CLEVELAND – Barack Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961 in Hawaii, his mother was from Kansas, his father from Kenya. When Obama was two his parents divorced and his mother remarried in 1965 and the family moved to Indonesia.
At the age of 10, Obama returned to Hawaii moving in with his grandparents. He would graduate high school in 1979 and head off to New York City to attend Columbia University.
Obama stayed in NYC for a while after graduating Columbia in 1983, and before making his way to Chicago where he went to work in 1985 as a community organizer.
In 1988, he would enter Harvard Law School and return to Chicago in 1989 as a summer associate at a law firm. It is here he would meet Michelle Robinson, the two would soon begin dating and in 1992, after graduating Harvard Law School, the two would marry.
The couple would welcome two daughters, Malia in 1998 and Sasha in 2001.
Obama’s first run for public office came in 1996, when he won a seat in the Illinois State Senate. His lone political setback came in 2000 when he lost a bid for the U.S. Congress in Illinois.
He would regroup, run for and win election to the U.S. Senate in 2004. At the time though the talk, fueled by his speech that summer at the Democratic National Convention, made him a rising star in the party.
In Aug. of 2004, Obama came to Cleveland and energized a crowd of young Democrats at an Americans Coming Together (ACT) conference.
“Things change because of people like you, you have decided to put your shoulder to the wheel and change history,” the then Illinois state senator told the Cleveland crowd.
After his election to the U.S. Senate, Obama would begin to mount his campaign for the White House while stumping for votes across the country in 2006, including a stop in Cleveland Heights that year for the candidacies of Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown.
“I have been on the road now for about a month,” said Obama in the Nov. 2006 stop. “Just campaigning for candidates all over the country I’ve been in 20 states in the last two weeks.”
Three months later, that pace would only increase when he announced his bid for the White House on Feb. 10, 2007 in his hometown of Chicago. Sixteen days later, Obama was back in Cleveland, raising money and making his first official campaign appearance.
“Ohio is important for the country and its important in any presidential contest,” he said that night in Downtown Cleveland. “We want to make sure we get here early, meeting people learning about the issues.”
Obama would carry Ohio by 262,000 votes a total almost equal to his margin of victory in Cuyahoga County that year of 258,000.
When it came time to announce his re-election bid earlier this year, Obama skipped his home state of Illinois and came to Ohio in May, officially throwing his hat in the ring during a stop at Ohio State.
Since becoming President he’s visited the state well over 30 times with more than half of those appearances this year alone.
In July, we jokingly asked the president if he was here in Ohio so much in an attempt to establish residency so he could vote absentee.
“I tell you I probably don’t need to vote in Chicago as much as I do in Ohio but I’m not going to take advantage of those loopholes, I’m going to try to make sure to win it straight,” the president joked.
As he heads into the final days of his final campaign Obama’s pitch to Ohio voters is to finish what’s been started.
“We’ve got a long way to go, a lot of folks are still out of work but what we’ve shown here in Ohio is that we still have the best workers in the world, innovative companies who want to invest here,” he said.
“What we have to do is create the kind of atmosphere in terms of making sure we’ve got a well educated work force, great transportation systems and a tax code that rewards companies that invest here in Ohio. If we do that then not only is it going to be good for Ohio but it’s a good example for the country as a whole.”