 7 January 2009 (UTC)


basically, the Obama article is great, yet is missing what is needed to keep neutrality in all of wiki. the article needs a criticism section. this is simply to stay neutral in all cases. is there a specific article about criticism of obama? if so, then the main article should link directly to it. i understand the majority of editors are liberal, imcluding myself, yet this section needs a specific neutrality. User:Zarzhu (talk) 04:34, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, so far, he hasn't started any wars, banged any interns, or burglarized any political party's headquarters, so there's not really much worthy of a criticism section yet. A laundry list of "why conservatives hates Barack Obama" is not really noteworthy enough for an article. Tarc (talk) 05:00, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Is there a criticism section in the Bush article? Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 05:01, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
A section devoted specifically to criticisms is no more appropriate than a section devoted specifically to praise, and is evidence of a poorly-written article. Critical material, be it positive or negative, should be distributed throughout the article as it is relevant and as weight allows. This is, first and foremost, a biography, so special care must be taken to avoid libel. »S0CO(talk|contribs) 05:07, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Slap me silly, criticism or controversy sections should never appear on biographies. These pieces of information should be woven into the article in their relevant chronological positioning. Sorry, they are one of my pet hates. Has such a tabloidy, smutty feel to it. However, if you do believe the article misses anything important that needs mentioning (and you have sources), we can surely include it. Best all. — Realist2 05:39, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure there's plenty of room for criticism in the Bush article. The problem with putting any criticism in the Obama article is that he's not President yet. The most the right wing can do is gripe about what they think he's going to do. And that griping is nothing more than philosophical disagreement. Hence, it's irrelevant at this point. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 05:47, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Plus, if we include any criticism, it will ruin the the plan to make Obama appear flawless, which has so far been successful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:15, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Hey! He was born in a manger, you know. Albeit a manger surrounded by pineapple fields. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 03:44, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
And the Three Wise Guys, Groucho, Chico, and Harpo, were still alive then, and brought him cigars, a piano, and cream pies. PhGustaf (talk) 03:55, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Along with Gold, Franks-n-Beans, and Mirth. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 03:58, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
And don't forget the little-known Fourth Wise Guy, Balthazeppo, who brought the ham hoagies from Subway. He got das boot. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 04:00, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Malthagummo planned to show up, but got lost somewhere around the Farallones. PhGustaf (talk) 04:21, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
It would certainly go a long way towards explaining this. »S0CO(talk|contribs) 04:58, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Criticism can and should be included as WP:UNDUE allows, but we cannot have a section specifically devoted to it. This is a matter of both policy and general principle. »S0CO(talk|contribs) 03:40, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


His former nickname is already in the "early life" section; no need to put it in the lede. An RS suggesting he's been regularly called by that name after college might change my mind. PhGustaf (talk) 03:00, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


Why was that previous picture of Barack Obama with his arms crossed replaced? I saw nothing wrong with it. The new picture is too alike and almost mirrors his portrait as Senator of Illinois. - (talk) 00:07, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

  • I dislike the new picture as well and put my name on the list to revert back to the previous picture or perhaps a close-up verson of it. The new picture is out of focus, and does not look like a set-up prepared portrait, but rather a photo that might have been taken at a campaign rally. Unak78 (talk) 12:47, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Somewhere there must be a picture of him wearing a less ugly tie. PhGustaf (talk) 00:46, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Why is there no mention of the very reliable fact that Barak Obama's citizenship is in question, that there have been at least a dozen court cases filed challenging it and that the supreme court is still examining the legitimacy of the claims? This is a veri important aspect of Barak Obama's life and and a crucial concern of all Americans. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Truthbeknown67 (talkcontribs) 19:37, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

The short answer is that every case has been rejected and it has not had a strong impact on his life since nothing came of them. There is also seperate page about them. This has been discussed and rejected multiple times so unless something significant happens there is no chance of inclusion. -- (talk) 04:08, 11 January 2009 (UTC)


This article has a great deal of top-level sections (14) and very few subsections (2). This makes the table of contents of limited use and gives an unrealistic weight to less important topics (i.e. inauguration). I suggest we merge some of the sections that cover similar topics. The George W. Bush article for example makes do with nine top-level sections, and uses appropriate subsections. Thoughts? Skomorokh 18:58, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree, and have made several changes to the sectioning in the article. Tell me what you think. Altruistic Egotist (talk) 19:58, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Racist and insensitive jokes made by CBC

Several anchors on the CBC made some REALLY tasteless racial jokes 1 2 3 4 5 on Obama and it's all the rage in Canada on the news. --Crackthewhip775 (talk) 22:27, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Which is in no way relevant to this article. PhGustaf (talk) 22:36, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Need to add see also page with the citizenship article

the citizenship article has no right to be in the main article but we should mention it in the see also heading.

it's not biased and fair and balanced.who agrees? manchurian candidate 05:01, 11 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Manchurian candidate (talkcontribs)

It would be tromping very closely on WP:UNDUE. I dunno. Does ubiquity trump credibility enough for a link here to the conspiracy page? I tend to say not, but it might at least save us from tramping out this issue every other day. PhGustaf (talk) 05:57, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
For recent extensive discussion on this rejected proposal see Talk:Barack_Obama/Archive_46#Info_needed_regarding_conspiracy_theorists --Modocc (talk) 17:35, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Barack H. Obama aparently travelled on an Indonesian passport to Pakistan.

Archiving section. This has been discussed before and material without a shred of verifiability has no place in a biography of a living person. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 19:55, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

According to Mr. Obama's own biography he traveled on an Indonesian passport to Pakistan. I suggest adding 'Indonesian' as an additional Nationality, on another note Barry Soetorno appears to be his (real) Indonesian name. Source: (i'm not affiliated, just interested in this piece of info) Editors can delete this if they believe its not relevant; I thought it could be. I agree with the posting above this one, yet is it an established fact that Mr. Obama has an Indonesian passport ? If so, this needs to be mentioned at the front page, after proper verification, even with his Indonesian name ?

indonesia does not allow dual citizenship. owning indonesian passport does not necessarily means that he is/was indonesian. if obama is indeed indonesian citizen, he would be required to give it up at the age of 17 if he choose his american citizenship w_tanoto (talk) 16:11, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
okay, tnx, IMHO facts are hard to come by regarding this man; I would *really* like to leave this one to the experts. apparently he traveled to Pakistan when he was 20, which at that time was not accessible by an US passport. So therefore to enter the country he had to use his Indonesian to get in; and wasn't carrying an US passport. Well... Doesn't look like an easy thing I've started here. Sorry :) I'll leave it here, check back later.
Start by verifying the assertion that he couldn't travel to Pakistan on a US passport. Best I know, that's not the case. PhGustaf (talk) 19:46, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


can't i edit this article? Expl0sIILPEXPLoSiil (talk) 16:42, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

The article is semi-protected. You can't edit it if your account is less than a few days (three, I think) old. PhGustaf (talk) 16:48, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Kenya, Yet Again

I'm sorry, I placed my previous post in the wrong location. The fact that Obama's citizenship is in question and cases challenging it are under review by The Supreme Court of the United States is not open for debate and is an essential part of any Barak Obama biography. Here is a man who is to be the next president of our great country who may very well have been born in Kenya, as is clearly stated by his own grandmother. If the same questions were facing a republican candidate wiki would surely make at least a minor note of it. Please be fair as you continually ask those who contribute to do so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Truthbeknown67 (talkcontribs) 19:42, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

The short answer is this - no. The slightly long answer is - we've discussed this to death and the answer is no. Someone else might provide you with a longer answer. --Cameron Scott (talk) 19:47, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I would support inclusion if there is a reference provided and it can be verified. I'm a big supporter of Barack Obama but if there is a case pending against him in the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear it (meaning it has merit) this should be mentioned. Truthbeknown67, do you have a reliable source? DegenFarang (talk) 03:17, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Degen, as far as I know his grandmother didn't understand the odd questions at first and once someone explained to her that she was being asked where Obama was born, she said Hawaii. The supreme court has had the opportunity to look at these "issues" a couple of times and hasn't given the complainants the time of day. This is one of those discussion brought up here all the time.LedRush (talk) 03:28, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes I read the conspiracy page after reading this. Truthbeknown67, if the Supreme court refused to hear the case you can be fairly sure there is no merit to it, and thus it does not deserve inclusion here. That would be very much like including allegations of him being a terrorist etc etc. This is not the place for that DegenFarang (talk) 05:00, 13 January 2009 (UTC)


Obama is clearly a non-smoker. Anybody saying he is still a smoker is calling him a liar. All we have to go on is his word here and he has said that he has been able to quit successfully with the help of nicorrette gum. That means he quit. Smokers and non-smokers are going to disagree about the definition of quitting I guess, based upon a review of the previous arguments, however some reference needs to be made to this. If you asked Obama he would tell you he has quit. We do not have the right to say with certainty that he is lying by publishing the opposite, this is the biography of a living person after all DegenFarang (talk) 03:30, 13 January 2009 (UTC) ===former smoker===LaidOff (talk) 03:33, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

This has been discussed a lot here before, including here
Just so you know... and the sources say that he says he's quit, and the sources say that he sometimes smokes. That's why the current language is in there.LedRush (talk) 03:35, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Then the wording needs to reflect that. Wikipedia is to have a neutral point of view. This wording is not neutral. There are three choices...he is a smoker, he is a non-smoker or he is currently trying to quit (either successfully or unsuccessfully). The neutral point of view here is to say that he is currently trying to quit. However the article states he failed at those efforts and is currently a smoker. False and non-neutral.DegenFarang (talk) 03:41, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps we are interpreting the language differently. I read this as saying that he is trying to quit, and like most people it takes a while. The article specifically doesn't say that he failed at quitting. It says that he has begun an effort to quit. This is factually accurate and properly sourced.LedRush (talk) 03:51, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
"Obama has tried to quit smoking several times, including a well-publicized effort which he began before launching his presidential campaign.[183] Obama has said he will not smoke in the White House.[184]" It is vague and you can assume for yourself if he is currently smoking or not. Something needs to be said here as to what is current status is...smoking, not smoking or trying to quit. If somebody 'tries to quit several times' there are periods when they are off the wagon completely and smoke daily. If they are in the middle of trying to quit they may have one cigarette every few months. Obama stated in June that he had not smoked in several months...this to me is a non smoker. At the very least something needs to be said about his current smoking habits (that he has not smoked in many months, possibly close to a year) DegenFarang (talk) 04:02, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we want to keep a day-by-day play-by-play on his smoking. The current language is accurate and doesn't unnecessarily congratulate or chastise him.LedRush (talk) 04:11, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
And in order to say that, we need to find a reliable source that states it. How do you come by the belief that "he has not smoked in many months"? All we need is a source that supports your belief that he hasn't smoked since June 2008, and that information can be added. In fact, any documentation of when he had his latest cigarette would be useful, even if it was yesterday. Certainly various television news reports stated that he was smoking occasionally at least up until the time he moved to Washington (this month), and commented that he'd be staying in a non-smoking room, which might be difficult for him. - Nunh-huh 04:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I was referring to the June 08 stuff but I just read that he told Mens Health that he occasionally smoked on the campaign trail. It is clear here that he is still currently trying to quit. Something needs to be added to the article saying 'and he is still currently trying to quit but did have a few cigarettes on the campaign trail'. SOMEthing needs to be added. There is not enough text there and way too much is left to the imagination DegenFarang (talk) 04:17, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
(EC) A source (from a couple of days ago) that says he recently smoked. I assume this comes from the Brokaw interviewer where after he says he's quit, he admits that he hasn't stopped. From the interview:
"But what I said was that there were times where I have fallen off the wagon." Brokaw, with that ah-haaaa look: "Wait a minute. That means you haven't stopped." A smiling Obama: "Fair enough. What I would say is that I have done a terrific job under the circumstances of making myself much healthier, and I think that you will not see any violations of these rules in the White House."
LedRush (talk) 04:21, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Ok then the current status is that he is trying to quit but is having occasional relapses. This needs to be stated. He has not given up qutting as the current wording implies. Something needs to be added to clarify the situation. This is current events so it will change with time and that is ok DegenFarang (talk) 04:25, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the article states that he is trying to quit...going so far as saying it was well-publicized and started when he kicked off his campaign. I don't really think we need to (or should) add anything.LedRush (talk) 04:29, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Ok thanks for your opinion, however you are wrong. It needs to be changed. DegenFarang (talk) 04:30, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Did you look at the archives? I just ask that you settle down a little bit and let some others weigh in. I am sure the language can be tweaked to still be accurate, not make the mistakes we tried to avoid before, and still address your issue. But you've jumped the gun on this quite aggressively, ignoring pleas to read the archives...and you didn't even read the sources or try to find out what has happened. I say this not as an accusation, but just an attempt to get you to cool off and not push so hard.LedRush (talk) 04:36, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't need to read the archives. The language now is misleading. It says he has tried to quit in the past. Then it says he will not smoke in the White House. Don't you see what that implies? It implies that he was unsuccessful the last time he quit, or that he may still fail. It is a huge question mark that needs to be addressed. "including a well-publicized effort, that continues today, which he began before launching" How about we just change it to that. DegenFarang (talk) 04:42, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
(EC) how about: "including a well-publicized and ongoing effort" ?LedRush (talk) 04:46, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
perfect! DegenFarang (talk) 04:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)


The article mentions his relationship with Tony Blair, saying he is the current British Prime Minister. Someone please fix this to reflect that Tony Blair is now the FORMER Prime Minister. (talk) 04:06, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

It actually says he was the then current Britsh PM. Mfield (talk) 04:09, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, "then current". Not currently current. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 04:10, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
So it should really read that TB was the then British PM and lose the word current entirely. Mfield (talk) 04:13, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
It could, but saying "former prime minister" is definitely wrong, because he wasn't "former prime minister" in 2005. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 04:21, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Seeing as English has an actual word for it - "incumbent", let's use that as "then incumbent" is less open to misinterpretation than "then current"? Mfield (talk) 04:23, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes current does not seem to be a word that works well in the past tense. Current means now. It is a bit funky and could use a better wordDegenFarang (talk)
"then incumbent P.M." is OK, but "then P.M." would also work. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 06:23, 13 January 2009 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Why is Barak Obama listed as a christin? He is openly muslim? why can't I edit this portion of the article to correct the very incorrect information? why does wiki allow this false information to be posted? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:20, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Because he is Christian, as is well known by people who actually know how to spell it. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 13:34, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
(ec)High-traffic articles such as this are usually restricted so that only established editors can edit it. That prevents "false information" from being posted, such as the tinfoil hat notion that Obama is "openly muslim". Tarc (talk) 13:37, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Or Muslim in any way, shape or form. Like he had some choice as to his middle name. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 14:58, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Also if he really was openly Muslim it would have been added to the article a long time ago since it would have been virtually impossible to argue otherwise. I am also curious as to where you (orignal poster) got the idea that he was openly Muslim since he has been to a Chrisitian church for years as has stated that to be his religion multiple times. -- (talk) 22:21, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Educational Honors

Was Obama Phi Beta Kappa or did he receive any other education honors at graduation? I think it's only mentioned in Barack Obama: Early life and career section that he was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

FYI, Obama is not a Muslim but rather a Christian and always has been. It is sometimes erroneously stated that Barack is a Muslim because his father was one, but this is incorrect and unfounded.  uriel8  (talk) 13:30, 13 January 2009 (UTC)


This section was closed in bad faith. Numerous questions were posed in this section which received ad hominem or personal attacks and no response. There is nothing more I can do. If another editor wants to raise the issue again, please see the discussion in the archive. I will no longer participate in such an adversarial environment in editing this article. Zoticogrillo (talk) 20:03, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

This is not a general talkforum - once you are able to articulate *what* you want including, start a new section and tell us what that it is. Continued vagueness in an attempt to trick editors into giving you carte blanche is going nowhere and is now verging on the disruptive. --Cameron Scott (talk) 12:16, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Biographies of prominent individuals should have a section addressing some of the criticisms or controversies related to that individual, as long as the content can meet the wiki standards. Otherwise the article is not neutral, and fails to provide the depth of information possible, thus harming the value of the community for the benefit of a few. Articles such as this one which are possibly edited by official staff of the individual (whether paid or volunteer) should receive the highest scrutiny for this characteristic. Zoticogrillo (talk) 07:07, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

No there shouldn't be a "criticism" section, criticism,theories should just be added to the article at places they fit,so any criticism like for example people saying he does not have enough experience should be added to the part where the article talks about his run from presidency, and criticism and praise (I think thats the opposite of criticism) should only be added on this page if it's actually notable in the bigger picture of his life store, as this is what this page is about, there are other pages where certain "details" can/should be added but that is on those pages and not on this one. (talk) 09:36, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Forgetting the slanderous implications of the last sentence, what specific criticisms do you have at this point, for a President who has not even taken office yet? Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 13:20, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Regardless of the redundancy of the issue, this is not an article about his presidency, Bugs. Stick to defending the integrity of the article, not defending Mr. Obama :-) Bigbluefish (talk) 21:23, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Anything that has received considerable coverage in the public media is notable. It is not slanderous if it is reporting things that appeared in the popular media, and not reporting them as truth. There are enough that they warrant their own section. Zoticogrillo (talk) 21:28, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
There are so many things wrong here. First, there are two separate issues here that you're confusing: one is the inclusion of criticisms in the article, and the other is organising them into a dedicated section. If you are commenting about the former, what criticisms specifically does the article lack? If it is the latter, what is wrong with the current location of the criticisms and how does a single section make it better? This is a biographical article, documenting the details of his life, not a profile to help people make up their political minds.
Bugs' comment about slanderous comments was not aimed at criticism of Obama but at your suggestion that the Obama administration or similar might be editing this article and might be doing so with a favourable bias. It's a moot point because they are entitled to edit the article and there are both favourable and unfavourable "bad edits" made to the article, none of which should affect community editorial decisions. Bigbluefish (talk) 21:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Adding more information to the article would be informative, and is a notable part of the life of the individual. Where they appear isn't critical, but I believe that there has been enough to warrant a separate section. Most of the critical information that has passed through the media has appeared here in the discussion. Zoticogrillo (talk) 22:05, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
Since there aren't any active discussions here about any criticism that isn't already in the article, perhaps you'd like to suggest some. As a whole, criticism has not played a big part in Obama's life. If he died right now, he would not be remembered as the guy who was criticised a lot. A section of criticism comes from either the opposite being true (which is the case for very few people) or practical issues with placing an important fact elsewhere in the article. Bigbluefish (talk) 00:21, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the "slander" part is the accusation that Obama's people are editing this article to show their man in as positive a light as possible. Unless you're prepared to name some, you had best back off from that charge. As far as criticisms are concerned, maybe you could start by listing your top 3 criticisms here. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 00:42, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
There are enough in the archives, and at least one on this page.
Then you admit, any criticisms or accusations that have appeared in the media should be included in the article? Zoticogrillo (talk) 03:00, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Who are you talking to? Whatever. "Any" criticisms in the media don't necessarily qualify. But it's certain that only criticisms reported in reliable sources belong here. And they would have to be significant in some way, such as reneging on a campaign promise, behaving unethically, or whatever. A criticism whose sole basis is "I don't like what he's doing because I'm conservative and I don't like what liberals do", is nothing more than partisanship, so it does not qualify. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 03:20, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
So, having said that, kindly name your top 3 favorite criticisms, so we'll have something to talk about here. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 03:21, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
It seems crazy to me to discuss hypothetical criticisms. Tell us what you want to add, and we'll talk about whether and where it should be.LedRush (talk) 03:38, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Zoticogrillo, above you wrote "...I believe that there has been enough to warrant a separate section." Criticism sections are not against policy, but they are discouraged, see the essay Wikipedia:Criticism.--Modocc (talk) 04:59, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Then you disagree with the statement that criticisms or accusations that appear in the media about the individual should be included in the article? What are the wiki rules or principles that support that position? Are you saying that any criticism or accusation that was published by a reliable media source could be included in the article? What about editorials or commentary? Zoticogrillo (talk) 06:14, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Instead of talking generalities, how about you pose some specific potential criticisms so we can talk about them? You've been asked that several times now, and you seem reluctant to do that; but if you're not willing to do that, then we're probably done here. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 06:20, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
But can't you see how, from my perspective, that is seen as a trap and an evasion of the issue? I am trying to clarify the wiki rules on this topic, and how they apply to this situation. But I haven't received any clear answers. Standards and rules should not be so fact specific that they require specific hypothetical examples every time they are used. Why should I provide three criticisms first? What do the wiki rules say about this, and how can we apply them to this situation? Again, should criticisms or accusations that appear in the media about the individual be included in the biographical article? Here are some wiki principles that could apply: Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons#Criticism_and_praise and Wikipedia:Verifiability. Are there others? Zoticogrillo (talk) 06:59, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
It's not a trap, it's an honest question about what criticisms you think should be in this article. Vague assertions of the article needing more items critical of the subject don't really help. If there's something specific you think should be added, please discuss it. No one here is trying to trap you or evade the issue. Dayewalker (talk) 07:16, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
From the essay I already mentioned and the essay Wikipedia:Criticism sections, I'll quote Jimbo:
"In many cases they [criticism sections] are necessary, and in many cases they are not necessary. And I agree with the view expressed by others that often, they are a symptom of bad writing. That is, it isn't that we should not include the criticisms, but that the information should be properly incorporated throughout the article rather than having a troll magnet section of random criticisms." Jimbo Wales
Therefore, what is the criticism that needs to be incorporated into the article? --Modocc (talk) 07:13, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm trying to identify some general rules. So, based on the last reply, does that mean that whether or not a criticism should be incorporated is not just whether it is verifiable, but also how it is used? Also, are there some criticisms that would be permissible in the article? Because I don't see any, other than the indirect statement that some have said that he isn't "black enough". Zoticogrillo (talk) 07:58, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
The criteria you're missing is relevance. A criticism should be included if it's important to his biography, as should praise. We don't have a quota for each and try to satisfy them to make a "neutral" article - the policy is a neutral point of view not multiple points of view. If all criticism and praise that is relevant is documented neutrally and you think there isn't enough praise or criticism in the article, maybe you have a skewed view of that person's public image.
All that said, I went back and had a look through the article, and the area I don't think is very balanced any more is the Cultural and political image section. Since we might never get them from the original poster, here are some specifics: concerns about his experience, perceived elitism and concerns for lack of substance behind showmanship and rhetoric. The first two are already treated in the sub-article Public image of Barack Obama, and all of them pop up from time to time in both opposing pieces and when writers want to include opposing views for balance. All are in my view more important than, say, the "black enough" thing (which has been part of the article since time immemoriam), the Rosa Parks/MLK quote, and what Jonathan Haidt has to say about Obama's oratory. Perhaps the inclusion of these things could be reviewed. One of the main problems is that neither this nor the sub-article cite many sources about Obama's public image, rather citing multiple sources that are trying to sway it and synthesising them to create an alternative overall view of his image. Bigbluefish (talk) 09:01, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Yup, exactly what I wanted to avoid. No one has given me a response, and we are plunged into a discussion of the particular points. Post on my personal discussion page if there's someone with a mind to answer my question. Zoticogrillo (talk) 09:24, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I've just read this rather weird discussion and I've got to ask you what was your original question? It seems to me that they continued to answer your question over and over again, yet you yourself continued to dance around their questions about naming three criticisms so that we could have a meaningful discussion. It seems to me that you never planned on answering that question. If you want to have a meaningful discussion first keep the comments on the subject, Barack Obama. Second, if you have policy questions, this is not the place to ask or discuss them. Third, if you have specific criticisms you want to see put in the article about Barack Obama, then post them here and lets discuss them. Brothejr (talk) 10:36, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
His original slanderous comment about wikipedia editors, combined with the specifics of his answering-a-question-with-a-question, make it clear that he wants us to give blanket approval to post any sourced negativity he can find. It is he who is trying to set the trap, but it's not going to fly. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 13:19, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
So putting aside the fact that slander is oral, that the Obama administration are entitled to edit the article if they choose to and that the original agenda of this thread did indeed seem to lack the integrity of the article at its centre, what of the issues I've noted? Anyone got any good sources that might help deciding the key points that are relevant to the image section? Bigbluefish (talk) 14:00, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Instead of "slander" how about if I just say "veiled personal attacks"? As we were saying to the original questioner, you're free to post some suggested rewrites here. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 14:07, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • To the original poster, why will you not outline three particular criticisms you'd like to see included? It's beginning to seem like you quite possibly have an agenda that you wish to see perpetuated through this article, but you're not (yet) willing to reveal it. SDJ 14:17, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
    Seriously guys, what's the obsession with cutting down the original poster? You've made your point; why is nobody interested in the three particular criticisms that I have raised which probably ought to be present in this article? Bigbluefish (talk) 14:46, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
    • The original poster started with the hostile claim that Obama lackeys are editing the article. You have at least raised specific topics, but they are still generalities. It would be useful to see how you would word (and source) your proposed revisions. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 15:02, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Also to add on to what Bugs said, not only do you need to have a neutral wording for those general criticisms, but you must also have reliable sources that back up those statements and also those statements must be verifiable. Brothejr (talk) 15:11, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. The very problem with the article at the moment is that the sources aren't really secondary enough. I'm basing my remarks on my general impression of commentary on him, but I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to nail down a source which says "some people are concerned he's not experienced enough" or "he may be good at getting stadiums full of people excited, but whether he can deliver that change will be put to the test", et cetera. These are probably more relevant to his overall image than "he's not black enough", and certainly some doe-eyed remark about Martin Luther King, but the sourcing is the same, just some hand-picked examples of what important people think of him. What we're lacking is some sources saying "well this is how the voting public have seen him and here are the reservations some of them have". Bigbluefish (talk) 15:49, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I actually wouldn't have a problem inserting any of the three criticisms that bigbluefish has mentioned (with the possible exception of the last...though that could fit in public perception) it's an issue (for me) of whether they're properly sourced and included.LedRush (talk) 15:59, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I would - seriously "he's good at filling a stadium full of people but.." - what? what? that's not a criticism, that's argument to the future. --Cameron Scott (talk) 16:02, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
As far as the "experience" issue, the soon-to-be-expired administration is good evidence that "experience" is overrated. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 16:03, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Anyway, the question that LedRush raises is the same question that Bluefish raises - proper sourcing for "the obvious". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 16:04, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
And as Cameron says, that's just a sound bite. You could find plenty of criticism of Obama, from Rush Limbaugh and Hillary Clinton both. But what's the point? It's just "I wanted someone else to win" cloaked a different way. You've got Limbaugh derisively calling Obama "The Messiah", which is silly, and besides which, Obama has already denied being the Messiah. Valid criticism will arise with the way he handles things once he's actually in office, which as far as I know hasn't happened yet. But one valid criticism could be the question of whether his team is vetting some of his appointees enough. There's already been one guy withdraw, and he's having to defend another guy, and there you have possibly substantive evidence of "inexperience", or something. Provided you can find a source that says that. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 16:09, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Are you happy removing the "not black enough", "Joan and Martin" and "emotion of elevation" details then? These are also just soundbites, and ones which are heard far less than others. I would support this as a temporary solution, but ultimately this article needs some decent analytical sources. Perhaps if I find the time I'll do a bit of hunting. Also, Bugs, your meanderings of opinion about the validity of different arguments are becoming tiresome. At least some of the citizenship cranks try to discuss an actual encyclopedic topic rather than whether it's right that his experience forms part of his public image. Bigbluefish (talk) 16:47, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Well...that wasn't a very useful post. I actually agree that some of the included details are soundbity, but firstly, we should keep topics separate, and two, stay civil and discuss specific additions and deletions.LedRush (talk) 16:52, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that the topics should be kept separate. I thought I balanced the useless part of my post well by specific suggestions for content changes, but the former was a rather necessary (in my opinion) response to another two completely useless posts (separated by a useful one). When the self-referential and off-topic comments outmeasure the real article discussion it's worth giving everyone a bit of a trout-slap and drawing a line. Now, any suggestions for a higher-quality treatment of that section... Bigbluefish (talk) 17:01, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

I suggest getting a reliable source for one and proposing a place and way to put it in.LedRush (talk) 17:07, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
What he calls "meandering", I call "exploring". That's what the talk page is supposed to be about. The "not black enough" stuff comes from a possibly realistic concern that Obama is an elitist, and is ironically connected with the constant complaints by posters here about him being "Halfrican American". It overlooks the point that pretty much all Presidents are elitists in some sense. Much of the perception problem with Palin was that she was "just one of the folks", whereas it's clear that Obama is not "just one of the folks". Great leaders seldom are "just folks" - there's a degree of necessary aloofness. Reagan is a good example of that - he never let his "folksiness" get in the way of decision-making. In Obama's case, the irony is the fear, by some whites, that he's going to be "President of black people", and the fear, by some black people, that he won't be. (God forbid he should be President of the United States and not any one special interest.) So the "not black enough" and its implications is a worthwhile area to explore, provided reliable sources have covered it objectively and thoughtfully. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 17:13, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I never much cared for the "not black enough" stuff. It seems more like something for a sub-article on public perception, or on Obama and race. It's not something in most people's minds, nor is it directly relevant to what he is all about. It is also very early in his presidential career - it hasn't started as of now. After four years or eight, will anyone care whether he was black enough? It seems mostly a prospective concern. I don't see the point of discussing in general whether the article is critical enough or not. We had enough of that for months and months during the campaign. Assessing articles in terms of whether they are too full of praise or criticism is, in general, forcing points of view into the article because wherever that dial is set, adjusting the dial just for the sake of making an article more negative or more positive is inherently a bias issue. As people have said again and again, we have to look at the specifics, one issue at a time, to decide what merits inclusion. In general criticisms (as opposed to negative material more generally) are not terribly germane to a biography because it is neither here nor there what people think of someone. He won the election so whatever negative impressions and campaign attacks people made, they did not prevail. If it does not affect his life or how he governs, why should it matter that so-and-so has a negative comment to make about Obama? Wikidemon (talk) 17:27, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

That sure didn't seem very productive. I thought it was going somewhere a couple of times, but ultimately... nothing. It seems that we agree that criticisms should be included if it is verifiable and relevant. The election received so much coverage worldwide, that I believe we are all aware of the various "criticisms" that have been raised during campaigning, therefore listing them individually is not helpful. Nonetheless addressing this will be for the benefit of those in the future who wish to research the campaign, or who wish to understand popular perception of the president, or for those who just seek the convenience of having the most prominent criticisms listed in one place, with the useful links in the citations. Because of the similarity in the nature of these criticisms or accusations which have appeared in popular media, and because of the uses just mentioned, I still believe that the most plausible presentation of the content would be in a separate section. Zoticogrillo (talk) 09:36, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

It might have gone somewhere if you had actually cited some examples. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 10:53, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't matter which examples are used, as long as they meet the wiki criteria. This is not a forum to editorialize about political pundits. Nonetheless, I did raise one example, and a few editors mentioned a few others. So continuing to raise that as an issue while ignoring all the others I raise seems to be a way of distracting and diverting the discussion. Zoticogrillo (talk) 21:32, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
You've missed the point completely. This article is subject to exactly the same policies as every other biography. If you disagree with anything in that respect, this is not the place. If you are here to inform us that this article is neither perfectly structured nor perfectly neutral, good. We know. Thanks for the info - now be bold and help us fix it. If you are trying to field agreement for a particular change to the article, you're going to have to be a lot more specific. Whether or not an example "meets the wiki criteria", as you put it, depends on the source that it's backed up with. There have been no such proposals. Bigbluefish (talk) 23:42, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
I thought you missed my point as well. You've spend more time objecting to my approach than would have been required to simply humor me and respond to my questions or issues, and without explaining why. Part of the reason why I wanted to first confirm criteria, is because I don't want to waste time researching if it's not even going to benefit the article. This is a highly contentious article, therefore going step-wise is more prudent. I think a key part in avoiding conflicts will be to re-affirm that something can be verifiable and still be untrue. This will be the case for much of the criticism content. There will be citations to articles, editorials and commentary of major newspapers, which will make them verifiable, even if those criticisms were unfounded or unprovable. And of course many of them will be about his policies, and not about him as an individual, but they are still relevant as they are about his campaigning and role as president. Zoticogrillo (talk) 02:17, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
You're trying to get us to "pre-approve" some general criteria so that you can try to post some likely POV-pushing and claim that everyone said it was OK. You're not going to get away with that, and since you're unwilling to list anything in particular, that's the end of it. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 02:26, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Seriously - piss in the pot or get off it. If there are specific criticisms you feel are not accounted for in this article, please list them in your next post. If you are unable to do so, someone is going to mark this thread "resolved" and it will be archived because you are wasting our time otherwise, because nobody is going to agree to anything with your current level of vagueness. --Cameron Scott (talk) 02:45, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Total ad hominem. I actually have a strong positive bias toward Obama, but I'm not going to POV-push at all. I'm just a wiki- hobbiest who wants to improve the article in an objective way. I can't give any examples without first researching and identifying some, which requires time up-front. I'm not going to waste my time if I'm going to be confronted by an editing war with editors who are unable to analyze the content logically. Zoticogrillo (talk) 05:53, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

It's the risk we take as Wiki-hobbiests, isn't it? There's no guarantee that folks will be amenable to (or even logical about) your proposed changes, but all we can really do is propose them and see what happens. I'm sure most folks here are amenable in theory to the idea of including more criticism, but they need to know where the beef is so to speak. You are speaking far too generally here and I'm at a loss as to how you want folks to respond. It really should not take you too much time to find one particular criticism which you would like to include and bring that to the table with references (surely you already have some things in mind?). If you are not willing to do that right now then I suggest we archive this thread because there's nothing productive here. Once you come up with some specific suggestions you can start a new thread where editors can discuss the proposed changes. I just don't see any other way to go about this. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 07:24, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Four citations???

"and became the first African American to be elected President of the United States.[122][123][124][125]"

Why do we need four citations for this one sentence alone? ScienceApe (talk) 04:53, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The multiple cites might discourage people from changing the line to "multiracial" or "mulatto" every two or three days. PhGustaf (talk) 05:01, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Is that really necessary to prevent vandalism? Just revert their edits. ScienceApe (talk) 06:01, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Try reading the 50,000 words of past discussion on how "controversial," "untrue," "racist," blah, blah, the "African American" bit is, and you'll start to get a sense that it actually is necessary. :-(. LotLE×talk 09:02, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Obama and race

Closing this discussion that has been ground beyond dust form. Please see the answer to question 2 on this article's FAQ. --Bobblehead (rants) 11:25, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Why is Mr. Obama referred to as "the first African American to be elected President of the United States"? Isn't he half white? Trent370 (talk) 07:48, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

It's been discussed quite often, details can be found at Q2 in the FAQ at the top of this page. Dayewalker (talk) 07:52, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I still wasn't clear from the discussion...isn't he half white? Should it at least be mentioned in the lead? Thanks. Trent370 (talk) 07:54, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
His mother was white so yes, he is half white, but if you read the answer to Q2 in the FAQ at the top of the page again you'll see that it's explained why we do not mention this fact in the lead. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 08:26, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
But if the facts indicate he is half white, and there are reliable sources that attest to these facts, can't that simply be mentioned in the lead (as a matter of fact)? Trent370 (talk) 18:26, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
No, as he is predominantly and overwhelmingly described as simply African-American. The fact that his mother was white is noted in the "Early Live and Career" section. It simply isn't all that notable of an issue. Tarc (talk) 18:31, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
(after ec) - No. You need to show a preponderance of reliable sources describing him as "half-white" (which is an absurd designation, frankly). By an overwhelming number, reliable sources use the term "African American". Please read the extensive archive on this matter. It has been discussed not less than eleventy-billion times previously. -- Scjessey (talk) 18:34, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Would it hurt anything, violate any of Wiki's policies, or otherwise offend the reliable sources (that probably don't even know they are being used as reliable sources) to simple say he is "...the first person of African-American descent..."? Seems that might satisfy both those who point to his "half-whiteness" as well as those with whom is "half-blackness" resonate? Compromise and consensus, and not biting the newcomers, might have a place here. Newguy34 (talk) 18:44, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
No. We say what the reliable sources say. To use your suggested modified version would be a form of synthesis and/or original research. -- Scjessey (talk) 18:50, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Bunk. Read synthesis and original research. The entire article, and every article in Wiki for that matter, is a summarization of what reliable sources say. It is not, as you suggest, merely a compendium of quotes and unedited textual matter from reliable sources. If it were, Wiki would largely be unreadable. So, allow me to be more direct: I think a bit of compromise on this issue is called for here. Attempts at Wiki-lawyering, aside, the compromise is benign, and should be added to the article. Newguy34 (talk) 19:04, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Is there a reliable source that can attest to the proposition that "an overwhelming number of reliable sources use the term African American." I don't believe this is the case. There are many reliable source referring to Mr. Obama as mixed race or half-African American. Perhaps not "eleventy-billion," but at least a significant fraction. Trent370 (talk) 18:57, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
This is not very scientific scientific but here is a full search of the Google News archive searching for Obama and "mixed race" while here is the same type of search but for Obama and "African-American." The former shows 629 hits while the latter shows 22,800. Like I said not scientific, but a good rough indicator of which term is used more often in news reports.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 20:11, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
@ Newguy - This is a BLP, so we must say what the reliable sources say. We cannot make stuff up that we think is correct if it isn't properly supported by references.
@ Trent - There are reliable sources that describe Obama in ways other than African American, but they are insignificant compared to the number of reliable sources that describe him as African American. While you are unlikely to find a reliable source that gives specific numbers, or a ratio of "African American" to "other" descriptors, it is probably safe to say that the difference is probably orders of magnitude - and patently obvious to anyone who reads a newspaper, watches TV or browses the internet from time to time.
@ both - seriously people, this has been discussed dozens of times and the conclusion has always been the same. We go with the reliable sources. -- Scjessey (talk) 19:41, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Trent, the average black person has a lot of european and native american blood in him/her. The average white person has a lot of african and native american blood in him/her too. Therefore, designations like "black" and "white" go mostly on physical appearance. Not genetics. Obama looks black, so we call him black. Vin Diesel looks white, so people mostly call him white, even though he's half black. Mariah Carey is 25% African, but she looks white so we call her white. ScienceApe (talk) 19:48, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Just to add to this, the specific suggestion by Newguy to say "...the first person of African-American descent..." really does not make sense. Obama does not descend from African-Americans - he is one. He is descendant from Africans and from Euro-Americans. His daughters are descendants of African-Americans, though that's an odd thing to say.
It really can't be exaggerated (alright, I guess eleventy-billion is an exaggeration) how often this has been discussed. I only spent a few weeks at this article last summer and it easily came up 7 or 8 times, and having not commented since then it is still going on. The consensus in the past has always been to describe him as African American.
Just to mention something else alluded to by ScienceApe, nearly all blacks in the United States are partially of European descent because of the constant sexual abuse of black female slaves by white men. Most prominent African Americans in this country have a not insignificant percentage of white parentage going back generations (Colin Powell being one example), however we don't generally talk about that fact in the intro to our articles about African American persons because that's not how we talk about it in American society. If secondary sources generally identify someone as black (as they do for Obama) and the person himself identifies as black (as does Obama) then that's what we go with and we explain the specific ethnic heritage in the body as we do here. Can we move on from this?--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 20:06, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Oh, Scjessey, enough with the Wiki-lawyering and red-herrings. I am not suggesting that the article should say something contrary to reliable sources. The preponderance of reliable sources (as if citing material in Wiki is a popularity contest of reliable sources) state that Obama is descended of an African father and an American mother. He is by definition, "an African-American" and "of African-American descent", according to more than (pick any number less than eleventy-billion), say 30 reliable sources. Why not try a little bit of simple compromise, that doesn't cost anything? And, the editor above who claims that my "specific suggestion...really does not make sense. Obama does not descend from African-Americans - he is one." is logical nonsensicality. If he is African-American (and he is) the only way he could so be, is if he were descended from African-Americans, or from Africans and from Americans. If A=B and B=C, then C must=A. I frankly don't care how he is refered to herein. But, we are taking about the insertion of one word and rearranging two others. That some object so forcefully to this simple compromise is telling. Future members of congress, me thinks. Newguy34 (talk) 20:21, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

That's enough with the false accusations of wikilawyering, if you don't mind. Your "compromise" is, quite simply, wrong (see Bigtimepeace's reasoning above) and unsupported by reliable sources (despite your claim). Can you name a single African American ancestor of Barack Obama? No. That's why your proposal won't work. Further discussion of this, particularly any that denigrate longstanding editors with comments about "members of congress", etc., will be regarded as disruption. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:36, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Simmer down. That my proposed compromise is wrong is your opinion. How can a compromise be wrong, by the way?! With all due respect and homage to your self-recognized superior intellectual abilities, you are completely missing the point. There will be further discussion, I suspect. This is neither your article, nor your Wiki. Long-standing editors have no more rights or value than any other editor. Please do make threats on Wiki, as I know that is contrary to the community's policies. We are tallking about a disagreement over content, not disruption. Newguy34 (talk) 20:49, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
A compromise is "wrong" when it seeks to replace properly referenced facts with complete nonsense made up on the spot, and proffered with the misrepresentation that it was supported by reliable sources. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:00, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
There are many, many reliable sources that refer to him as an "American of African descent", so why not try that in the article? Just consider it before the knee jerks itself again. Newguy34 (talk) 21:13, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
That's a different thing to what you were saying earlier. Also, an "American of African descent" is (drum roll please) an "African American"! We've gone from tortured logic to circuitous logic. -- Scjessey (talk) 21:52, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm still trying to find compromise, which is surprisingly difficult. So, at the end of the drum roll, would this meet your personal standard of approval for this ultra-controversial edit? Or, will this proposal of mine meet with the same fate as the last, given I have only been editing on Wikipedia since 2005. Not sure if that makes me a long-standing editor, or not, and therefore qualified to profer suggestions. Newguy34 (talk) 21:59, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
No, as your compromise is contrary to the vast preponderance of reliable sources the refer to him as simply African American without all of the weasel words. --guyzero | talk 22:09, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for your response. Wait, I don't remember asking you for your thoughts on the matter. Newguy34 (talk) 22:14, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Luckily, part of "pure awesome-ness" you referred to below is the fact that I don't need an invite from you to comment on this talkapge. thanks, --guyzero | talk 22:23, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Touche', my friend. Newguy34 (talk) 22:28, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Since African-American and American of African descent mean the exact same thing, why not keep the more succinct African-American? Newguy34, you still haven't provided an acceptable explanation of why it is necessary to refer to Obama as anything but the first African-American elected President of the US. As I noted below, the context that African-American is being used it does not mean that Obama is only African-American. There just isn't anything particularly special about being the 44th Caucasian elected US President, so that aspect of his ancestry is not covered in the sentence. --Bobblehead (rants) 22:12, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. I am not advocating, merely trying to find a compromise that works for everyone. As I said before, I don't care. Plus, my feelings are hurt by being told no! so many times by the collaborative, jovial bunch of editors working on this BLP. Newguy34 (talk) 22:18, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Are you calling me a member of a congress Newguy34? Personal attack! Personal attack! I joke, obviously. However I'm afraid your logic is what is lacking here Newguy. The term "African-American" literally refers to someone born in America who is of African descent. Neither of Obama's parents were people born in America who had African descendants (his father is from Kenya, of course), and therefore Obama himself is not descendant of "African Americans," he descends from Europeans on his mother's side and Africans on his father's. It is an important distinction. I can't quite parse your A=B logic because I don't know what "A" is for you, but think of it like this (pardon the relative crudity of the example). Let's say his mother is yellow paint and his father is blue paint. They are combined and we get green paint, i.e. Barack Obama. Now is Obama "descendant" from green paint? Of course not, he descends from yellow and blue paint but himself is green paint. Similarly Obama is descendant from white Europeans and black Africans, a combination which, given the racial history of the United States, is generally referred to as "African American." All of these categories are socially constructed and bizarre, but this is an encyclopedia article on one dude, not a critique of the construction of race in American society. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 20:37, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
What?! What if I were a member of congress? Mine was a compliment. Well, maybe not so much. I understand your analogy. I am merely trying to find compromise where obsessive "ownership" of the article exists on the part of some. I say, take two readings of the collaborative promise that forms the basic mission of Wiki and call me in the morning. Articles are never "done". They can always be improved, and everyone gets to have a crack at doing so. Whether some like it or not, we all get to have a say. Pure awesome-ness. And, I am sorry for the implcation that you are acting like a member of congress. Sorry, eleventy-billion times. Now, as to that article on people of green descent... Newguy34 (talk) 20:55, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I definitely think we need an article for Green-painted American. -- Scjessey (talk) 20:42, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Since we're parsing words and all... It should be noted that in the context that African-American in the lead paragraph it is not establishing that Obama is only African-American, just that he is the first African-American to be elected president. An example of how this is applicable is Daniel Akaka who is a mix of Chinese and Native Hawaiian ancestry. Even though he is "half Native Hawaiian" and "half Chinese", Akaka is both the first Native Hawaiian to be elected to the Senate and the only Chinese-American currently in the Senate. That is exactly how Obama's racial ancestry is being treated here, there just isn't anything particularly notable about being the 44th Caucasian elected to President, that isn't included. --Bobblehead (rants) 21:09, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Mr. Obama is the first "half white, half African-American" president, so this would be the most accurate description. Trent370 (talk) 05:52, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
He's the first African-American president of any kind. He's also the first Hawaiian African-American president. If you think that how he should be described in the first sentence should be changed, point us to any major influential profile of Obama that does the same. There is not a shortage of sources of any persuasion happy to sum up Obama just the same as we have. Bigbluefish (talk) 12:42, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Source like this: are typical of what I have seen. The bottom line is, in fact he is biracial, but considers himself African-American. It seems as though the lead should acknowledge the fact, and then point to Mr. Obamas preference i.e., "Obama is the first half-white/half-African American president, although he considers himself African-American." Trent370 (talk) 00:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Since this has a) been rejected at every turn and b) we don't do that in *any* other article - why would we want to do it here? --Cameron Scott (talk) 00:17, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

a) This is Wikipedia, the encyclopedia everyone can edit and it is an evolving enterprise and b) it is done in many other articles, i.e. Trent370 (talk) 00:23, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Where the individual in question has identified as such and Reliable sources have identified as such. Edit: which skimming up the page has already been explained to you in detail. --Cameron Scott (talk) 00:26, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
@ Trent270, after edit conflict - Sorry, but you are missing the point entirely. The fact that Obama is "half white" is not at all historically significant. It's not about skin color, but rather it is about heritage and ancestry. It is his African heritage, more than anything else, that makes his presidency such a special event in America. That is why the overwhelming preponderance of reliable sources specifically refer to him as "African American". Would you care to explain why the "half white" designation is so important to you? Don't forget that the body of the article adequately explains his ethnic combination. -- Scjessey (talk) 00:28, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
The "half white" designation is not important to me. It is not about how I feel, it is about facts and reliable sources. Many feel that his race must be mentioned explicilty, therefore, if it is mentioned, it should be correct (that is half-white). Also, there are numerous reliable sources attesting to the fact he is half-white, thus, I can see no reason to keep avoiding adding this designation to the lead. I am not clear why everyone is so keen to leave out facts supported by reliable sources. Keeping out the "half-white" designation is really selective editing bordering on original research. Trent370 (talk) 02:48, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
How many times do you have to be told before it will finally sink in? The overwhelming number of reliable sources use the term "African American". In case you aren't familiar with the term "overwhelming" (since I have repeated it often, but to no avail), it is akin to a whole beach versus a grain of sand. Only a tiny minority use the term "half white" - probably because it is a poor term with a vaguely racist flavor to it. -- Scjessey (talk) 03:10, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
There is no reliable source indicating an overwhelming number of reliable sources use the term. Also, you are not practicing civility and Wiki-love. Trent370 (talk) 04:47, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

President Barack Obama isn't half "African American". He is half African. Nevertheless, he is African American. LzqTAnFKVf7 (talk) 00:35, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Obama Momma = White Kansan Her nationality is American. Obama Poppa, African from the African nation of Kenya. This would make Barack Obama, Half American, Half African. Hes African-American. If you want to go further, hes Kansas-Kenyan. 'For the love of god.' --DemocraplypseNow (talk) 03:57, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

You are confusing race and ethnicity with nationality. Trent370 (talk) 04:47, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
His ethnic ancestry is well-covered in the article. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 04:00, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
But the lead is still incorrect. Trent370 (talk) 04:47, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
No, the lead is correct. He's the first African-American elected to the Presidency. If you want to talk white, he's the 44th white President, so there's nothing remarkable about it. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 04:55, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Minor correction: the first half African-American elected to the Presidency. Trent370 (talk) 05:04, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
The sources say "first African American President", and we go by sources, not wikipedian opinions. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 05:07, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Just correcting your Talk Page edit as to the actual facts. The text of the article lead should read "biracial" or "half white" as supported by a large number of reliable sources. Trent370 (talk) 05:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Wrong. Rush Limbaugh sneeringly calling him "Halfrican American" doesn't count. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 05:15, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Rush Limbaugh was never mentioned. Only the fact Mr. Obama is "half white" and "half African-American". Based on the numerous reliable sources indicating his biracial status, this fact should be included in the lead. Trent370 (talk) 07:16, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Trent, please see WP:CONSENSUS. It's how Wikipedia makes editorial decisions. You don't have consensus here (in fact consensus is clearly against you), and no one has ever had it for the change you are proposing to make. There are roughly 8 people who disagree with you. Please drop this and move on because you are not convincing anyone and you are repeating yourself over and over while ignoring countervailing arguments. This is not a productive use of anyone's time. Sometimes you lose arguments when editing Wikipedia - it happens to all of us - and it's important to be able to drop the debate when it's clear your position has not won out.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 07:36, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

There are more than 8 - some of us have just not commented on this again, as our positions have been made clear numerous times before. Tvoz/talk 08:09, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

middle name in infobox

Closing this perennial discussion to halt the inevitable descent into off-topic Bigbluefish (talk) 18:46, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Obama has decided to use his middle name during the swearing-in ceremony, in a conscious effort to "reboot America's image around the world." -- This appears to outweigh the (old, and still ongoing) conscious use by some media types of his middle name to slant his image (implying that he's Arab when he's in fact Christian -- on top of fomenting ethnic prejudice along the way).

I know there have been a gazillion discussions about these issues here, but this is an entirely new development. Obama realises that "hiding" his middle name would send the wrong message (just speculating on this bit: he's also probably aware that if he omitted the middle name he'd just get criticised the same way by the same people who are criticising him now for using it). Moreover, he realises that prominently and officially using his middle name is a positive thing.

So far, this article agrees with those on both sides of the "aisle" who think his name should better be "hidden", or at least is not his public name. But the article subject himself has decided that "the world is ready for that message" and sees it as a way to reach out.

I have never understood those who don't understand that the main task when confronted by people who try to slant him by "pointedly" using his middle name is to just go ahead and use his middle name and be even prouder of what America achieved in electing him. Obama understands.

So, could we please follow Obama's own insight and example and adjust the top of the infobox to prominently use his full name, the one under which he's going to be sworn into office? Or are we going to keep succumbing to those who wrongly imply that there is anything wrong with the name Hussein? (talk) 12:27, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Surely he's using his full name because that's standard for when taking an oath? I presume Clinton said "William Jefferson Clinton" during the oath at his inauguration but we have "Bill Clinton" in his box because that's the name he's actually known by. Obama is not generally called "Barack Hussein Obama". Timrollpickering (talk) 13:10, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Well unless you only watch fox news - but agreed, the info box generally uses the common name. It's not like we are trying to hide the information, it's the first thing in the article itself. --Cameron Scott (talk) 13:32, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Clinton did in fact state his full name, as I know from seeing a clip of it the other day, but that's customary anyway. The Presidential infoboxes generally have the full name, which is a silly way to do it, because the full name is already given elsewhere. If Fox News is still making a big deal out of his middle name, they're farther behind the curve than I thought. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 14:03, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Talk page discussions can do without snide comments about Fox News or any other news outlet. JenWSU (talk) 14:22, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Snide comment? I'm sure you're aware you're exaggerating, right? Grsz11 14:30, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Not at all. JenWSU (talk) 14:40, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Is Fox News actually making a thing out of his middle name? I thought it was Limbaugh doing that, and I'd have thought he'd be done with that by now, since it didn't work anyway. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 15:12, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
You are correct, Fox News is not making a big deal out of his middle name (and they shouldn't). JenWSU (talk) 15:22, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Some people on Fox News used to like Hannity. Not that it matters what one moron thinks. It doesn't make any more sense than pointing out that Stalin's first name is Joseph. ScienceApe (talk) 21:28, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Succeeding George W. Bush (info box)

How can it be true when currently he is not the president? It will be only true from 20-th of jan. It should be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The info box informs the reader he is the current President-elect of the United States, and is to be taking office on the 20th. (talk) 06:07, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Short-term Protection?

We should consider putting the page under full protection on, say, Tuesday and Wednesday. Not only are the vandals and well-meaning new or inept editors going to be very busy then, but the enthusiastic experienced editors are too, and there are going to be edit conflicts and quick reedits up the wazoo.

Best to get a quick talk-page consensus for any change first. It's not exactly a tragedy if the page isn't updated before His Own Band finishes "Hail to the Chief". PhGustaf (talk) 05:45, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

On the other hand, there are going to be a lot of editors set to punch "save page" as soon as they hear "So help me God". Maybe we should give the winner a pony. PhGustaf (talk) 05:52, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

just to let this clear


Yes we know. --Cameron Scott (talk) 16:06, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Of course, it shouldn't matter anyway. Religious affiliation (or lack thereof) isn't supposed to have anything to do with government. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:25, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Indeed, we better not talk about him the wrong way. We might offend the Second Coming sect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Which sect? The one who believes he's the antichrist or the other that believes he's the 12th Imam. Better to just have his church affiliation listed in the info box. Truth has never been important to Wikipedia before why care now? Or a "rickroll" esque link that sends the user the the South Park episode where Obama, McCain, Michelle and Sarah Palin steal the Hope diamond. lol.

Transition process

I would guess that we are going to be plenty busy on the 20th - in the same way that Obama has a transition process - it might be as well for us to discuss and consider the changes that we need or might need to make on the 20th. So that the reader can see a smooth changeover here. As far as I can see the article is basically structural sound and most of the context can be updated by removing the "elect" bit from the lead sections. Are there any major changes we need to think about? --Cameron Scott (talk) 19:39, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Yeah; the media seems particularly interested at the moment in the way breaking news propagates onto Wikipedia. Should we perhaps prepare a version of the article post-inauguration in advance? Is there an official moment when he can be said to be the President - at the beginning or the end of the day or the beginning or the end of the ceremony? You're right that the structure will basically remain intact, but at a glance, the first paragraph will need reorganising, the infobox changed, a succession box added and probably various templates and categories. Bigbluefish (talk) 12:27, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
According to the CotUS, Bush's term ends at noon Tuesday Obama can't excercise his Presidential powers until he's taken the oath. It's probably not worth while to look up the status of the Presidency during those few minutes.
On Tuesday the article will be deep enough in questionable changes that it won't be possible to correct things for the edit conflicts. PhGustaf (talk) 00:48, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Obama becomes President at 12:01 EST on January 20th. (that is, noon plus one minute, not midnight plus one). At that point we should change the article to reflect that fact. I imagine there will be about 1000 simultaneous edits to that effect. (talk) 23:51, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
It looks like Obama is supposed to take the oath at around 11:56 a.m., a few minutes before actually becoming president.[1] According to the 20th Amendment he becomes president at noon exactly, not 1 minute after. He takes the oath ahead of time so there is no discontinuity. I imagine that the minute people see Obama take the oath on TV, they will start editing the article to say that he is president instead of president-elect (I had this idea myself but checked first), but it will be 4 minutes too early. (talk) 06:31, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I am not too worried about the article being inaccurate for three or four minutes. Even semi-protected the article is going to be flooded with changes in the hour or so after the inauguration. Heck, even if it were full-protected it would be flooded. It's going to main page as in the news, it's going to be the number two or three page on English Wikipedia (probably behind the main page), and there is no hope of even trying to contain it. Full administrators are going to be falling over themselves making edits. There is no way to control the Obama article for those first few minutes apart from a lockdown coming from Jimmy Wales. Huadpe (talk) 10:27, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Tuesday edit

I believe that the edit tomorrow replacing the president elect table with the President of the United states should be done a bot that will edit it at 12 noon and the page should be put on full protection. The Same should be done for Joe Biden at 11:56 est. because that is when they will take the oath. Hereford 22:23, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

The same could be done to George Bush and Dick Chaney's boxes to show that they've been succeeded by Obama and Biden. Hereford 22:29, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Note:I am going to put this on Template:Cent.Hereford 23:08, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Why not just have a human do it? There is no rush and there is no deadline. If we leave it unprotected, someone can come to the page, see that GWB is still "president" and then fix it. Isn't that why we are here? To help people do things like that? Protonk (talk) 23:35, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Ok. NVM, im not ready for wikipedia be taken over by robots. :) Hereford 23:39, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. Frankly, anyone who needs to know who the POTUS is in the five minutes after noon on Tuesday and can only think of looking to Wikipedia deserves to be mildly misinformed. Bigbluefish (talk) 23:46, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

It's not a big deal. rootology (C)(T) 00:05, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Yup. A couple threads ago I suggested the page be closed Tuesday to keep it from becoming a mess. Nobody agreed. Fine. It's going to be a mess on Tuesday, but the page will return to its usual stability by Thursday, with no harm done. PhGustaf (talk) 00:17, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Closing (Full-protect) the page is better solution than several users attempting to edit at once, which might cause edit conflict. We can ask one admin to change the page. w_tanoto (talk) 21:48, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

The Same should be done for Joe Biden at 11:56 est. because that is when they will take the oath. I don't care that much about what the articles will say for four minutes, but more widely for the presentation of info in other articles I thought the Veep term still switches at noon. There is precedent for even Presidents taking the oath early (Hayes in 1877 took it privately on Saturday March 3rd because the inauguration wasn't until the 5th and there were fears of an attempted Democrat coup) and the swearing in of the Veep-elect early seems to be just about getting this bit out of the way before the big ceremony, not a formal handing over of power in advance. Timrollpickering (talk) 02:10, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Indeed. We swear in the VP first to provide official continuity in case it takes two or three minutes for the new president to get all the words out. (I remember quaking in my boots watching Dan Quayle be acting president between 12:00 and 12:03 on Jan 20, 1989 :-)) Co149 (talk) 05:36, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
from what I've heard, the president will assume the office at noon no matter if he said the oath on time or not. So, I don't think there was acting president in that era. To return to the topic of tomorrow edit, I would say we choose one of us to edit this page, GWB, biden, etc, because if we don't do that, everyone of us will want to edit it. w_tanoto (talk) 10:59, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
You are correct. The term of the President and Vice President begin at noon on January 20 whether or not they have taken the oath of office. They try to administer the oath a few minutes before noon for two reasons: first, so the new President is fully sworn in when his term officially begins; second, to serve as a symbolic moment for the public. Because the oath usually concludes right at about noon, it can cause people to incorrectly assume that the oath is what begins the new President's term. MplsNarco (talk) 16:37, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

See this page for the actual schedule--Biden is sworn in at 11:46 and Obama at 11:56. The actual transition is at noon exactly per the 20th Amendment. I imagine a lot of folks will edit the page when they see the ceremony on TV but will be a few minutes too early. I concur that it doesn't matter much (assuming everything goes as planned). (talk) 06:41, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

As of right now, we have a new President and Vice-President, even though Biden has taken his oath and Obama has not. Powers T 17:00, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Should we take out the header 'president elect of the united states'? It's a bit dated.  :-) Asbruckman (talk) 21:40, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Civil rights movement impact

I'm somewhat surprised that there's essentially no discussion of the impact of Obama's election on the civil rights movement. The link to the American civil rights movement is almost buried, and the impact statement limited to a quote. For what is clearly a watershed moment in African-American attitudes, this seems to be extremely little. Simesa (talk) 01:35, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

See [2] and [3] for starters. Simesa (talk) 02:14, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
And, today, the superficial [4] Simesa (talk) 12:35, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Note - the impact seems to be summed up in the now-ubiquitous quote "Rosa sat so Martin could walk, Martin walked so Obama could run, Obama ran so our children can fly!" (source indeterminable). Simesa (talk) 13:09, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
To put it simply, this is a Biography of Barack Obama. Some of his earlier actions before becoming a president could be construed as working for civil rights and that is covered both in his early years section and the related daughter article. Yet, what you are talking about is a broadly construed concept that would be better dealt within in the civil rights article then here due to the fact that this is a biography of the man, not everything that is attached to him. Brothejr (talk) 13:13, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
[5] I was married to a Black woman for over a decade, and had a daughter with her. But it was always there - there was always a part of her that was reserved, as if I or my friends might suddenly withdraw our acceptance of her at any second. There was a shield that when around me was always up, that only came down when we were safely in her family's homes. And, to be honest, whenever we were out in public there were always the subtle slights, the implications by both men and women that she was not good enough to be a first-class citizen. This inauguration radically changes all of that - permanently. For her and my daughter this is as of noon today a very different world. Simesa (talk) 21:19, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Net Worth

The article states that the Obama's net worth is $1.3m. Then it proceeds to mention his $4.2m income and $1.6m house. Unless the Obamas have a hefty mortgage and is spending a terrific some of money he is worth considerably more than $4.3m. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cadentsoul (talkcontribs)

Actually, to be specific it states the Obamas' net worth was... estimated to be $1.3m. If you know of a more recent estimate the article would certainly benefit from it. However it's probably more likely than you think that his net worth is near or even below the value of his house. As a high-shooting politician he will have committed every resource available to him to the cause of winning the election. A mortgage on the house is a logical move, and he's unlikely to have sat on a great deal of cash during his $670m presidential campaign. Oh, and he gives in the region of a quarter of a million to charity annually.
Again, new sources are very welcome but the best that can be done otherwise is to present the best range of evidence. Bigbluefish (talk) 21:49, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Income is generally NOT part of net worth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Changing of title

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

If no one minds, I would like to be the one who changes "President elect" to "current President of the United States of America" at 12:00 ET tomorrow. Is this okay? (talk) 07:27, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I wouldn't count on it. That'll be a first come, first served sort of thing. Dayewalker (talk) 07:29, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Winner of the thread of the day. Tvoz/talk 07:33, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
The edit conflicts are going to be rather intense around then, and I'm sure some people will jump the gun and then get reverted, etc. etc. Rather silly really if you ask me. It might actually be good if those who don't particularly give a damn whether they are the one who makes the switch at noon avoid even trying to do so. I'm guessing someone will take care of it and then get their 44 seconds of Wiki fame. Maybe even a call from the President! Err, maybe not.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 07:36, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Then again, maybe some of the reverters will get calls from the Secret Service ;-). (talk) 07:47, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I'll beat you all by going early! Not. But seriously, how about locking the page from 10am-12n (EST) to avoid the problems. Then one of you admins can make the edit. Parler Vous (edits) 07:46, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
And give one of the admins the pleasure?Your kidding right.Durga Dido (talk) 08:03, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Well this admin is quite content to leave the pleasure to other editors, and in the spirit of democracy and the encyclopedia that everyone can edit I think we should try to avoid protecting the page today if at all possible. I'll be offline most of the day but I know a bunch of editors (and I'm sure a number of admins) will be watching the page pretty darn closely so I'm sure we can keep things under control. If stuff starts to get out of hand requests for page protection is thataway. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 12:31, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I jumped the gun on purpose :D; but I won't get into an edit war. I just wanted to do it.whicky1978 talk 13:36, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Let's try not to do that, please. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 14:06, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

International congratulations

I've started an article International congratulations offered to Barack Obama upon his inauguration to address edits made by (someone in) Thailand. This appears to be a somewhat sensitive issue, and I'd appreciate advice here. Simesa (talk) 14:33, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Gee, I didn't expect it to vanish with no note on my Talk page nor a listing in today's articles for deletion. I was going to suggest linking the article to Barack Obama 2009 presidential inauguration. I'm going to have to post a note on the Talk page of the editor who originally tried to place the text in this article. Simesa (talk) 16:13, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
The article was deleted by administrator user:Stifle with the terse comment "Let's not", although I presume that some criteria under speedy deletion applied. Simesa (talk) 16:30, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
There aren't any applicable criteria for speedy deletion but take it from a third party that an article of that title probably doesn't have a WP:SNOWball's chance of satisfying general notability criteria. Only if there is a reliable source which discusses it with attribution of significance should an article exist. Of course having not seen the article I can't judge if there was some exceptional citation, but understand that the title comes across as the very stereotype of an article dedicated to unjustifiable minutiae. The administrator's lack of courtesy or explanation was unnecessary but was a quick way of exercising a probably inevitable outcome. Bigbluefish (talk) 18:11, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Exact time of inauguration..

Sweet mother of pearl, people... Is it really necessary to say he was inaugurated at 12:01/12:06/12:05 Eastern? Worse yet.. Do you have to edit war over it? Seriously, it isn't that important to have the exact time. Just round to noon or say he was inaugurated midday on January 20, 2009... --Bobblehead (rants) 18:03, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Thats recentism for you.--Jojhutton (talk) 18:12, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I kinda agree that the exact time does not matter,but it's still detail that is good to know.For example it makes people curious to know who was the president during 12.00 and 12.05 and then they could see that the time of oath does not matter for legalities. Durga Dido (talk) 18:16, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Thats also wikipedia for you. (talk) 18:17, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

OMG, the nit picking! :) Brothejr (talk) 18:20, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

It can bw shown, it seems that President Obama is the SIXTH, not the first President with African ancestry (neglecting the trivial assertion (pace Darwin) that we are all Africans anyway). The others did not call themselves Afro-American as President Obama does, for they essentially denied their African roots (or may have been entirely ignorant of them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Wait, Obama is African-American? But There's No One As Irish As Barack O'Bama! Bigbluefish (talk) 19:09, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Noon Presidency

Obama was President at 12:00:00pm EST, irregardless of whether he said the oath. By law Bush, Cheney, and their entire cabinet and succession structure was out of a job at 12:00:00pm EST, and there is never "not" a President in the line of succession. Given that the Electoral College already ratified over a week ago, that's it--Obama and Cheney Biden were in office at 12:00:00pm EST sharp. His designation then became POTUS. rootology (C)(T) 19:01, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Presidential term begins at Noon. Period. Not 12:08, or 11:58, Noon. Grsz11 19:05, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

@rootology - "irregardless" - I hope to God you're not making edits to these pages. (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 19:38, 20 January 2009 (UTC).

The last time I checked, the US Constitution trumps anything else related to this as a reliable source. ;) rootology (C)(T) 20:26, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
he was making fun of you... "irregardless" (talk) 00:46, 21 January 2009 (UTC)