Douglas Baird Shares Memories on WBEZ's "Making Obama" Podcast

Obama 4: Wait Your Turn

When newly elected state Sen. Barack Obama came to the Illinois Capitol in 1997, he didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome. Many of his new senate colleagues had been supporters of Alice Palmer, who Obama had knocked off the ballot during the election.

Plus, Democrats were in the minority in the Statehouse, making it difficult to pass legislation. Frustrated, Obama wanted to leave the state Senate by running for Congress in the 2000 election against a Chicago political legend — U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, who was a former Black Panther.

In episode four of Making Obama, hear the story of that race, which was Obama’s first and only defeat in a political campaign, and how he confronted his identity as a biracial, Harvard-educated lawyer.

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