Barack Obama, the Democratic star of the moment in American politics, is the junior Senator from Illinois, and for the past two years has been the only black member of the U.S. Senate. Elected after seven years in the Illinois state legislature and a short career as a lawyer and community activist in Chicago, he first came to national prominence when John F. Kerry made him the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic convention.
Since then he has been something of a celebrity, always in demand for speeches and interviews if not very active on the Senate floor. Washington pundits started buzzing early on about a future White House run, but not until this fall did Obama himself begin to drop hints that he might have his eyes on the Presidency. The hints came in the course of a book tour to launch The Audacity of Hope, and the resulting publicity quickly made the book a best-seller.
This is in essence a campaign document, with most of the faults and few of the virtues of the form.