Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Obama versus McCain

Now we have our two nominees, Barack Obama and John McCain. And I’m pretty sure that last night Al Gore endorsed both of them. The race is is that close. So just who are Obama and McCain?

Full name
Barack Hussein Obama II
John Sidney McCain III
Date and place of birth
August 4, 1961
Honolulu, Hawaii
August 29, 1936
Coco Solo Naval Air Station,
Panama Canal Zone
High school
Punahou School, a private preparatory school in Honolulu, Hawaii
Episcopal High School, a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia
Higher education
Occidental College
Columbia University (BA)
Harvard Law School (JD)
United States Naval Academy (BS)
Wrestling, boxing
Proudest academic achievement
President of Harvard Law Review
College class rank 894 out of 899 (fifth from bottom)
Episcopalian, Baptist
United Church of Christ
Spouse’s name, date and place of birth, and education
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama
January 17, 1964
Chicago, Illinois
Princeton University (AB)
Harvard Law School (JD)
Cindy Lou Hensley McCain
May 20, 1954
Phoenix, Arizona
University of Southern California (BA & MA)
2 children
7 children, 4 grandchildren
Father was a senior economist for Kenyan Ministry of Finance, mother was an anthropologist, grandfather ran a furniture store, then sold insurance, grandmother worked in a bank
Father was a Navy admiral serving as Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command from 1968 to 1972, grandfather was a Navy admiral in World War II and was present at the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri in 1945.
Political career
Junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, elected in 2004

Illinois State Senator, elected in 1996
Senior U.S. Senator from Arizona, elected in 1986

U.S Representative from Arizona, elected in 1982
Previous career
Community organizer and civil rights attorney, taught constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School for 12 years
U.S. Navy aviator, retired after 22 years with rank of captain, awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross
Board memberships
Public Allies (founding member)

Woods Fund of Chicago

The Joyce Foundation

Chicago Annenberg Challenge (founding president)

Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Center for Neighborhood Technology

Lugenia Burns Hope Center
Project Vote Smart

Gallaudet University

International Republican Institute

Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom

Board of Visitors, United States Naval Academy
How spent the late 1960s
1967-1971, lived with his mother and her second husband in Indonesia
1967-1973, held prisoner in North Vietnam
Career path not taken
Turned down job offer from Tony Rezko, the Chicago real estate developer and political fixer recently convicted on public corruption charges
Considered joining the French Foreign Legion when it looked like he might be discharged from Annapolis for too many disciplinary infractions
First car
$2000 used blue Honda Civic, second car was $500 bright yellow hatchback Datsun 210
Red Corvette
Rich girlfriend story
Girlfriend took him to her rich white family’s country house where her parents were very nice and gracious, he took her to see an angry play by a black playwright where the mostly black audience “was laughing and clapping and hollering like they were in church”
Arrived late and drunk for weekend at house of girlfriend’s parents in Main Line Philadelphia suburb - after ringing the doorbell he promptly fell, crashing through the screen door, and her father sent him back to the train station
Big mistake
Sat in church pew for 20 years listening to Reverend Wright’s sermons without calling him on his anti-American rhetoric
Stayed on target for bomb run on Hanoi power plant, ignoring for a few seconds his plane’s radar warning tone for incoming surface-to-air missile that would shoot him down
Guilty feelings
His mother died shortly after he wrote his first book (“I might have written a different book – less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life.”)
Stole a washrag belonging to a fellow prisoner of war after he lost his own (“In the Old West the worst thing you could do to a man was to steal his horse. In prison the worst thing you can do to a man is steal his washrag.”)
Wish YouTube had the video
Worked 3 months for a Ralph Nader group in Harlem teaching the importance of recycling to minority students at City College
Served as “entertainment officer” for fellow prisoners of war in North Vietnam by reenacting plots of American movies from memory and playing all the parts himself
Unlikely endorsement
“We like Mr. Obama and we hope that he will win the election. I do believe he is like John Kennedy, a great man with great principles, and he has a vision to change America, to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with domination and arrogance.”

Ahmed Yousef, chief political advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister quoted in April 2008
"He’s a good guy. We are still good friends. He is the best man for President."

First wife Carol Shepp McCain quoted in June 2008 in the The Mail on Sunday (but would she have endorsed Hillary Clinton as the best “person” for President?)
Memoir worth reading
Dreams from My Father (1995)
Faith of My Fathers (1999)

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