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Obama also considered Chicago a place from which he could launch a political career, and he became active in a number of projects in addition to his legal cases at work and another job he held teaching classes at the University of Chicago Law School.He worked on a local voter-registration drive, for example, that registered thousands of black voters in Chicago; the effort was said to have helped Bill Clinton (1946–) win the state in his successful bid for the White House in 1992.

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Obama recalled feeling conflicted about his mixed heritage in his teen years."I was affected by the problems that I think a lot of young African American teens have," he reflected in an interview with Kenneth Meeks for Black Enterprise."They feel that they need to rebel against society as a way of proving their blackness.The work merited some brief but mostly complimentary reviews in the press. Treasury official, and his signature was the first from an African American to appear on U. Edward William Brooke III (1919–), a Republican from Massachusetts, was elected to the U. Rush's campaign stressed his experience and questioned Obama's support base among wealthier white voters in the city, and Obama was solidly defeated in the primary, winning just 30 percent of the vote. Suddenly, state and even national Democratic Party leaders began taking him and his Senate campaign seriously.

Obama, however, was not hoping for a career as an author: he decided to run for a seat in the Illinois state senate. A few years later, Obama decided to run for a seat in the U. In the primary, he had managed to do what few African American politicians had ever done: record an impressive number of votes from precincts that had a predominantly white population.

He ran from his home district of Hyde Park, the neighborhood surrounding the elite University of Chicago on the South Side. A former slave from Virginia, Bruce was a teacher and founder of the first school for blacks in the state of Missouri. In his 2004 Senate race, Obama faced a tough Republican challenger, however: a former investment banker turned parochial-school (school supported by a church parish) teacher named Jack Ryan (1960–).