24/1/09

Who is Barack Obama?



Party : The Democrats - they're a bit like America's version of the Labour Party
Age: 47
Family :Married to Michelle, with two daughters
Fave song : Ready Or Not by The Fugees

Background:
He is the first black candidate to become the presidential candidate of either major American party.
His mum's American, his dad is African and he was born on one of the American islands of Hawaii. He also lived in Indonesia, in south east Asia, for a while as a child.
After studying law at one of the country's top universities, he worked as a lawyer for people's rights before getting into politics.

What happens next for Obama?

Barack Obama will not be sworn in as President of the United States of America until 20 January 2009 - this is called inauguration day. Until then George Bush is still in charge and Obama will be called the President-elect.

The outgoing President is often known as a 'lame-duck' during this period because everyone knows the new guy is just around the corner.


What will he do between now and then?
The next 11 weeks are known as the transition period, when the President-elect starts thinking about his new job, what he's going to do, and who he wants on his team.

He'll also have experts from George Bush's team getting him up to speed on all the topics that he'll need to know lots about for his new job.


What's at the top of Obama's to-do list as President?
Barack Obama has a big job on his hands, as people are expecting a lot from him. Here are some of the things he's talked about getting his teeth into:

The economic crisis

Health - better access to healthcare for the 45 million Americans who don't have medical insurance - including free healthcare for all children

Education - more teachers and better pay for them

Climate change - wants to slash greenhouse gas emissions and invest in clean energy
Changes like these need money - and with the current cash crisis this could prove tricky for the new president. But the USA and the rest of the world will be watching to see how he gets on.
He wants America to lead the way in the global effort to tackle climate change, including slashing America's greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 80% by the year 2050.
He also says he will invest a staggering $150billion (about £100 billion) over 10 years in clean energy.

War in Iraq
Obama was against the war in Iraq and says he will pull out all the American troops within 16 months.

Other stuff
By winning the election, he has become America's first black President.

As little as 50 years ago, African Americans didn't have the same rights as everyone else and in some places, black and white children weren't even allowed to go to the same schools.
Although racism is still a problem in some parts of America, lots of people think that if Obama can win the election it would show the rest of the world how much America has changed.

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