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Illinois 1st congressional district election, 2000

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In 2000, Obama lost his only political election when he chose to run against experienced incumbent and former Black Panther Bobby L. Rush for the U.S. Congress in a 65% black district. Rush's name recognition began at 90%, Obama's at 11%. As media consultant and former Rush campaign staffer Eric Adelstein noted, "Nobody said he’s ‘not black enough.’ They said he’s a professor, a Harvard elite who lives in Hyde Park." Todd Spivak would give voice to this impression of Obama, noting that

"My view of Obama then wasn't all that different from the image he projects now. He was smart, confident, charismatic and liberal. One thing I can say is, I never heard him launch into the preacher-man voice he now employs during speeches. He sounded vanilla, and activists in his mostly black district often chided him for it."[1]

Rush would go on to win the Primary with 61.02% of the vote; Obama received 30.36%.[2]

"He was blinded by his ambition. Obama has never suffered from a lack of believing that he can accomplish whatever it is he decides to try. Obama believes in Obama. And, frankly, that has its good side but it also has its negative side."

-Bobby Rush[2]

The loss led to Obama considering dropping out of politics altogether, particularly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, since his name sounds similar to "Osama bin Laden".[3]

See Also

References

  1. Spivak, Todd (2008, February 28). "Barack Obama and Me." Houston Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Scott, Janny (2007, September 9). "In 2000, a Streetwise Veteran Schooled a Bold Young Obama." New York Times.
  3. MSNBC (2008, February 20). "Obama Becomes Rising Star Among Democrats."
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