The Obama Announcement: A NowPublic rundown
It's official: Illinois Senator Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the 2008 US Presidential race in Springfield on Saturday. There's been a ton of response out there, as would be expected. For one, there is already the sense that Obama will now be under a kind of intense scrutiny as he prepares for the race, beginning with questions about religion and race:
IOWA FALLS, Iowa – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday he does not think voters have a litmus test on religion, whether evangelical Christianity or his childhood years in a largely Muslim country.
“If your name is Barack Hussein Obama, you can expect it, some of that. I think the majority of voters know that I'm a member of the United Church of Christ, and that I take my faith seriously,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“Ultimately what I think voters will be looking for is not so much a litmus test on faith as an assurance that a candidate has a value system and that is appreciative of the role that religious faith can play in helping shape people's lives,” he said.
In the interview, Obama also said his race might be a “novelty” this early in the presidential contest, sparred with the prime minister of Australia over Iraq, and said he has a higher burden of proof with voters because of his relative inexperience. Obama formally announced his candidacy in Illinois on Saturday and made a beeline for Iowa, site of the first nominating contest next Jan. 14.
Obama, who was born in Hawaii, lived in mostly Muslim Indonesia with his mother and stepfather from 1967 to 1971. He subsequently returned to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents.
Obama's youth in terms of a political career is also being widely scrutinized:
From Washington, Obama came under criticism from a presidential rival, 26-year veteran Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, for his lack of experience.
“I think experience matters to people. The stakes are very, very high right now,” Dodd said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “This is not a time for on-the-job training.”
At the house party in Iowa Falls, Obama said, “I'm going to have to be run through the paces, people are going to have to lift up the hood, kick the tires and be clear that I have a grasp of the issues that are of utmost importance in people's lives.”
Certainly it's a story that will develop more and more in the days to come. Meanwhile, here's what some NowPublic contributors have to say:
We'll keep watching for more Obama news and views on NowPublic in the next few days.