Talk:Barack Obama/Archive 57

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Presidency section

I know we're going for summary style here, but the entries under Domestic Policy and Foreign Policy / Iraq seem too sparse to me. Under Foreign Policy, Obama's major initiatives have been the plan to scale back Iraq and to beef up Afghanistan, but only Iraq is mentioned (though in the context of an address to troops going to Afghanistan). I recommend that the Afghan ramp-up be mentioned, resulting more or less in:

Early in his presidency, Obama moved to implement the war strategy he had campaigned on, scaling back combat operations in Iraq and intensifying the effort in Afghanistan[1]. On February 18, 2009 he announced that the U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan would be boosted by 17,000. On February 27, 2009, Obama declared that combat operations will end in Iraq within 18 months, telling Marines preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, "Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end."[2]

In Domestic Policy, I would eliminate the Economic Policy subheading until we we need at least one more subheading, and go with:

On February 17, 2009, Obama signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus package, which included increased Federal spending, aid to states, and tax reductions. He stated in his remarks that the intended goal was to ameliorate the effects of the recession.[3] Although Obama made a high-profile visit to Captiol Hill to engage with Congressional Republicans, the bill ultimately passed largely on a party-line vote.[4]

Either of these may need to be pared down once his presidency builds some more substance. The mention of the party-line vote seems significant since bipartianship was an important part of his campaign rhetoric and is mentioned three times in the state legislator section. Plus, it might quiet critics who complain that there's nothing even faintly negative about Obama on the page.

Forgot to sign that posting. CouldOughta (talk) 02:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

The sentence about the Afghan beefup needs a reference:[5] CouldOughta (talk) 02:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Obama would send 7,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, lessen force in Iraq
  2. ^ Feller, Ben (2009-02-27). "Obama sets firm withdrawal timetable for Iraq". CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.: Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  3. ^ "Obama's remarks on signing the stimulus plan". Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  4. ^ "Stimulus package en route to Obama's desk". Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  5. ^ "Obama launches Afghanistan surge". The Australian. February 19, 2009. 

CouldOughta (talk) 02:19, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Change made. CouldOughta (talk) 02:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

Comment: Where do you stand on television references? There was a very good interview with a Dr. Luca Anceschi last week on how Obama is likely to handle US deployments in the region. Ottre 21:13, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

That calls for a two-pronged response. Since this article is the subject of a lot of editing, we need references that are reasonably clear and quick to check & confirm. Watching a video clip takes time and requires summarizing; I can't help thinking that doing so would require a change in the editing culture on this page. A more experienced editor might have a better-informed opinion. Response prong two is to say that we don't need much more than what we have now on the Iraq war in the Presidency section; it has to stay in tight summary form to let it grow with time. Even what we have there now probably will have to be trimmed in the future as the Obama presidency produces more events of note. Plus, we shouldn't put be adding even expert opinion on what Obama is likely to do; we should wait for him to do it. If the material is very good, consider putting the reference on the Iraq war page. CouldOughta (talk) 01:06, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

Possible Marxist ?

I supppose he could be of the Groucho variety but I doubt it
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

There have been many reliable sources that have noted how Obama’s childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a communist (CPUSA member). In his books, Obama admits attending “socialist conferences” and coming into contact with Marxist literature. Obama’s socialist backing also goes back at least to 1996, when he received the endorsement of the Chicago branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for an Illinois state senate seat. Why are none of these issues addressed in the article? By the way, I don't even think they are bad - as I'm a Marxist myself. (talk) 01:47, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

So we want candidates in office who have no contact with ideologies but those we are comfortable with? And besides, where is the proof it had a significant impact? Soxwon (talk) 01:51, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. I suggest we close down all libraries so that people do not "come into contact with Marxist literature" - one whiff from Das Kapital, and you turn into Pol Pot. 48 channels with 50% Big Brother and 50% reruns of American Idol should be enough for anybody's intellectual stimulation. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 02:34, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I definitely think we need to go back to burning books. Especially books on witchcraft, like Harry Potter. And anything about mushrooms. Mushrooms are gross. -- Scjessey (talk) 02:38, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't know man, Simon Cowell can be too deep for me sometimes, and Ryan Seacrest is like a well of wisdom with no bottom. Soxwon (talk) 02:39, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
If you really are a Marxist, then you know better than anyone that Obama isn't one. Wasted Time R (talk) 03:08, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

(OD)Just to sum up what everyone's saying above, if a reliable source exists showing Obama is a Marxist, feel free to bring it up. Otherwise, it's original research. Dayewalker (talk) 03:13, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

To several of the previous commenters (before Dayewalker and Wasted Time R) - read back over your replies. Are they helpful in any way? No, of course not. This talk page already has enough problems from folks who come here with wild accusations, conspiracy theories, or irrelevant minutiae about Obama's life. We don't need to add to that problem with snarky replies which waste everyone's time and don't bother to address the question asked. Perhaps the anon user is just pushing a POV, or perhaps they are just making what they see as a legitimate point. It saves time if we just assume the latter and answer the above with something like the following:
While it is clear that Obama has come into contact with Marxist or socialist ideas in the past, there is no indication that he ever (now or in the past) self-identified as a Marxist. As most college students who study liberal arts (as Obama did) come into contact with at least some Marxist theories, that fact is not really worth mentioning in Obama's biographical article. Nor is the fact that a minor, outside-the-mainstream political party once endorsed him for office particularly relevant as this is a fairly common occurrence in American politics. And fact that Obama as a youngster knew someone with radical politics is not relevant unless it can be demonstrated that said person decisively influenced Obama's own politics, which it has not.
I know the drive-by commenting on the talk page can get frustrating, but when you start talking about Pol Pot, mushrooms, Harry Potter, and Simon Cowell in your replies, it's safe to assume you're not replying in a constructive way.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 03:25, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry. I was just getting all caught up in the spirit of the moment. I meant no disrespect to the... er... Marxist. -- Scjessey (talk) 03:29, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
My response was meant in all seriousness. The gulf between actual Marxism and the U.S. Democratic Party (which Obama fits comfortably within) is wider than an ocean. An actual Marxist would know that. Wasted Time R (talk) 03:40, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
My apologies, the first answer did in fact address the question at hand, the second was simly snark. Soxwon (talk) 03:42, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
My comment was not directed at everyone and probably should have been more specific (I had neither Wasted Time R nor Soxwon's first comment in mind). It's really not a big deal, I just worry that the stressful nature of this page sometimes causes folks to (understandably) bite when certain types of questions are asked. It's the kind of thing we all can (and do) fall prey to at times so I just wanted to draw attention to that. Questions about possible Marxist (in the academic sense) influences on Obama are not completely off the wall, though as I said above it's really not worthy of coverage. And of course there is, lamentably in my view, a large gulf between Marxian ideas and the views of Democrats like Obama as WTR says. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 04:17, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
The initial "question" posed by the anon was not done in a good-faith effort to improve the article or contribute to the encyclopedia. This was a single post by an IP resolving to Nova Southeastern University, hardly a hotbed for Marxist movements, so take that claim with a grain of salt. WP:BITE does not apply to obvious trolls or vandals. This should have been closed up long before reaching this point. Tarc (talk) 12:48, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree. "Possible" Marxist? I mean, c'mon, has there ever been any doubt? ;-) Someone can go ahead and collapse/delete/archive this now. --Ali'i 14:22, 1 April 2009 (UTC)


Thanks to the editor for providing a reference, but it confirms that the word "unexpected" is misleading. The Republican challenger imploded with a scandal. The only thing the article says is that he wasn't expected to win going into the race and that the size of his margins weren't expected, but it's not really accurate to say his victory was unexpected without clarifying what is meant by this. No one was shocked when he won. It wasn't a big surprise. It was expected. It maybe wasn't anticipated at the start of the race and he may have been an underdog, but to stick in unexpected in the "lead" (introduction) of this article as if that's very notable is misleading. ChildofMidnight (talk) 06:17, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

CoM, please read it again - the "unexpected" is referring to the Democratic primary landslide win in March which was unexpected, not the November election against the imploded Republicans which was not. Tvoz/talk 07:16, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
A Senate primary win does not a star make, however unexpected it may have struck the small fraction of people in his state that follow Senate primaries. For that matter, actually getting elected to the U.S. Senate does not make someone a "star". It makes them a Senator. Obama became a star due to his address to the Democratic convention which electrified not only the party in the hall but in the nationwide TV audience and got people talking about him across the country. I don't understand the reverts here. Can't we just get a reference? Abrazame (talk) 09:58, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. One bit taken out of context from an enthusiastic New York Times story doesn't belong in the introduction of this article. The significane of the "unexpectedness" of Obama's primary win in the Senate primary is at or approaching nil. ChildofMidnight (talk) 17:42, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
There are now a couple of reliable sources referencing the surprise surrounding the landslide victory in the Dem primary and pointing to Obama as a rising star among Democrats at that time. Thus I don't think there's a problem per say with the lede or with the text on this later in the article, but there's also probably room for compromise. Certainly Obama's convention speech raised his stature and "star power" far more than his primary victory and it should be easy to find references that demonstrate this (as currently written, the intro places more emphasis on the primary win - "made him a rising star" - then on his convention speech - "further raising his visibility" - and to my mind at least the emphasis there is reversed from what it should be).
If ChildofMidnight and others have problems with the current wording they should propose some alternatives here, though the sources cited seem to demonstrate that the notion that the significance of his primary win is "at or approaching nil" is not really accurate, so it's not necessarily inappropriate to mention this in some form in the lede (though I would say it's not incredibly crucial either).
I would think it should be easy to come up with a solution agreeable to all on the talk page, and that's what should happen now rather than continued edit warring. In the grand scheme this is a very small issue so let's try to be flexible in coming up with a wording that most can agree on. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 18:53, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
I read this section first and expected to agree with ChildofMidnight and Abrazame, but then I went to go check the sources, which support the text fully. I'm not at all clear on how it is "taken out of context" from the NYT article, considering that is the context of the article. It also explains how a not-yet-elected Senate candidate was selected to give the keynote speech at the nominating convention, which is a fact that seems rather odd without the proper context. —bbatsell ¿? 20:57, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
Thank you Bbatsell - that is exactly right. I'm not inclined to compromise on this one, as it is so clearly the point of the source, and true to boot. Tvoz/talk 03:13, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
If in fact the "unexpectedness" of his victory in a Senate primary race was the reason he was selected as the keynote speaker (according to good sources), that would be interesting to note and explain in the body of the article. In the lead (introduction), the reader has no idea what this unexpectedness is all about. It makes it seem like people woke up after the election WOWING at the outcome... of the Senate primary in Illinois? This is minor. And I agree with the comments in the section below that Obama's major policy positions and decisions are for more notable. I preferred the old version of the introduction, for what it's worth, and thought it would have been better to update it with major presidential decisions (a couple mentions like the spending bill, appointments, war in Iraq, and Afghanistan decisions) instead of taking out all the details on his Senate career (which probably could have been summarized) and adding this bit about how important the unexpectedness of his Senate primary victory was. Just to be clear, a big part of the problem is saying something is unexpected isn't enough to clarify what that means. Why was it unexpected? What part of it was unexpected? There's none of that context. My suggested edit is simple, take out the word unexpected. If someone wants to move it and explain it elsewhere, that's up to them.ChildofMidnight (talk) 03:40, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I think the point is obviously that the "unexpected" aspect was the "landslide" nature of the victory. As currently worded I suppose it's a bit ambiguous but not a huge problem. I think I tend to agree with C of M on this one point though, i.e. is the word "unexpected" all that necessary, at least in the lede? I think what's really important here is the "landslide victory" itself. Even had a landslide been completely anticipated - and Obama was hardly a total underdog by the final weeks of the campaign, see here ("Obama, meanwhile, has shot up as high as 20 percentage points ahead of Hynes and Hull, according to the latest polls," March 11th) and here ("Though Obama...lagged in polls as late as mid-February, he surged to the front of the pack in recent weeks") - it presumably would still have catapulted him to the front ranks of up-and-coming Democrats. If removing "unexpected" from the sentence ends the argument I think I'm okay with that, though I'm open to being persuaded that the word (or something similar) is particularly important. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 04:08, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree, we should remove "unexpected". It's one of those words that newspapers sometimes use but we should not, a word to avoid like "ironic(ally)", "coincidentally", "sadly", "surprisingly", etc. It inserts a narrative voice that doesn't belong in an encyclopedia, some kind of all knowing person who makes a judgment on what is and what is not to be expected. Wikidemon (talk) 04:15, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

←I'm afraid I disagree. The sources directly support that his win and its landmark size were unexpected - we're not making the judgment, the sources are. Why are we bending over backward to not say something that is the characterization of the sources? Examples:

But Mr. Obama, a state senator from Chicago, awoke Wednesday to a deluge of national attention, a result of his overwhelming victory the night before by margins unforeseen by any polls or guesses. (NYT ref)
Obama, 42, whose initial campaign strategy was to build a coalition of blacks and liberal whites, instead surprised even his strategists by amassing broad support from throughout the party. (Trib ref)
Three weeks ago, state Sen. Barack Obama appeared to be an also-ran among the eight Democrats running in Illinois for the nomination to an open U.S. Senate seat. (USA Today ref)

I think it is a fair word to use, and since the unexpected Senate primary win was arguably an extremely significant step in his rise, as it certainly led to the national exposure and the speculation about his future etc - it belongs in the lead. I don't necessarily object to expanding the lead if we get consensus about that, but we don't need to cut an accurate descriptive word to do that. I don't think it's the most important word in the article, but I think, as I said, it is accurate, well-supported, summarizes the article properly, and I see no reason to take it out. Tvoz/talk 07:25, 25 March 2009 (UTC) The sources I referred to here are in note 61 of the article: [1], [2], [3] Tvoz/talk 05:12, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

The two sources I linked to in my comment above somewhat contradict the NYT story. One (a Chicago paper, no doubt more in touch with the campaign) specifically references polls putting Obama ahead by as much as 20 points prior to the election. The other mentioned that Obama had surged to the front toward the end of the campaign. Three weeks prior to the election he may have seemed like an also-ran, but three days before he probably was the favorite. Thus the "unexpected" label may be applicable if we take the long view ("one month ago no one thought he would win, much less in a landslide") but not so much if viewed in light of the final days of the campaign ("Obama had surged to a huge lead in the final stages"). We could say that the victory was unexpected because he was not the early favorite, or that it was expected because he was leading the polls in the end, and I don't think one view is more correct than the other. So overall I think the situation is a bit more ambiguous than you're suggesting, and I'm wondering what you think of the two sources that are clearly characterizing Obama as the frontrunner in the home stretch.
But again, is the "unexpected" nature of the victory really what matters in terms of Obama's star status, or is it rather the fact that he won and won big time? I think the latter, which means removing "unexpected" doesn't really do any harm to the key idea. And Tvoz I guess I would somewhat reverse your question: why is it so critical to refer to the primary win as "unexpected" when the sourcing for that seems to be ambiguous at best, and when the "unexpectedness" of the victory was almost certainly far less important than the victory itself/the fact that it was a landslide? I just don't think we lose anything by removing the word and indeed I think the sentence has greater clarity without it.
Finally I still think we should be placing greater emphasis on the convention speech rather than the primary win in terms of raising his star power, somewhat reversing the emphasis in the current sentence. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 09:14, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
OK - first I didn't say the word "unexpected" is critical, but I believe it is accurate and correctly reflects sources and the article itself. Yes, I am taking the long view of the primary victory - and its size - which multiple sources have identified with words that mean "unexpected", because it was in fact unexpected. Even if he had surged in the end, overall he had not been predicted to win and he certainly had not been predicted to win big, and across ethnic lines in the way he did - which one of your sources (LA Times) mentions: expected strong support for Hynes from Chicago's Democratic machine failed to materialize and instead surprised even his strategists by amassing broad support from throughout the party. (I can't access the entire Sun-Times article via the truncated Highbeam link, so I can't verify whether it says anything one way or the other about the victory.) Of course I think the speech should be emphasized, but it seems pretty clear that without that surprising landslide primary win he likely would not have been on the Kerry campaign's radar, and wouldn't have been selected to give the speech that (I believe) launched his national career. So yes, emphasize the speech, but the chronology is important, and the surprise nature of coming from essentially out of nowhere - no offense intended to the Illinois State Legislature - to win big across the board and thus be propelled to the national stage should be captured in the lead, in my opinion. If someone wants to peopose alternate wording, I'm of course interested in seeing it, as I said in the previous section. Tvoz/talk 23:06, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree with respect to our thinking about this which is fine of course, and anyway I certainly don't want to make a big to do about this. Also ChildofMidnight has taken a stab at some new language that I think works better, namely that Obama "entered the 2004 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate as an underdog. He won the primary with broad support that surprised campaign watchers and raised his profile in the Democratic party." I think that's a good alternate version, though perhaps the sentence that follows could be concluded a bit more strongly than "further raised his profile" (with respect to his convention speech). --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 02:37, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, I had not seen the edit until you mentioned it - I was under the impression that we were still discussing this, so am surprised to see that new wording was posted before we finished talking about it, but in any case - it now says "raised his profile" twice in succession which is not good writing even with the "further", and I agree with you that the sentence about the speech is weak. So I'm not happy with the new wording, and think it should have been hammered out here first, seeing as it is in contention. Also - the writing of the intro is now significantly poorer - we can do better than starting so many sentences with "He". Tvoz/talk 05:51, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely the discussion should have continued here before the changes were made (@ ChildofMidnight, if that user is reading this, as they should be). And I did not look as closely at the precise wording as I should have, you're right about repetitiveness being a problem. We do need less "he" in that paragraph and one or two "Obama"s instead which is easy enough. And perhaps we can replace "that further raised his profile" with something like "that marked him as a rising star in the party" (I'm not even close to being married to that wording). I think it makes since to use the "star" appellation here in the clause on the convention speech, particularly since several sources in footnote 65 use that exact terminology. So changing that phrase (to my proposal or something more felicitously worded) and fixing the hes might take care of the repetitiveness problem. --Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 06:36, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Your suggestions are definitely better than what's there now (particularly the "rising star") - honestly, I'm too tired to fine tune right now, but I for one would be happier with what you're suggesting than what's there now, so I'm ok with your editing it along those lines and I'll take another look tomorrow with both eyes open. But what's there now is really not ok for an FA. Thanks for sticking with the discussion. Tvoz/talk 06:53, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Is there a proposed version right now? The discussion is a little hard to follow. I'll repeat my concern that trying to state as fact people's subjective expectations (it was a surprise, surprisingly, unexpectedly, nobody thought...) is unencyclopedic here even if some reliable news sources feel free to opine in that way. COM's version, "surprised campaign watchers" is more specific. Who did it suprise? Who was expecting or not expecting it? Presumably Obama himself and many of those who voted for him thought he might win... most people in America and the world were not surprised at all, and in fact they have never heard of it until this day. So it is important to qualify or explain the context of descriptions of the degree of unexpectedness. Wikidemon (talk) 07:20, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Some polls

  1. As stated in the multiple, reliable sources cited in this article's 2004 U.S. Senate campaign subsection for the sentence:

    In the March 2004 primary election, Obama won an unexpected landslide victory with 53% of the vote in a seven-candidate field, 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival, which overnight made him a rising star in the national Democratic Party and started speculation about a presidential future.

    and as Bigtimepeace noted, on election night, it was the landslide aspect of Obama's "overwhelming victory the night before by margins unforeseen by any polls or guesses" that "surprised even his strategists by amassing broad support from throughout the party" and was unexpected. The last polls published before the primary election showed that Obama's support had surged in the final three weeks of the campaign to 33% or 37%, with a double-digit lead over Hynes large enough to overcome Hynes' regular Democratic Party organization support and win a plurality victory in the seven-candidate field.[4][5][6]
  2. Throughout the primary campaign, Hynes and Obama were never "underdogs" or "also-rans," even when Hull—after unprecedented early saturation television advertising that no other Democratic or Republican candidate could afford—transiently opened a 9% to 10% lead over Hynes and Obama in the polls for two weeks in mid-February 2004. One month before the primary election, Obama was the least well-known of the five leading Democratic candidates, but had more cash-on-hand than any of the other Democratic or Republican candidates (except Hull). Two months before the primary election, Obama was in a four-way tie for the lead in the Democratic primary race with Hynes, Hull and Pappas.
  3. "Unexpected" is an accurate, well-sourced, useful qualifier for differentiating Obama's unexpected landslide victory in the March 2004 U.S. Senate primary election from his expected landslide victory over Alan Keyes in the November 2004 U.S. general election.

Polls in the last five months of the 22-month Illinois 2004 U.S. Senate Democratic primary election campaign:

  • Oct. 27, 2003: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll Oct. 15–20, 2003:[7]
    • Pappas 16%, Hynes 12%, Obama 9%, Chico 6%, Hull 6%, undecided 45%
  • Nov. 9, 2003: Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas announces candidacy[8][9]
  • Dec. 9, 2003: former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, 75, dies from post-operative complications one day after heart surgery[10][11][12]
  • Dec. 31, 2003: primary fundraising to-date:
    • Hull $12.7 million, Chico $3.5 million, Hynes $3.5 million, Obama $3.0 million, Washington $875,000, Pappas $250,000, Skinner $83,000

  • Jan. 15, 2004: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll Jan. 6–11, 2004:[13]
    • Hynes 14%, Obama 14%, Pappas 14%, Hull 10%, Chico 6%, undecided 38%
  • Jan. 22, 2004: CBS2 poll Jan. 12–14, 2004:[14]
    • Hynes 20%, Obama 19%, Hull 19%, Pappas 18%, Chico 9%, undecided 7%

  • Feb. 4, 2004: Daily Herald/WBEZ-FM 91.5 radio debate in Chicago, IL (6 of 7 candidates; Hull absent)
  • Feb. 22, 2004: Daily Southtown poll Feb. 19, 2004:[15]
    • Hull 27%, Hynes 17%, Obama 17%, Pappas 14%, Chico 5%, undecided 16%
  • Feb. 23, 2004: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll Feb. 11–17, 2004:[16]
    • Hull 24%, Obama 14%, Hynes 11%, Pappas 9%, Chico 7%, undecided 34%
      • name recognition: Hull >60%, Pappas 55%, Hynes 54%, Chico 38%, Obama 32%
  • Feb. 23, 2004: Illinois Radio Network/WBBM-AM 780 radio debate in Springfield, IL (all 7 candidates)
  • Feb. 25, 2004: Obama begins television advertising in the Chicago metro area[17]
  • Feb. 26, 2004: CBS2/Newsradio 780 poll Feb. 22–24, 2004:[18]
    • Obama 27%, Hull 25%, Hynes 18%, Pappas 14%, Chico 6%
  • Feb. 27, 2004: Chicago Sun-Times endorses Obama[19]
  • Feb. 29, 2004: Chicago Tribune endorses Obama[20]

  • Mar. 4, 2004: PBS television debate WTTW-TV Ch. 11 in Chicago, IL (all 5 leading candidates)
  • Mar. 5, 2004: Daily Southtown poll Mar. 3, 2004:
    • Obama 28%, Hull 23%, Hynes 22%, Pappas 10%, Chico 3%, undecided 11%
  • Mar. 7, 2004: Daily Herald, Peoria Journal Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch endorse Obama[21][22][23]
  • Mar. 9, 2004: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll Mar. 3–6, 2004:[24]
    • Obama 33%, Hynes 19%, Hull 16%, Pappas 8%, Chico 6%, undecided 16%
  • Mar. 10, 2004: League of Women Voters television debate WLS-TV Ch. 7 in Chicago, IL (all 5 leading candidates)
  • Mar. 11, 2004: Obama begins television advertising in downstate Illinois
  • Mar. 14, 2004: Copley News Service poll Mar. 8–10, 2004:[25]
    • Obama 37%, Hynes 18%, Hull 16%, Pappas 8%, Chico 5%, undecided 14%
  • Mar. 16, 2004: primary election results:[26][27][28][29][30][31]
    • Obama 53%, Hynes 24%, Hull 11%, Pappas 6%, Chico 4%
  • Mar. 16, 2004: primary spending:
    • Hull $29.0 million, Obama $5.5 million, Hynes $5.5 million, Chico $4.1 million, Pappas $1.1 million, Washington $850,000, Skinner $100,000

Polls in the last three months of the 8-month Illinois 2004 U.S. Senate general election campaign:

  • Aug. 4, 2004: 19-member Illinois Republican State Central Committee offers Alan Keyes the Republican U.S. Senate nomination[32]
  • Aug. 8, 2004: Conservative talk radio show host Alan Keyes of Maryland accepts the Illinois Republican U.S. Senate nomination[33]
  • Aug.22, 2004: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll Aug. 13–16, 2004:[34]
    • Obama 65%, Keyes 24%, undecided 12%
  • Sep.26, 2004: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll Sep. 17–20, 2004:[35]
    • Obama 68%, Keyes 17%, other 3%, undecided 11%
  • Oct.24, 2004: Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV poll Oct. 16–19, 2004:[36]
    • Obama 66%, Keyes 19%, undecided 9%
  • Nov. 2, 2004: general election results:[37][38][39][40][41]
    • Obama 70%, Keyes 27%, Franzen 2%, Kohn 1%

Newross (talk) 23:31, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

So, folks, let's try to bring this together. Is underdog the appropriate term to describe Obama during the primary, supported by reliable sources? Wouldn't appear as such from the polling cited above, unless one applied at little WP:OR. I suggest we either find the reliable sources or simply remove that term. Also, Wikidemon pointed out above, that "some campaign watchers" is horribly vague. So, same algorithm, let's either have the reliable source or remove the statement. I was bold and made two edits that had the effect of rendering the sentence: "He entered the 2004 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate as an underdog and then won the primary with broad support that surprised campaign watchers and raised his profile in the Democratic party." My edits were viewed as contentious by an editor and quickly reverted. So, I'll repropose this sentence as a compromise and closure to this discussion. Any takers? If not, please tell us why not, complete with reliable sources. QueenofBattle (talk) 21:44, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Please see new section "Introduction, again" below for discussion about the 3rd and 4th paragraph of the intro - I hadn't seen this new section when I posted below, but since this is about the subsection itself, let's keep the introduction discussion separate. I've proposed new wording that might address your concerns. Note that the style of this article is to not have citations in the intro section, but it is supposed to summarize the subsections which do have citations. As for being bold - unfortunately this is not a good time for bold edits to the intro of this article on article probation, as it has already been a contentious area. Tvoz/talk 23:47, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Strange code

Why do I see


at the top of the article? Mike R (talk) 19:21, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't see it. Is it at the very top? tempodivalse [☎] 19:25, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
It's gone now. It was right above the hatnote. Mike R (talk) 19:30, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Dubious category inclusion in Former Atheist and Agnostic.

He is in the cat of Former Atheists and Agnostics. Do we have a ref for this ? Given we have 221 references it seems somewhat of a glaring hole. Non-theism isn't these two (heck Agnostic isn't even remotely close to Atheism but that is another issue for this cat hat rack). Ttiotsw (talk) 08:42, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

There is certainly implicit evidence for atheism and/or agnosticism (these two terms overlap, but are not synonymous), but I am not aware of any explicit statement or a supporting reliable source. I am generally against "category creep" of any kind. -- Scjessey (talk) 13:10, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
No there isn't. Given the mountains oc citation regularly hauled out to deflect the crypto-muslim drive by edits, we know full well he's a christian. ThuranX (talk) 13:56, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
The category is "former", not saying it belongs, just noting. Tom (talk) 14:32, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Indeed. He was not always a Christian. This is something he came to later in life, after a childhood relatively free from religion. Like I said, this is implicitly understood from his own writing. -- Scjessey (talk) 14:54, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
No, it's something you INFER from his writing. What he implies without overt statement would require later over statements from him to clarify for citation here. ThuranX (talk) 17:00, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I never suggested that he should be described or categorized in this manner. I merely stated that (a) one could imply a form of atheism or agnosticism from his own writing, and (b) I hate category creep. Your responses indicate that I might be suggesting this was somehow okay, when it plainly is not. -- Scjessey (talk) 02:33, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
So in conclusion, it is an unsupportable category inclusion. Everyone is born a non-theist or in a sense of the word an atheist but we don't usually stick everyone into this category by default unless they have explicitly claimed that they are an atheist (or agnostic) at any time. Unless someone can give an explicit reference to where Obama has claimed this then it is conjecture on our part and given WP:BLP we must remove all information unless it is supportable. Therefore I'm removing the cat. Ttiotsw (talk) 02:24, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Someone already done that ! Seems like as good a consensus as any then.Ttiotsw (talk) 02:30, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

article not written very well

Closing non-constructive discussion from all involved per WP:FORUM
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I've looked at the archives and find that there is a lot of fighting. The article says that it is under article probation.

What they actually mean is that editors can be under probation by editing the wrong way.

What this article actually needs is real article probation, that is, the article is so poorly written for a high profile article that it should be under probation. (compared to low profile articles, like G-7, it's not that poorly written)

I don't have the desire to join the bickering. Every section needs a lot of work.

Just picking some sections at random...

1. Presidency section. This is doesn't summarize the presidency well. Granted that it's hard to write a good summary of an evolving presidency. However, "The theme of the inauguration was "A New Birth of Freedom", commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.[135]" doesn't belong in such short summary. I see someone has a reference to prove it's true but that doesn't mean the idea should be included. It sounds to me like an advertising agency's press release or talking point.

2. The Presidential Campaign is longer than it should be. For example, "At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in support of Obama's candidacy and called for him to be nominated by acclamation as the Democratic candidate.[116][117]" This detail is really just formality and not an important point in his biography. I can think of other details that are more important to the biography of President Obama than this.

One trouble that I see is that there is too much hostility that I don't want to write something that much to fight. I'm not going to spend time fighting over a single sentence even if the sentence doesn't belong. G7error (talk) 18:46, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your valuable insights. Strange that it has been given featured article status, given the problems you have identified, but someone with such an extensive editing record is bound to know best. -- Scjessey (talk) 19:00, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
With that kind of sarcasm (last sentence), no wonder nobody wants to help out. FYI, I have written many articles professionally. But I see that my point has been proven. People with expertise are chased away due to fighting or, as I didn't predict, sarcasm and criticism.—Preceding unsigned comment added by G7error (talkcontribs)
What do you expect? This is a featured article, considered to be one of the finest examples of articledom on Wikipedia, and you just came along and trashed it with some pretty bizarre claims about it sounding like an advertisement. You even suggested that the endorsement of former First Lady and primary challenger Hillary Clinton was "not important". -- Scjessey (talk) 19:17, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You are not exactly helping matters by coming here to lodge a complaint against other editors. Most of the trouble here has come from fake accounts and people who come to gripe rather than edit. So when you post a weakly thought through gripe about editors being unsympathetic from an account of dubious legitimacy, of course you are going to confirm your own point. If you truly want to help, take that chip off your shoulder and try to actually do so without antagonizing others. If you don't, just stay away. We do not need you to announce your reasons here. Wikidemon (talk) 19:23, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Come on people, don't bite. The editor raises some perfectly legitimate points and gets only sarcasm and accusations of having a chip on his shoulder? That's a great reflection on the community. How about welcoming valid criticism and working to improve the editor's opinion of the project by attempting to answer his complaints rather than giving him the "well, it's an FA" response. Just because the article is among the best Wikipedia has to offer doesn't mean it is the best it can be. Mfield (Oi!) 19:30, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
What valid criticism? The article talk page is not the place to entertain complaints about other editors or the state of Wikipedia. The editor clearly came here with a chip on his (or her) shoulder, something that is utterly not productive. I'll add, a patronizing attitude. That passes on some websites, but thank goodness for our standards of civility and constructive editing, not here. It is not our job to defend the community from each person who comes here to cast aspersions. Wikidemon (talk) 19:36, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the anon. Furthermore, many of his points are proven by the inappropriate responses to his content focused comments. This article stinks. It has lots of irrelevancies. It isn't balanced. It's the result of bitey POV warriors taking over and attacking anyone who dares point out or correct problems. An effort was made to revoke FA status, and even that was attacked. So there we are, stuck with a crappy embarassment of an article, but it gets a star in the upper right hand corner. Woo hoo! ChildofMidnight (talk) 19:40, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Please cut it out, COM. You know better than that. If there are no objections, I'm going to close this thread. If you have a complaint about other editors take it to an appropriate forum - AN/I or the ongoing arbitration case.Wikidemon (talk) 19:45, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
I object. I think all the soap boxing and personal attack responses should be removed. And a discussion of the content should be engaged in. That's how Wikipedia is supposed to work. Your comment has nothing to do with the article or content and you should remove it. ChildofMidnight (talk) 19:53, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
No it is not your job to defend the community but your responses to a newbies question will seal their impression of the project and whether they hang around to contribute. There's no need to take the editors comments about the state of the article personally, often newbies have not understood the reasons for things being a certain way. Valid criticisms are his points 1 & 2, which could easily be answered courteously without recourse to sarcasm. The editor may well have significant experience in writing, probably in different media to this, and the kind of answers he received are a poor reflection on the community. If you can't see that then step back for a while and put yourself in the shoes of someone with no wikipedia experience giving an honest assessment of what they see. I felt embarrassed enough by the responses to comment and that should tell you something (and I am a sarcastic person myself). Mfield (Oi!) 19:48, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
(rawr! 2 edit conflicts) I disagree with your point that the article is badly written,especially with the points you brought up.Point 1 gives a little bit of story about the day the president got inaugurated,before going into his actions as president.Seeing how the president is hmmmmm BLACK Abraham Lincoln is pretty important for people of his race after all,Lincoln did help to give Obama the chance to become president of the USA.On point 2 you say it is longer then it should be, however there is no guidleine or rule that say ad article should only be XX lines long ,Clinton giving his support for Obama is a big deal when it came to the presidential campaign because it showed that Clinton was behind him and she asked for her supporter to also get behind him, because after all.... without Clinton's supporters Obama would have not won.
The reason the contributors to this article are responding to you this way is because, we constantly get users ( mostly new ones ) that come out of nowhere and accuse us of putting unimportant stuff into the article or not putting stuff they think is important,or us trying to push one of many views into the article.When you say the article is biased or the article is bad you are also saying the contributors wrote a biased or bad article.Also if you won't fight to get your side heard if course it wont be heard<obviously fighting is not the way to go , but if you wont put the energy behind what you want to add to the article chances are it wont be added, don't just state a point and then leave it for others to solve.Thank you Durga Dido (talk) 20:25, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Dido makes some sense, a fresh change from the mud slinging against me. However, the fire is just too hot for further discussion.G7error (talk) 20:30, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict X2) In substance this new thread is a put-down of editors on this page for supposedly creating a bad article by being hostile to improvements, which is a rehash of any of several dozen similar threads from early March. If the editor sincerely and thoughtfully examines what really caused the hostility he would see that it comes from new (and many fake) editors trying to push fringe political agendas. The editor describes two specific content matters but immediately and repeatedly says these are not an attempt to improve the article, but rather are chosen "at random" to support the claim about what is wrong here. Antagonizing the locals in a condescending tone is not a terribly thoughtful way to approach any community or any problem, and particularly not an article on probation on Wikipedia. Complaining about persecution, mud slinging, etc., are not a constructive response to being called out on it. I can understand that many people want to save face, and won't exactly apologize after being called out. But it is a mistake to humor that or give it sanction here. WP:BITE regards hostility to newbies who make innocent mistakes. It does not preclude being firm with people who come here to complain. The concern voiced by Scjessey that the account is a WP:SPA and possible WP:SOCK is reasonable. Nevertheless I think Scjessey's sarcasm was unnecessary, and provoked the new editor to go in the wrong direction. One of the burdens of trying to be a responsible editor on an article with as much disruption as this one is to try to maintain a decorum even in the face of antagonism. Wikidemon (talk) 20:49, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
THE WHOLE ARTICLE NEEDS WORK. It is unbalanced. It contains irrelevancies and trivialities. This editor made specific recommendations and was met with hostility and soap boxing. Status quo on this article, excuses not withstanding. Only one editor so far could be bothered to deal with the substance of the issues raised. ChildofMidnight (talk) 21:07, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Stop with the ad hom criticism and be specific of where you think the article needs work, CoM. Suggest your changes specifically without all of this baggage. thanks, --guyzero | talk 21:12, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
Guyzero, it's not possible to have a reasonable discussion here when there is so much bad faith, soap boxing and personal attacks. Look at the orginal comment that included specific recommendations (that have been mentioned numerous times before) and look at the responses. Only one editor has been willing to discuss the article content, the rest have engaged in soap boxing and meta discussions. Until the talk page guidelines and article probation for this article is properly enforced, discussing and making the major improvements that are needed is impossible. ChildofMidnight (talk) 00:27, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Except that plenty has been done in this article and on the talkpage of this article on all sides of every POV for many months. I agree that we could have started the conversation better with this new editor, so hopefully he'll give it another whirl without all of the additional commentary that his thoughts won't be accepted -- this was an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy. We need to focus on the content, right? But your ad hom claims of POV warring and soap boxing are simply not borne out by you just stirring the pot and claiming it. Please, either go to ArbCom or ANI or RFC or wherever with diffs and make your case or accept the reality that if a someone has a content idea that is presented in good faith, without edit warring, and without a ton of unnecessary commentary, that it generally goes well for everyone. Again, I agree we should've welcomed this editor better, but you are making generalizations that you either need to prove in the appropriate forum or stop disrupting by making them. thanks, --guyzero | talk 03:23, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Let's not beat about the bush here. The OP came out of nowhere to trash a featured article. This happens all the time, and it always turns out to be a POV-pusher or a sock puppet of same. Claims of "advertising" and "not important", along with inappropriate comments about editor hostility clearly indicate a familiar agenda. 99 times out of 100, it's just more of the same. How are we supposed to AGF under those odds? And it doesn't help one little bit when editors from the lunatic fringe come in and fan the flames. -- Scjessey (talk) 22:46, 4 April 2009 (UTC)
That someone disagrees with another does not an "editor from the lunatic fringe" make. Attempts to exert ownership over the article by claiming that anyone who raises a question or brings up a discussion point (even if it has been brought up "eleventy-billion" times before) is somehow evil or fringy, is clearly against the spirit of AGF. It does not matter if someone has made 20,000 edits or six edits; everyone has a right to participate, edit freely (given they follow Wiki's rules), and ask questions on the talk pages. Maybe it's time for a multilateral break? I suggest this part of the discussion be archived, and the entire article probation be removed, so that editors can freely edit without the fear of being reported for "trashing a featured article" that is under probation. This might also help to reduce the unusually hostile environment surrounding edits to this article. QueenofBattle (talk) 00:45, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Deleted comments

I just noticed that one of the editors here deleted some comments I made earlier in the discussion,[42] some of which I have inserted in updated form after what I thought was an edit conflict. I cannot endorse the timing or thread them properly given that further discussion has occurred, but here they are. The first was a warning to ChildofMidnight to stop using this page to make accusations against other editors.

My comment is fine. Please stick to your own editing rather than trying to pick a fight here. If there is a specific editor you wish to accuse of soapboxing or personal attacks, there are forums available for such pupose. You have not stated a reason to keep this thread open, and I see no value at all to continuing this. Accordingly I will likely give everyone a chance to review and comment, and then close it within a few hours. If you or anyone else wishes to make an actual content proposal, you are free to do so in a new section. Wikidemon (talk) 20:17, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

The second I added in updated form at 20:49, 4 April 2009, above. The conversation started out with a bad premise and is in my opinion wholly unproductive - it degenerated from there. May we please close / archive it. Again, if anyone has a complaint about other editors there is a place for that. If anyone wants to make specific suggestions or proposals to improve the article, please start a new section on that free of any incivilities directed at other editors. Thanks, Wikidemon (talk) 22:19, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

←Your comments were deliberately deleted by ChildofMidnight, who reminds me of BryanFromPalatine for some reason. -- Scjessey (talk) 22:46, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Please familiarize yourself with talk page guidelines. Particularly for an article on probation and already subject to Arbcom proceedings (where Scjessey and Wikidemon's improper actions have been discussed), it's totally inappropriate to soap box and make personal attacks. If you don't want to comment on the article and its contents you shouldn't be here. Removing your comment that had nada to do with the article was appropriate. Your creating a new section to re-add it is inappropriate. This entire section should be removed and you should be topic banned for your ongoing improper behavior here in violation of numerous guidelines. Please refrain from soap boxing and making personal attacks in the future. Article talk pages are to discuss the article and its contents such as citations and possible additions. ChildofMidnight (talk) 00:23, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I just have to say this, although I am bound to cop a load of crap for it, but that is such bullshit, CoM. Almost all of your edits in the political arena, since you created your account on election day, have been made with a strict agenda in mind. POV-pushing, edit-warring, editing or deleting other people's comments, name-calling, meat puppetry, soap boxing and misrepresenting others is your modus operandi, which makes your holier-than-thou claims of "improper behavior" on the part of others a shocking conceit. You just cannot come here and lecture people on soap boxing by... well... soap boxing! Administrators need to take long, hard look at your behavior and see how it stacks up with BryanFromPalatine, because you are definitely doing the same stuff he did. -- Scjessey (talk) 01:10, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
It'd be in the best interests all-around if established editors do not remove the comments of other established editors, especially those with whom one is having a contentious discussion with. Remove only vandalism (e.g. "Obama sucks XYZ!" or the the patently, blatantly obvious soapboxing disruptions by WP:SPAs. Tarc (talk) 01:23, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
For the record, my edits are not under any reasonable question in the ArbCom case. COM's grandstanding here with yet more aggressive false accusations against me and other established editors is most harmful to the collegial environment on this page. Again, can we please close down this discussion and carry on any reasonable content proposal civilly in a new section? I will ask for some help on AN/I to do that if nobody here is willing to put an end to this. I should have closed the discussion down in the first place on Tarc's theory, and think that any neutral party enforcing article probation would have done the same. But, as the subject of unwarranted attacks like this, my article patrol efforts have been cast in the limelight, however unfairly. I will also seek to add ChildofMidnight as a party to the arbitration case and, to be fair, Scjessey as well. Dispute resolution is the proper place to take complaints about other editors, and right now behavioral disputes are before Arbcom. Wikidemon (talk) 01:40, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I support removing everything in this Deleted section thread. The disruptive comments should have been left removed and the new personal attacks and disruptive comments should also be removed. They don't have anything to do with the article and continue a pattern of inappropriate behavior. Can I remove this thread so those of us who are here to improve the encyclopedia and to work on article content without disruption can do so? ChildofMidnight (talk) 03:16, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
No, you may not. This section contains comments you removed against Wikipedia policy, together with important discussion about your grandstanding, etc. It can remain in the permanent archive. Deleting more comments is not a great way to cover up for deleting comments, if you think about it. -- Scjessey (talk) 03:25, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

AN/I report

Per my comment at 1:40, 5 April 2009 above, I have filed a report at AN/I, asking for help.[43][44] The most reasonable, neutral, calming thing to do for now IMO is to simply close and archive this entire discussion. As I've said a few times in some comments that keep getting deleted, any content proposals can be made at any time in a new section. Any behavioral complaints beyond the barest and most civil minimum necessary for page management are best directed to Arbcom, where a case is pending, or in an emergency to AN/I or some comparable noticeboard. Thanks, Wikidemon (talk) 06:38, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

As I said before, I support closing and archiving this discussion - but not deletion. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:20, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Suggested edits

From the above hijacked discussion... I think number one has been addressed. Here was the other suggestion.

"2. The Presidential Campaign is longer than it should be. For example, "At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Hillary Clinton gave a speech in support of Obama's candidacy and called for him to be nominated by acclamation as the Democratic candidate.[116][117]" This detail is really just formality and not an important point in his biography. I can think of other details that are more important to the biography of President Obama than this."

I agree generally that this article needs to focus on the most notable aspects. There is already a campaign article with a link. More coverage of substantial issues and positions including: mentioning opposition to the surge and presidential policies like the auto industry bailout and partial nationalization of companies would be good to include. ChildofMidnight (talk) 14:41, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

BLPs are written from a historical perspective, and at this time the campaign is one of the biggest and highest-profile events in Obama's history. The Hillary acclimation thing was a significant moment in that campaign, and it is still historically-relevant. Perhaps it won't be by the time Obama's term comes to an end, so we could certainly revisit it in the future. The coverage of issues and positions is fine as it is. They are adequately summarized here, and fully developed in the child articles. The auto industry bailout began with $17.4 billion from the Bush administration, with a second bailout from the Obama administration of $21.6 billion. This matter is properly covered elsewhere, because it is not Obama-specific (and certainly not biograhpical). -- Scjessey (talk) 16:34, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
The demise of anything is a formality because all things end. But the sentence does sound like it is reciting some tangential things without offering insight into them. I think the fact that Hillary conceded and thereafter threw her support behind Obama is one of those few campaign events that rises above the background noise and should be reported here. However, the details of where, when, and how she gave a speech and the exact mechanism of how that played into the electoral process are unduly detailed and need not be said if that would make the sentence more concise or relevant. Wikidemon (talk) 17:28, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, the details of how that was covered were worked out in a rather tortuous consensus-building process - presumably Hillary fans wishing to make sure their candidate got her due prominence; however, time as passed and it would not seem unreasonable to trim it a wee bit. It is something that should be worked out on this talk page, rather than by bold edits to the article itself. Let's build a consensus for new language. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:32, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I've wanted this sentence changed for a while. The 'nomination by acclamation' refers to a process that was devised whereby some Hillary delegates would be able to cast their rollcall votes for her, thus expressing how passionately they supported her, then she called a halt to that and Obama was nominated by acclamation. This is all a fairly minor convention detail that's not needed in this article. I would change the sentence in question to "At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Hillary Clinton gave an enthusiastic speech in support of Obama's candidacy.[116]" which drops the acclamation bit and adds 'enthusiastic' as an accurate (and verified by the first cite) description of her speech. It is biographically important to note that Obama was able to reconcile with HRC, as it shows his people skills and is a precursor to his winning the election by a comfortable margin and especially to his naming her Sec State. But the acclamation bit isn't needed; in the modern era, pretty much 'all' nominations end up being done by acclamation. Wasted Time R (talk) 02:54, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the change you propose. As far as his "people skills", it shows he made a deal to give her the sec. state position in return for full support from her and Bill for his campaign. ChildofMidnight (talk) 16:07, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
It shows no such thing. That said, "acclamation" is routine rather than notable; it's an expected gallant gesture from a losing candidate. It would be notable only if Clinton had grimly hung on till the last vote was cast. PhGustaf (talk) 16:21, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Definitely trim in the manner suggested by Wasted Time R. That gets to the point, without belaboring cnovention procedure details that have faded from main bio significance now that Obama is actually president. LotLE×talk 18:11, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Political positions section error

I am very concerned that there is too much hostility on this board so I will not participate after this comment. I do leave you with a suggestion to correct an error in the political positions section. Pointing out this error does not mean I am blaming anyone as available information changes with time.

Current version is:

Obama stated that if elected he would enact budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars, stop investing in "unproven" missile defense systems, not weaponize space, "slow development of Future Combat Systems", and work towards eliminating all nuclear weapons.

The italic part is correct, the bold part is not correct.

The BBC reports the italic part confirming that it is still President Obama's political position.

The bold part is no longer correct US to pursue missile shield plan: Obama

A corrected version could read:

Obama originally stated that if elected he would enact budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars, stop investing in "unproven" missile defense systems, not weaponize space, "slow development of Future Combat Systems", and work towards eliminating all nuclear weapons'. In April, 2009, Obama, who was then President, stated that he would pursue missile shield defence.

or we could say, "In April, 2009, in a keynote speech in Prague, Obama, who was then President, stated that he would pursue a missile shield defence."

This is not pro and anti Mr. Obama. It is just correcting the error in the current version. The missile defence issue is very complex so just stating that he is for it is too simplistic. The corrected version seems to be the shortest way to correct it.

As a personal note, I am just about given up on giving editorial advice on this article because of the hostility and attacks that result. Take it or leave it regarding the above. G7error (talk) 17:34, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

I am broadly-speaking in agreement with your reading of this, although I wouldn't characterize the existing text as an "error". The situation has evolved, so Obama has been forced to revise his plans. Since I am responding, let me also take this opportunity to apologize for my sarcastic response to your comments yesterday. I am so used to all the bad faith and agenda-based editing now that I find it increasingly more difficult to assume good faith. My bad. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:44, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for having the fortitude to continue :) I think you've found one of a number of sections written based on campaign promises made before the election, now made stale by action and events during the term of office. Over time the relative importance of the campaign will recede and the article will have to be updated to reflect actual performance rather than campaign rhetoric and events. The fact that events supersede earlier rhetoric is usually not important, but from time to time it may be. How about this version, which is slightly tweaked?:
Obama stated during his campaign that if elected he would enact military budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars, not weaponize space, avoid "unprovine" missile defense systems, "slow development of Future Combat Systems", and work towards eliminating all nuclear weapons'. In April, 2009, as president, he stated in a speech that he would pursue a missile shield defense.
Cites to be added. - Wikidemon (talk) 20:29, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I think where i read it was bbc but what i remember reading is that Obama feels that as long as Iran is still a threat,the missile defense system is needed,so in other words he feels like US HAVE to build it.I just saw the video that is used as reference,in it he says he will cut 10s of millions of dollars in wasteful spending.I know it basically is the same thing but i just thought I would bring it up and see if anyone thinks the article needs changing.But what i would really like to know is that if this really matters?I mean don't all candidates say they will spend less, its just where they will spend less is what is different from candidate to candidate.The Nuclear part of his statement is still important especially seeing as how he brought it up again, and seeing as how he sees North Korea as a threat when it comes to this.But on the broader side, should we even use his own video and basically just put it in words and shorten it.I'm thinking we should in items he has actually been behind, what I mean is, that we shouldn't just put stuff in that he said once, a long while ago, especially as a candidate/senator.Peoples opinion change from when they are not and are president because they get to see more stuff when they are president.Durga Dido (talk) 22:21, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
"Unproven" missile defense systems, not all missile defense systems. The US been fielding, and using, various missile defense systems (such as the MIM-104_Patriot, the Safeguard_Program etc.), for a long time now (since the 60's). Simply stating that Obama was against unproven systems, and then quickly stating he is currently pursuing a theater-specific missile defense strategy, closely joins two mildly related phrases and risks making it seem as if he changed his mind (or is contradicting himself), when the issue is much more complex than that, and the two items (continuing to develop unproven systems vs. using existing, proven, systems) are not contradictory.
A similar problem exists in the area of budget cuts, he has proposed tens of billions in budget cuts, and also tens of billions in growth....overall, there's vast amounts of cuts and changes. Over-simplification is not wikipedia's best friend.Ronabop (talk)
None of this stuff seems particularly biographical. Shouldn't this sort of thing be in Presidency of Barack Obama, and in some cases Political positions of Barack Obama instead? Political positions (which overlap, but are not the same as, policy decisions) should only be summarized here. -- Scjessey (talk) 02:48, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
With what you Scjessey said I completely agree,I just looked over the article and i would suggest we use the senate campaign and the US sentator 2005-2008 section as examples as these tell the story about his actions at that time without going into too much detail.Durga Dido (talk) 04:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

US Citizen?

It was never illegal for a US citizen to enter Pakistan. Tarc (talk) 00:05, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Barack Obama visited Pakistan in 1981 which is odd because all US citizens at the time were banned from entering Pakistan, it is often mentioned that he was born in Hawaii but how then did he enter Pakistan? Twobells (talk) 22:30, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Please read the FAQ above regarding disputes over Obama's citizenship and birthplace. There is also an entire article on the subject, at Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories. We'll leave this discussion up for long enough to note the answer, but will probably mark it a resolved / answered question at some point. Thanks, Wikidemon (talk) 22:42, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Forget about the citizenship conspiracy theories. If Obama broke U.S. law by entering Pakistan when it was illegal to do so, that makes him a criminal, and a warrant should be issued for his arrest. Grundle2600 (talk) 22:51, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
There never was a law in Pakistan that prevented non-muslims or U.S. citizens from entering their country. *sigh* --Bobblehead (rants) 22:59, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Could we just delete the BLP vio instead of entertaining it? Assuming the original poster has asked a good-faith question we should provide gentle guidance about policy and practices here rather than letting this thread degenerate into a forum for conspiracy theories and accusations against the president. Wikidemon (talk) 23:06, 6 April 2009 (UTC)


Seems to me there was some discussion awhile back about Obama's handedness. In case there was any doubt, check out the photo in this article: [45] Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 13:13, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

This is no surprise given the disproportionate number of especially intelligent and good-looking people who are left-handed. The issue is whether his handedness is more or less important than his penchant for chili. PhGustaf (talk) 16:41, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I am not convinced that his sinister history and orientation belongs here, unless it involves pie. Ronabop (talk)
And the information is more properly discussed at Handedness of Presidents of the United States than here. Its pointless trivia in this article, but rather cogent at the Handedness of the Prez article... 03:28, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Comparing Obama's oration to Ronald Regan and MLK, Jr. is POV

Obama's skills as an orator have been compared with those of other respected speakers such as Martin Luther King, Jr.[207] and Ronald Reagan.[208][209]

I'm going to delete the stuff about how great an orator Obama is for now. "Famous persons skill with X has been compared to well liked dead famous person and well liked dead famous person" is something you could find evidence for for everyone, and is NPOV. "Obama is a great orator, just like MLKJ and Regan" is obviously less neutral than "Obama is frequently labeled as an exceptional orator" --ScWizard (talk) 04:46, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

That wording definitely was over the top. It's much more reasonable now. SMP0328. (talk) 05:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Eh? That doesn't make any sense. First of all, being "NPOV" is exactly what we are looking for. Perhaps that is not what you meant? Secondly, the sources provided specifically mention Dr. King and President Reagan (King, Reagan) for comparison. -- Scjessey (talk) 05:05, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You're misinterpreting what SMP0328 said. He said that my version was more reasonable and neutral, and that comparing Obama to King and Regan was over the top. Currently the citations make the comparison, but those citations can be replaced by other citations (I'll get around to it if nobody else does). Out of the many many articles that call Obama an exceptional orator, picking the ones that make comparisons to King and Regan is picking and choosing sources. If a newspaper says "so and so did such and such last night" it's a reliable source, but if a newspaper says Obama oration is like King and Regan, then it's being non neutral. We shouldn't take that and insert it into wikipedia. --ScWizard (talk) 05:10, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I fixed the section title; clearly ScWizard meant "POV", not "NPOV". The sourcing is reliable, but the material still violated the NPOV requirement. SMP0328. (talk) 05:12, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very much for saying in concise wiki terms what I was trying to say, and fixing my miscommunication. --ScWizard (talk) 05:13, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I still disagree. I think the section was neutral in the first place, and I reject your reasoning on this. Many sources have compared Obama's oratory to King and Reagan specifically, and these were chosen as representative of that. I'm not going to revert your changes, but I am not going to endorse them either. -- Scjessey (talk) 05:16, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
You're welcome, ScWizard. :) SMP0328. (talk) 05:18, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm fine either way. I think they were well-sourced and neutral given the sources, but it wasn't very important or relevant, and such comparisons are inherently kind of weak. The sources were probably being POV and so reflecting them here weakly introduces some POV. There are other pages where this kind of content is more useful. Wikidemon (talk) 05:38, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

What is POV, we need to be careful: Suggested new way of thinking

Yet another proposal for this article to be edited according to WP policy
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

My comment is in general, not about MLK and POV. I've seen people refer to AGF. Looking at some of these talk page comments, I think we should continue to AGF about other PEOPLE here. However, we should look at ALL of the talk page suggestions as POV and see how to make it non-POV.

There seems to be some leftist people wanting POV and claiming it is not POV. There are some right wing people wanting POV and making the same claim.

For every change (and if reconsidering the text already there), we should think how to make it less POV. Instead of insisting that the suggested change is not POV, we should think how to make it less POV.

If we adopt a new standard that everything is potentially POV and how to make it not POV, we will get a truly neutral and good article. I don't think this approach has been tried, at least not what I can see. (In other words, assume good faith of all people writing but assume POV for every change and see how we can less POV it.) Peacemakertoday (talk) 15:11, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Peacemakertoday (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
If I understand correctly, that is more or less what editors ought to be trying to achieve anyway - reducing the reflection of our personal opinions in the article. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 16:03, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
If I may say, instead of railing about what we should be doing, how about you be bold and show the change you want? I'll archive this if no one has any objections. It's basically another call for us to follow Wikipedia policy. Soxwon (talk) 16:23, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

No, this suggestion is different.

Wikipedia custom is that we assume good faith for every person. Once you say that something is POV, you get into fights because people will think you are calling them POV.

If we take a new approach of asking how we can make a suggestion less POV, then we can potentially have less fighting. Rather than someone saying that it's POV and someone saying it's not, how about a more peaceful approach. We could ask how to make it even less POV.

I've seen fighting here, much more so than elsewhere. This is a suggestion to reduce fighting. Peacemakertoday (talk) 18:45, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Peacemakertoday (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.
Again this is basic wikipedia policy. People should assume good faith and by doing so should make it clear that it is the content and not the person they are criticizing. Your suggestion is is that instead of arguing over whether or not it's POV we make it NPOV. That's wikipedia policy. Soxwon (talk) 18:50, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Is Obama Irish?

It has been added to the list of categories to which this article links that Obama is of Irish decent. According to this article, this claim is based on Obama's great great great grandfather. Is that enough to consider Obama to be an Irish American? SMP0328. (talk) 03:23, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

No. If we included it because of ancestry, we'd have to include a dozen more Wherever-American cats. Most importantly, he doesn't seriously identify with I-A. PhGustaf (talk) 03:36, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. This is another example of category creep. The "Irish-American" thing has been in and out like a horny rabbit. I endorse the removal of this category. -- Scjessey (talk) 03:38, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
You gotta admit the song is pretty funny, though. PhGustaf (talk) 03:41, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Ditto to the first two responses. No comment regarding the third. SMP0328. (talk) 03:43, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure the song would even have been written if he didn't have an O in the front of this name. He's got a diverse European ancestry. But what percentage does one have to be to be considered "truly" ____-American? Will Rogers identified with his Native American side, which was around 1/4. I myself am 1/4 Irish. Do I qualify as Irish-American? What's the standard? Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:29, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
If you are 1/4 Irish I'd say you could justifiably call yourself Irish-American, ditto for 1/8; anything less and it becomes rather meaningless. Princess Diana isn't considered Armenian/British because her maternal great-great-great-great-grandmother was an Armenian woman by the name of Eliza Keworkian. It could be mentioned in Obama's article that he had an Irish ancestor but not included as a category.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 07:15, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Language difficulties

I recently reverted this edit which mentioned how Obama admitted having difficulty speaking Austrian, as I didn't think it was a bit too trivial. Does anyone think we need List of languages Obama has difficulty speaking, or some such similar? -- Scjessey (talk) 17:19, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

I think the operative point is that the president made a gaffe, by suggesting that he has trouble "speaking Austrian." Austrians speak German. QueenofBattle (talk) 17:23, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Your claim that Austrians speak German constitutes original research, which we are not allowed to do. The Associated Press said that Obama admitted that he has trouble speaking Austrian, so that's what the article should say. Grundle2600 (talk) 17:30, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
To the contrary, my claim that Austrians speak German comes from German language, where it quite correctly lists German as the official language of several countries, including Austria. If you are being serious, the point that Obama has trouble speaking Austrian, German, or Pig Latin is trivial. QueenofBattle (talk) 17:35, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
More precisely, they speak Austrian German; my own governor says he speaks with an "Austrian" rather than a "German" accent. From the source, it's not clear whether it was a gaffe or a joke, and the matter is in either case trivial. PhGustaf (talk) 17:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I know that Austrians speak with their own accent. I also agree with you that Obama may very well have been joking. And even if he wasn't, I think it's great, because real humans make mistakes like that. Grundle2600 (talk) 17:44, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
So do we need List of mistakes that make Obama seem like a real human as well? -- Scjessey (talk) 17:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Gaffe, but far too trivial to warrant a mention. --Ali'i 17:48, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Oppose creating List of mistakes that make Obama seem like a real human, but conditionally support creating Obamaisms similar to the existing Bushisms. When GWB makes 'em it's news at which we chuckle, but when Obama does it we are to assume he is just being a real human?? QueenofBattle (talk) 17:52, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
An article on Obamaisms would be fine. Keep in mind, though, that Bush had difficulty speaking English. Texan, he was OK with. English? Not so well. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 18:04, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Why would he need to be able to speak English? He's an American! QueenofBattle (talk) 18:07, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
How about List of Wikipedians who cannot be serious (with apologies to John McEnroe)? -- Scjessey (talk) 18:06, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, candidates are me, Scjessey, Baseball boy (said with respect), and Grundle? QueenofBattle (talk) 18:09, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I certainly hope Obama was joking. BTW, is Texan a language? I knew Californian was but not Texan?! Totally Awesome.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 07:19, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Unpopular president in Europe, unpopular plans

article: Obama at G-20 summitThe Protests in Europe, an Experience for Obama

Seeing these large protests it seems for me that he is not very popular in Europe nor his plans what has been rejected. Write about it in the article. Kordon Bleu (talk) 22:03, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Based on the coverage I would say the opposite - Obama is extremely popular among the people and leaders of Europe and if we gathered all the sources and weighted them it would bear that out. However, the degree of popularity Obama might have right now in Europe, in April 2009, is a snapshot of a much longer-term, evolving issue affecting Obama and US foreign relations that, as a whole and at the end of the day, will probably not be worth more than 1-2 sentences in this article. It's simply too early to begin to assess his image overseas in this article. There are a number of other "child" articles where, subject to the same temporal concerns, his overseas image would be more relevant and proportionately more important.Wikidemon (talk) 22:08, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, the support for Obama over her in Europe is big, in some parts its even bigger then the support he has back at home.Just to put the protest in perspective your first link say that there were about 35.000 people,I found this link with google that says there were about 30.000 people for his speech in Prague.Also seeing as there are always protests when there is a G20 conference and how the protesters are against the G20 in some way it does not mean, they they are completely disagreeing with Obama.Also because of the things he does back at home, signing bills,pushing a bill,banning guns,support Abortion rights and all the things he might want to do,don't affect us over here in Europe that much,the one thing that can and is effecting us is the economic problems and however they decide to fix it.IMO Obama would have to do something BIG for his support over here to really see any significant drop.TY Durga Dido (talk) 02:10, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
Speaking as an American ex-pat living in Italy, I can assure you Obama is extremely popular in Europe -- probably more popular here than in the United States. His political persuasion more closes matches the European norm than the American tradition to be sure. Don't let a few highly visible protesters fool you. Even the most notoriously racist areas of Europe (Sicily, France) are firmly behind Obama. So, no, I think you're wrong on that. Ikilled007 (talk) 07:11, 7 April 2009 (UTC)
I live in Sicily; in what way is it notoriously racist? Could you please elaborate on your sweeping statement?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 07:23, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Please don't elaborate here, if anything take it to your user pages; his aside has nothing to do with this article and even if he were wrong it wouldn't mitigate his primary point. We've all developed opinions about areas we've lived in, much less been to, known people from or read about, based on probably a small and perhaps unrepresentational sampling of actual individual people, and those are all subjective experiences. To some degree then, even one's perception of what constitutes a racist can be a prejudice. Having said that, a Google search of "Sicily racist" brings up this (the only result I clicked on, as I have no dog in this fight), the Amazon page for the 1998 book The New Racism In Europe: A Sicilian Ethnography (Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthorpolagy), about which Modern Italy wrote in its review, 'Jeffrey Cole's book is essential reading for scholars interested in studies of migration and racism in Europe and within Italian culture.' As Cambridge apparently researched it and Modern Italy apparently gets it, I think we can let Ikilled007 off the hook for believing or having to defend such a theory. Abrazame (talk) 08:07, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Kordon Bleu, did you actually read the articles you linked? The first article reads "Across Europe, Obama's poll numbers are as high or higher than his substantial approval ratings at home," and "In many ways, Obama is the president that world leaders have been saying they wanted." It says nothing about protests.
The second author you link, an editorial, not only acknowledges that the protests were not about Obama, but states the protesters were "organized and movable mobs of international communism and agitators of every kind" who were expressing an "embittered enmity that exists against the democratic institutions and free enterprise that characterize the institutional life of this great American nation." The writer notes that "These trained mobs go from one city to another or from one country to another with great discipline. Their goal is to create chaos, particularly invoking the name of the United States of America and burning its glorious flag." Love my country though I do, "glorious flag" may be a little effusive, but their point is clear.
This is not, then, about Barack Obama for them, the way it was about George W. Bush for the associated travesties of the Iraq war and, well, take your pick. Those in the crowds who are average citizens and not professional (or at least avocational) anarchists are rallying against the corporate banking system they perceive as creating this crisis, against the international coalitions they feel are favoring corporate interests over the interests of the people (Obama was in Europe to attend three or more major conferences including NATO and the historically unpopular-with-anarchists G-20), and the usual anti-globalism thing. I'll be the first to admit U.S. leadership hasn't been popular around the world lo these several years (and was unpopular here at home too, I can assure you) but we have a new leader who has advocated change and stated he was there to listen, not to bully and browbeat some status quo American agenda. Did you see that outdoor audience in the Czech Republic? Or the auditorium in France? It looked exactly like the adoring crowds he spoke to during his campaign here. He has already begun to overturn some of the previous administration's most unpopular and un-American policies and practices. No anarchist will ever be happy with any government. For the rest of the world, let's see what we can accomplish by working together within the system for the greatest good for all. And in the meantime, actually read some. Abrazame (talk) 11:09, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Did Barack Obama Bow To Saudi King Abdullah?

Not going in the article at this time, so archiving to stem the FORUMization of the talk page. --Ali'i 19:18, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Read the story: Barack takes a bow and the video about it: Barack Obama Bows To Saudi King Abdullah

It is quite interesting that there is no word about it in the article, seeing that there is a huge media coverage and discussion on it. Kordon Bleu (talk) 16:11, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

There was also huge media coverage of Aretha Franklin's hat at Obama's inauguration, but that isn't mentioned here either. An oddity of protocol that gets covered in a few media cycles is not necessarily important enough to merit inclusion in a summary biography of an individual's life. Mentioning Obama's bow to the Saudi King in this article would be akin to mentioning George Bush the elder vomiting on the Japanese prime minister in George H. W. Bush. For the reasons we don't mention things like this, see WP:RECENTISM and WP:NOT#NEWS. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 16:19, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Plus we are talking about editorial opinion from an organ of the Moonies supported by a YouTube video. BLPs require a much higher standard of sourcing. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:24, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
If something is reported and properly cited that makes obama look less than perfect, it is somehow against wikipedia policy, yet this POV protection was somehow absent during the Bush Presidency. Mmmmm.--Jojhutton (talk) 16:38, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Except that this was not properly cited, and it didn't make Obama look less than perfect unless you believe wingnut spin. And of course, the Bush presidency defined "less than perfect". -- Scjessey (talk) 16:43, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
It would also be like mentioning that George W. Bush bowed to King Abdullah every time he met with him, which, obviously, is not in his article. GTFO with your nonsense, please. —bbatsell ¿? 16:47, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
No need to include this non notable stuff. Just out of curiousity, is the administration, or whoever, denying that he actually bowed? Thanks, --Tom (talk) 16:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, they do; “It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” [46] Tarc (talk) 17:12, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
I personally think it was clearly a bow, for unknown reasons. The White House has denied it was a bow (as Tarc notes), for obvious reasons. But, what matters is that there are no reliable sources that say it was a bow, so we need to leave it out. End of discussion. QueenofBattle (talk) 17:14, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
This may seem like an amazing idea to some people, but sometimes bowing is just a formal greeting. Heck, in the old days, everyone used to go around bowing to each other. Tad Lincoln (talk) 17:31, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
(e/c)Still don't think it warrants inclusion, but if anything, the silly denial is what will linger. Of course he bowed. And even with reliable sources that mention that, it doesn't warrant inclusion. --Tom (talk) 17:33, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
(leaving *ahem* Moonies and Wikipedia biases out of this to concentrate on the question in front of us) Agreed, it is not well sourced and even if sourced it would be of trivial importance. There is an old tradition that no American is supposed to bow before anyone (but God perhaps), a relic of having shed the British monarchy in 1776. Yet this raises many protocol issues when dealing, say, with British royalty today, who Americans generally respect, as well as Japanese bowing customs. All of this could well be notable and deserve mention in an article, if not an article in itself, and Obama's actions if sourced might be a valuable piece of such an article. But it is simply unlikely to be a major biographical event worthy of including in the main Obama article. Wikidemon (talk) 17:36, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. I think its the denial thats maddening to folks and what makes it more into a "story". Hopefully, we will move onto bigger and better things but as always, time will tell. --Tom (talk) 17:50, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Bowing is frowned upon in Muslim culture, as they consider humans equals of one another, so if he did bow (which is kind of silly to conclude, looking at the video) how could such a devout Muslim not know such a basic tenet of his supposed culture? There must be some epic "OMG SEKRIT MUZLIM" vs. "OMG HE BOWED" drama going on across the internets today. Tarc (talk) 18:21, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
That he bowed is fairly obvious; from the waist please take your head below the shoulders of the other party in a smooth, succinct movement. What this amounts to, when we cut through it all, is a fairly weak attempt at spin from the White House. So, he bowed. Either he did it without really thinking about it, or he did it to show respect (that he has been calling Americans to do), or he did it in a moment of confusion thinking he was greeting a Japanese leader rather than a Saudi leader (remember he doesn't seem to know the difference between the "Austrian" language and the German language). Who knows. It doesn't make it into the BLP, which is the consensus here. But, it sure makes for interesting chatter. QueenofBattle (talk) 18:51, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Sure he didn't bow, just like there isn't any pork in the "stimulus" bill.--Jojhutton (talk) 18:52, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Be fair. What the administration said was that there is "not a single earmark" in the stimulus bill. And, they are right. The are about 8,000 of 'em. QueenofBattle (talk) 18:55, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
It seems like this issue is mainly over what you, the editor, thinks happened and whether it matters. This is a minor if even that, issue. However, to some this seems like a major issue with people saying "OMG why won't the white house admit he bowed?" Again, this is a minor issue, let it rest. Brothejr (talk) 19:07, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
How come we aren't hearing from the fringe about the shocking fealty to Her Majesty The Queen? POTUS and FLOTUS bowing: YouTube video link Are the wingnuts complaining because it was an Islamic nation? -- Scjessey (talk) 19:11, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Are you comparing a general head bob to a complete bend of the back bow? Wow, you really took liberties there.--Jojhutton (talk) 19:17, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

I think the "wingnuts" (or normal, red-blooded, hard-working Americans, as they are sometimes called) are really complaining about the propensity for the "Change is Coming" administration to play loose-and-fast with the truth; especially on a matter as minor as this. I think we are all in agreement that this doesn't belong in the article, and I am not aware of anyone here that thinks this is a major issue, merely an interesting one. QueenofBattle (talk) 19:21, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Also, for the record there weren't any earmarks in the "stimulus bill" (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). They were in the final Omnibus bill of the Bush administration, signed by Obama because it was late proceeding through Congress. -- Scjessey (talk) 19:14, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Umm, the congress passed it and the president signed it. It's his now. QueenofBattle (talk) 19:21, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


I have taken a stab at reworking the introduction along the lines that several editors have been discussing above to reinstate wording that we had previously, tweaked to accommodate some later edits and to remove repetitive, poor writing and wording identified above as subjective and unencyclopedic. Please discuss further changes here before making them - the introduction to this featured article on article probation is not a good candidate for bold, unilateral editing. Tvoz/talk 07:01, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps we should revert to the introduction before you made major changes. That version was written fairly well and included some good information. ChildofMidnight (talk) 15:57, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Your suggestion would've carried more weight if you hadn't just already reverted it. Shame that edit-warring is your preferred method of discourse. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:02, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Version before recent changes

For convenience, here is the recent stable (virtually unchanged for many weeks) version of the introduction before CoM and others started edit-warring over it:

Barack Hussein Obama II (English pronunciation: /bəˈrɑːk hʊˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned following his election to the presidency.
Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He worked as a community organizer in Chicago prior to earning his law degree, and practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago before serving three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama was elected to the United States Senate in November 2004. Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004.
As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, Obama helped create legislation to control conventional weapons and to promote greater public accountability in the use of federal funds. He also made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During the 110th Congress, he helped create legislation regarding lobbying and electoral fraud, climate change, nuclear terrorism, and care for U.S. military personnel returning from combat assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I recommend that future changes be worked out here, with this version used as a base, before being applied to the article. Stop edit warring. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:11, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

I've noticed that compared to other Presidential articles, there's not much about his personal life. Should we include a blurb about him marrying Michelle or hailing from Hawaii? -- —Preceding unsigned comment added by Soxwon (talkcontribs)
First of all, this section is about the introduction of the article only. Secondly, this is a summary style article about Obama, so you will find much of the "meat" you are looking for in daughter articles linked to throughout the main article. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:28, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I know, but all of the other introductions is what I was talking about. GWB has his marriage and business life mentioned, Reagan his life as an actor and state of birth, and Clinton his marriage. I just thought it would appropriate for a little blurb. Soxwon (talk) 17:03, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Possibly, although the content of this article should not necessarily be determined by the content of other articles. Let's get the edit-warring stuff resolved before tackling new stuff, and don't forget to read WP:SS. -- Scjessey (talk) 17:09, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I know, but right now it reads as if all he's ever done in life is politics. Shouldn't at least mention that he's human too? Soxwon (talk) 17:32, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Per this reversion[47] I see nothing objectionable in either version, and slightly favor the version ChildofMidnight reverted to for a number of stylistic reasons, so whatever people settle on is okay with me. As a process matter I strongly encourage people to make only incremental or uncontroversial changes, and to respect the need to discuss if those changes get reverted in good faith. Let's face it, most changes to most articles are not for the better, and that's especially true on a featured article. When edits fly by too fast to keep track of, we can't tell which is the good stable version, and the whole thing slowly degrades as a matter of entropy - even simple matters like punctuation, format, and link placement get messed up. Wikidemon (talk) 17:49, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, and several editors were in the midst of discussing it here when CoM chose to go ahead and change it back without discussion. My edit was an attempt to be reflective of the exchanges here, including your concerns about the word "unexpected", to move the discussion along and I was hoping that CoM would respect the concept of discussion this time and not make his changes unilaterally. But apparently not. Tvoz/talk
Months Years (my God!) of experience with this article has shown me that it is far better to establish consensus on this talk page first, with all but the most minimal of changes. It is the only way to prevent edit warring. The changes Tvoz made did appear to reflect emerging consensus, but a certain amount of gun-jumping took place. CoM's reversion without discussion was understandable, but very antagonistic - especially given that CoM has been doing exactly the same thing as Tvoz in the ledes of lots of other articles, all of which have precipitated silly edit warring. Propose changes, build consensus, then make changes. Edit warring sucks. -- Scjessey (talk) 01:14, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, well, after 3 years and over 300 edits on this article, Scj, believe me I know how it goes! And this latest round is far from the worst I've seen here. I don't think my edit was gun-jumping, but rather, as I said, a "stab" at synthesizing the discussion and getting the wording closer to where it was when it was stable before the willy-nilly editing began, because the material that had been added was poorly written and not representative of any kind of discussion, let alone consensus. And my edit was accompanied by requests for discussion in edit summary, on the page itself, on this talk page, and on CoM's talk page. So I was not edit warring and I don't think his reversion without discussion was the least bit understandable. Tvoz/talk 02:41, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
I have no problem with your edits at all. All I'm saying is that there has been a recent influx of partisan editors, mostly of the Limbaugh persuasion, so a return to the propose → consensus → edit system is probably prudent - at least for a while. I am not accusing you of edit warring specifically, but I am suggesting that "going for it" might precipitate an edit war in this current climate. And let me add a qualifier to my suggestion that CoM's reversion was understandable - it was understandable given CoM's editing history, if you get my drift. Anyway, according to the ArbCom case currently (and in my opinion, ludicrously) underway, this is a "toxic atmosphere" for editing; therefore, I recommend going back to the arduous talk-about-every-little-thing-for-weeks system that flourished under the WB74 era. -- Scjessey (talk) 02:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
WB74. Did you have to remind me? OK, I'll go along with this, but if others don't, something will have to be done. We've worked too hard on this article to sit by and let it be hijacked. Tvoz/talk 04:27, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Introduction, again

I am still not in agreement with the edits to the introduction that were done without consensus, and I find it to be choppy and in places poorly written in terms of style - I've mentioned, for example, the repeated start of sentences with "He" or "Obama" throughout the intro. In my opinion the way it was before this spate of editing begun by Spevw was better writing at least in part, although I agree with the thrust of some of the edits. Some of the changes made by CoM were unexplained, and did not improve the writing, so let's try this piece by piece.

1. What is the rationale for changing

Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, to
Obama lost an election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000.

No explanation has been given, and the new wording is not an improvement, writing-wise, so I think we should go back to the long-stable wording with "Following", and ending with Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004 which encompasses both the primary and the general election.

2. I have a problem with the "underdog" and "surprised many campaign watchers" wording. It's true that we deliberately do not include citations in the lead, and I agree with that, but I think the "surprised many campaign watchers" is weasel-ish, raising questions of "who are the campaign watchers?" which is in the citation but not the article text the intro is supposed to summarize. I suggest replacing that phrase and tightening the wording that ties together the primary win with his increased visibility, leading to the convention speech which further raised his visibility, followed by the landslide Senate win. Although I think the word "unexpected" would be ok (and it is in the relevant subsection of the article,validating this as a summary), I've further tweaked the sentence as per earlier discussions with Bigtimepeace and Wikidemon above, and would like to try the following which is supported by the sources in the subsection, is less choppy, and may be easier to understand:

A come-from-behind, broad-based victory in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, with his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 making him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected by a landslide margin to the U.S. Senate in November 2004.

3. It's not a "bid for president", and "campaign" more accurately captures the length than "contest" and I think "won the nomination" is not self-explanatory. Also, it's better writing to not have every sentence follow straight subject-verb construction. So, I propose replacing the choppy

He launched a bid for president in early 2007 and competed in a close contest in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton. He won the nomination and became the first major party African American presidential candidate. with
Obama began his run for the Presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination, becoming the first major party African American candidate for President.

And, I would reinstate the hidden text request that people discuss major changes to the intro, which CoM removed without explanation.

So, putting it all together, I would change the 3rd and 4th paragraph of the intro to read:

Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. A come-from-behind, broad-based victory in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, with his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 making him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected by a landslide margin to the U.S. Senate in November 2004.
Obama began his run for the Presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination, becoming the first major party African American candidate for President. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009.

Can we discuss this proposed change please? Tvoz/talk 23:34, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

OK by me, IF we can have the reliable source for the "come-from-behind" part. It seems like a reasonable statement to the casual observer, but a little sourcing would help deflect the charges of original research that might come up. And, I'm not suggesting that the source be in the lede, but more appropriately in the body of the article. It's the same issue I had before with "underdog", namely show me the...reliable source. So, continuing my stream of conciousness, maybe remove the term, "come-from-behind"? QueenofBattle (talk) 04:40, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, to tell you the truth I prefer "unexpected" to "come-from-behind", as per my comment above, (sources are in note 61:[48], [49], [50]) - but there were objections. I think Newross's comment above is relevant here. Tvoz/talk 05:30, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I reject the "Landslide" wording. It is a very subjective term and has almost no meaning. Furthermore, the link to Landslide victories has no relevance since the only example given are presidential elections of which this was not. Also, the phrasing is very confusing. Additionally, the use of Landslide is an opinion, and not a fact, yet it is being presented as a fact. While he did win the general election by a wide margin, this was not really that suprising (which is what a landslide would suggest). Illinois is pretty blue, and for him to not have won by a huge margin once he had the Dem nomination would have been more of a story, especially against Keyes. Simply stat that he won and the magnitude of the victory without the subjective termaninolgy. Arzel (talk) 15:44, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

My responses:
  1. "landslide" does not at all require or even suggest that it is surprising - the wins by Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Richard Nixon in 1972, to name two, were not surprising, and are universally described as "landslide". All it refers to is the size of the victory.
  2. I have no problem with removing the link to the List of landslide victories - that got picked up from the previous and I hadn't looked at the linked article. Could link to the Wiktionary definition or no link.
  3. As for being subjective, I am using "landslide" in the intro to describe the general election where he won 70% of the vote - as the Washington Post said, "Obama took 70 percent of the vote in November, beating Keyes by the largest margin in Illinois history." [51]. That, by any definition, is a landslide. And I've added two more contemporaneous references to the body of the article -the Senate campaign section - one from the Chicago Tribune whose headline is "Obama scores a record landslide" [52] and one from the Chicago Sun-Times whose headline is "Obama takes Senate seat in a landslide" [53]. In fact some sources also refer to his primary win as a "landslide": for example, Chicago Tribune here and USA Today here, as cited in the article body. We're not supposed to be doing our own analysis of whether his wins were likely or not, or what is a big story, or Illinois' blue-ness vs. Keyes appeal - all of that is OR unless backed by reliable sources making those points. In fact, reliable sources describe it as a landslide and we are reflecting those reliable sources.
  4. Finally, which part of the phrasing did you find confusing? I might be able to clarify it.
Hope others will weigh in so we can move this along. Thanks. Tvoz/talk 20:49, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I'll propose this in an attempt to find consensus (which, as a gentle reminder, means not everyone gets everything they want):

Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. A come-from-behind, broad-based His victory from a crowded field in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, with his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 making him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected by a landslide margin to the U.S. Senate in November 2004.

Any takers? QueenofBattle (talk) 17:11, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

OK, hearing Arzel's objections to the use of the word "landslide" (and in the spirit of moving this along now that it appears we have consensus), I will make the following:
Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. His victory from a crowded field in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, with his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 making him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 by the largest margin in Illinois history.
Obama began his run for the Presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination, becoming the first major party African American candidate for President. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009.
I can't imagine this will meet with any objection, given the considerable discussion we have had on this point. Just the facts, drawing from the cited and sourced material in the bodt of the article and sub-articles. QueenofBattle (talk) 16:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

If I may, I've noticed the constant use of "He" or "Obama" at the beginning of sentences. Might I suggest the second paragraph go from:

Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004

to something like

Obama is a graduate of Columbia University Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American President of the Harvard law review. He later worked as a community organizer while working towards a degree in law, then moved on to be a civil rights lawyer and a teacher of Constitutional Law from 1992 to 2004 at the University of Chicago Law School

It's a bit wordy maybe, but I think it breaks up the monotony of "He..." and "Obama..." Soxwon (talk) 18:43, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Also just a couple of tweaks to Queen of Battle's version:
Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. His victory from a crowded field in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility, with a prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 making him a rising national star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 by the largest margin in Illinois history.
Obama began his run for the Presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's the nomination, becoming the first major party African American candidate for President. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican candidate John McCain and was inaugurated as President on January 20, 2009.'

Just my opinions Soxwon (talk) 18:59, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

And one last note, I brought up putting in a small notice about his marriage, his kids, or his state of origin. I still think it would be nice to point out he has a life outside of politics :). Soxwon (talk) 19:05, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Soxwon's changes look good to me. I think marriage, kids and state of origin are in the infobox (unlike all the other chronology), but it can't hurt to add it to the lede. Other thoughts? QueenofBattle (talk) 14:33, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

← Sorry, I didn't see this continuation of discussion until now. The changes made in the article by QoB are ok with me. As for his wife and children, I don't think it's needed in the intro, nor is it typically found there in similar articles, but I don't have very strong feelings about it. Soxwon's suggestion above about the Harvard Law paragraph of the intro however, had the chronology slightly off and seemed too informal to me - I think the intro is now ok as it is but I will take another look. Thanks to all for helping to move it along. Tvoz/talk 06:27, 10 April 2009 (UTC)


I understand that the introductory paragraphs are written in summary style, but that is not carte blanche for excluding reference to a reliable source. The statement in question is " an underdog and then won the primary with broad support that surprised campaign watchers and raised his profile." So, where are the reliable sources that say he was an underdog and that his victory surprised campaign watchers? We should either get it in the body of the article or take it out of the lede. Also, what "campaign watchers" are we talking about? QueenofBattle (talk) 21:03, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Deleted this discussion here as it's already covered above, but the question still remains. QueenofBattle (talk) 21:55, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Although accurate, numerous editors (myself included) have suggested that this detailed explanation and chronology belongs in the body of the article rather than the introduction. It's notable, significant, and inappropriate for the summary and concise lead that introduces an article. ChildofMidnight (talk) 23:57, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I think it already is in the body of the article, in addition to being in the lede. QueenofBattle (talk) 00:02, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Article needs updating

His European visit, especially the NATO summit in Strasbourg needs to be added as well as his endorsement of Turkey's entry to the EU, which is causing controversy.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 08:32, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Sometimes it is unclear whether a current event will in the long run be important enough to include in a description of the overall life of a president. So I would wait at least a few weeks to try to sort out which are the ultimate highlights of Obama's daily and weekly itinerary. Just my opinion, but I think that's how we've been taking things here. In the meanwhile you might want to share your thoughts at Talk:Presidency of Barack Obama. There could be similar concerns there, but it is at least more directly related to the subject of that article. The editors over there may also know whether there are any pages about relevant sub-topics. Wikidemon (talk) 13:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
The event is already mentioned at Timeline of the Presidency of Barack Obama, which is dedicated to such day-to-day detail. In principle, stuff there that's important enough will be worked into Presidency of Barack Obama, and stuff there of long-term importance will migrate here. PhGustaf (talk) 16:31, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

This is very relevant to Turkish Wikipedia because a foreign President is bucking major EU countries. However, in the United States, most people think Turkey is a sandwich meat, not a country. English Wikipedia is more than the U.S. but the U.S. is a —Preceding unsigned comment added by MichelleBM (talkcontribs) 01:35, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Early life and career section needs rework to be more accurate

Currently -

For twelve years, Obama served as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School teaching constitutional law. He was first classified as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and then as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004.[43] He also joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.[28][44][45]

Problem -

University of Chicago job was that of an occasional lecturer. I think he was not a professor. If he was, then he served as a professor. If he was a lecturer, then either he taught or was a lecturer.

Since he was a lawyer mainly and a lecturer only occasionally, then the order should be reversed.

Legal specialization is a term that we must use carefully. In most states, you must have a disclaimer when you mention specialization. We don't want to break the law or break the spirit of the law.

Possible fixing (Italics) -

Obama joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve-attorney law firm whose work included civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.[28][44][45] For twelve years, Obama taught constitutional law part time at the University of Chicago Law School as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004.[43]

There are tons of other places but that enough for now. Hawaii51 (talk) 15:15, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

What you "think" is not relevant here. You need to bring reliable sources to a discussion like this. Existing sources corroborate the existing language. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:15, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
No biting the newbies, please. QueenofBattle (talk) 16:36, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Er...what? How is my comment biting anybody? It was a response to "I think he was not a professor" in the previous comment, followed by a request for sourcing. Good faith assumed on my part. How about you? -- Scjessey (talk) 16:39, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Just try to be nice, please? A comment such as "What you 'think' is not relevant here" makes the point but could it be done with a bit more civility? The environment around editing at this page is inordinately hostile. We all have a responsibility to reduce the rhetoric. QueenofBattle (talk) 16:43, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't know, this is a politician so rhetoric seems appropriate. Soxwon (talk) 16:47, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
It's just fine in all 50 states for a reference source to note that a law firm specializes in a particular legal subject or process. If it's in the sources we can report it. The US government, and various states, require special certification, licensing, or training for some particular specialties, such as practicing before a particular court, maritime law, patents, etc., but so far as I know neighborhood economic development and civil rights law do not require anything special in any jurisdiction. I'm okay switching the sentence order if we can conclude that the law firm job was truly more noteworthy than the law class. Regarding tone, please don't dress down other editors on this talk page - whether to scold newbies or to scold experienced editors managing this page. The new editor is batting less than .500 with suggestions that begin with bold assertions that the article is deficient; if that continues they'll have to tone it down. Wikidemon (talk) 17:35, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, I think the new editor is here to do what we all are here trying to do, which is improve the article. They can't be "batting less than .500" because it is not a competition. Help them understand how we do things. Be a mentor to newbies. Be an example of the right tone and tenor to have for valid comments about improving the article. No one is a "manager" here and no one deserves to be "managed". Show less pride of authorship and be more collaborative. Civility is the core principle we collectively edit under; I'm not trying to dress anyone down. I am reminding folks of the need to take the knee-jerk hostility down, and I mean, way down. As they say, if the shoe fits, wear it. QueenofBattle (talk) 19:23, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

←In response to QueenofBattle, you are creating a battle where none existed. I stated that reliable sources, not "thinking" are appropriate here. You incorrectly alleged incivility. Please confine yourself to commenting on the article (as I was doing), rather than my comments (which you were doing). -- Scjessey (talk) 18:24, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, actually, I am just trying to get us all to think about the tone of our comments here. Not the substance of the comments, mind you, but the tone. It is our collective obligation to reverse this toxic editing environment here. Please take no offense, as none was intended. Or take a great amount of offense, if you wish. It won't ruin my day either way, but folks we all need to, how does my son say it, chill? QueenofBattle (talk) 19:17, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Then you should have brought it up at the user's talk page, or taken it to WP:WQA if the situation warranted. Calling people out and grandstanding in this matter does little to help the situation. Tarc (talk) 19:34, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Well then, I'll retract my comments so as not to appear to be grandstanding. I just thought we could all use a little pep talk. Please forgive my ill-fated attempt. QueenofBattle (talk) 20:15, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
What you "think" is not relevant here. You need to bring reliable sources to a discussion like this. Existing sources corroborate the existing language. The crux of what Hawaii51 has said that he or she thinks is that Obama was not a professor. This proposition very obviously is relevant to the article. It comes without evidence, and prefaced with "I think". Although "I think" is indeed a common way in which a student attempts to fudge a term paper for which he hasn't bothered to think or to read, nobody is purporting to write a term paper here, and "I think" strikes me as an entirely acceptable way of signaling that a particular concern should be investigated. (Certainly it's a phrase that some of the most critical editors use in WP article talk pages.) ¶ So: Should Hawaii51 bring reliable sources to back his or her claims? Yes indeed; and obviously the article shouldn't be altered until reliable sources are adduced. ¶ Now let's look at what the article says: For twelve years, Obama served as a professor at the University of Chicago Law School teaching constitutional law. He was first classified as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and then as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004. This seems awkward at best: why the need for "classified"? And if the context is clearly a position at a university it's hard to see how the term "professor" is more informative than alternatives once we know that it's not limited to those named (or, if you prefer, "classified" as) "Professor". Thus merely as a copywriter I'd suggest: For twelve years, Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004. The cited U Chicago page says nothing to disagree with this, although it does also refer to him as a [small p] "professor". So if you want to call him a professor, you can do so: For twelve years, Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004; the university regards him as a professor. However this strikes me as a verbose half-measure: if (unlike me) you really think that small-p "professor" is informative, then say From 1992 to 2004, Obama was a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, and leave the niceties of position to the article that treats this part of his life in more detail. ¶ Incidentally, the U Chicago page tends to confirm Hawaii51's suggestion that Obama was an occasional lecturer (although/because a distinguished one). That page is brief and could be misleading, I could be wrong, Hawaii51 could be wrong; but Hawaii51 is most welcome to utter intelligent, relevant thoughts here. -- Hoary (talk) 09:13, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Goals for article? Inform or have reader seek the truth?

We should decide whether the article is to inform or whether we force the reader to be skeptical and read between the lines. I think the former is better.

If so, then a further possible fix is -

Obama joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a twelve-attorney law firm whose work included civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.[28][44][45] Davis and Minor represented Harold Washington, Chicago's first Black mayor, and was close to the political action, providing further contacts in addition to those developed when Obama was a community organizer.[54] For twelve years, Obama taught constitutional law part time at the University of Chicago Law School as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004.[43]

Hawaii51 (talk) 15:25, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

You see, Obama wasn't some lawyer that happened to run for Illinois Senate and won then happened to be lucky and become U.S. Senator and President. Addition of minor sentences, like the above, inform the reader better. The truth was that Obama developed the required political connections (like most politicians do) and worked in the right law firm to develop a political career. Hawaii51 (talk) 15:30, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Hawaii, is the material you seek to include related to Obama developing political connections included in the Washington Post reference you provide? QueenofBattle (talk) 15:40, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
We would need very strong sourcing, and not just from a single place, to suggest that either the reason or effect of working at that particular firm was to gain political connections. In general small firms like that are the third or fourth tier and are far less prestigious or connected than the larger indigenous firms. It does seem a little odd that someone with Obama's credentials would work at such a small firm, and it may bear explanation. But it may be impossible to know. Many other speculative explanations come to mind. Wikidemon (talk) 17:41, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Seems to be a textbook case of synthesis, really. Taking the WPost source and providing one's own spin/interpretation/analysis. Tarc (talk) 18:04, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Yep, that may be the case, Tarc, so let's flesh it out. Hence my question. QueenofBattle (talk) 19:13, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
There's nothing to flesh out, as there's really nothing of substance to what this "new" user has proposed. Red flags pop up when people frame discussions with "The truth was..." assertions. Tarc (talk) 19:34, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
No "truth." Read wikipedia's guidelines and policies Hawaii. The encyclopedia is about about WP:TRUTHBali ultimate (talk) 23:09, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) The New Yorker published an lengthy article in July 2008 regarding Obama's early career in Chicago. May be useful to this discussion or serve as a reliable source. See Neoplatonic (talk) 14:35, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


Someone wrote "What you "think" is not relevant here. You need to bring reliable sources to a discussion like this. Existing sources corroborate the existing language. -- Scjessey (talk) 16:15, 8 April 2009 (UTC)" but in spite of fact checking, the current version is wrong!

If we call Obama a man, does this need a reference?

We are acting like we don't know the difference between Professor and Lecturer. The Lecturer is a low ranking faculty even below Assistant Professor. Sometimes volunteer people from the outside who have real jobs give a few lectures and are given the title of Lecturer. The real Professors are Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors. Look here:

So if we want to inflate Obama's resume, we call him professor with a little P and try to sneak that by the audience. If we want to be accurate, we call him lecturer but we can say he taught. Actually, Obama needs neither as he is now President, which is far higher than Professor or even Dean. It's even higher than Chanceller of the University or Governor of Illinois. MichelleBM (talk) 01:33, 10 April 2009 (UTC) MichelleBM (talkcontribs) has made few or no other edits outside this topic.

Good. You have found references for three other people who are not Obama. Does not seem particularly germaine to this topic. There are several references in the article that use the word "professor", including one from the University of Chicago themselves If you have references that directly refute this, please provide them. Your references can only support your thesis only if you invent the bridge between the two yourself, an idea called novel synthesis and as such, should not be in the article without proper refs 02:22, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Very germane to the topic. Same university. Shows that there are different levels. It is dishonest and inaccurate to call Obama a professor. It is inflating his resume. He was a practicing lawyer, not a law professor. He just gave a few lectures on the side, much as some former politicians and distinguished people do, as well as dentist, lawyers, etc. MichelleBM (talk) 23:48, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Lack of a total dissimilarity to pop-up moles doesn't demand that the interlocutors should be whacked without consideration of the substance of what they say (after we've stripped away the innuendo: So if we want to inflate Obama's resume, we call him professor with a little P and try to sneak that by the audience, etc etc). Because there does seem to be some substance. I've read what U Chicago said, and it doesn't say that Obama had the rank of Professor. He did, however, have a high rank, and the university refers to him as a "professor" (small p) in addition to his positions (capitalized). It's therefore correct to call him a "professor". However, it's unclear to me what talk of small-s "professor" adds to the description in the WP article. It can be cut. Now, I'm willing to be informed that I misunderstand and "professor" is informative here; but if it is, then additional talk of "Lecturer" and "Senior Lecturer" would seem to be unnecessary verbiage. I've already provided two alternative ways to shorten this; do all other editors here insist on the current verbosity? -- Hoary (talk) 10:22, 10 April 2009 (UTC)