Obama’s nomination historical on every front

BARACK OBAMA’s political career boasts a long list of firsts.

He is the first presumptive presidential nominee to be a native of Hawaii and the president of the Harvard Law Review. He’s also the first candidate with more than one million contributors.

Obama, an Illinois senator, is the first presumptive presidential nominee in modern times to have a father who wasn’t a US citizen, the first to earn an undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York and the first to have attended Occidental College in LA.

“Obama’s nomination would be historic in almost every respect that you can think of,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

Obama has also chalked up many near-firsts in the race for the White House. He is the fourth Illinois elected official to clinch a party presidential nomination; if elected he would be the first since Abraham Lincoln. Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois and was governor of California. Obama is the only first-term senator to lead a major party since Warren Harding in 1920.

The first Democratic convention Obama ever attended was Los Angeles in 2000 and his credit card bounced at the rental-car station. He also wasn’t able to secure a floor pass and watched most of the speeches on big screens.

Even former President Jimmy Carter, often described as an obscure peanut farmer when he was nominated in 1976, had become governor of Georgia in 1971 and appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

Obama is the only presidential nominee in modern times whose father wasn’t American. The parents of Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee in 1988, were Greek immigrants who became naturalized US citizens.

Obama’s father, Barack Obama Sr was a graduate student from Kenya, who returned to Africa after his studies.

Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, was born at a military base in the Panama Canal Zone, while his father, a Navy officer, was posted there.

Harvard has been in the presidential game since the first US election in 1789, seven graduates making it to the presidency: John Adams, his son John Quincy, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Rutherford Hayes, John Kennedy and George W Bush.

Through April, the Illinois senator raised money from a record 1.5 million donors, bringing in $256 million (e163m) for the primary election, just behind the $262 million taken in by Bush in 2004. His campaign confirmed that he has now surpassed Bush’s record, becoming the biggest fundraiser in US history.


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