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Barack Obama (or is that Barak Obama)

By Jen Chung in News on May 25, 2004 5:32AM

Barack Obama

State Senator Barack Obama is profiled in a New Yorker article this week, which serves as a nice national introduction to what many Chicagoans know - that Obama is a brilliant guy - as he prepares to run for Peter Fitzgerald's Senate seat. The article limns the complex and unpredictable climate of Illinois (strong pockets of both conservative and liberal views) that Obama has been able to navigate through relatively smoothly. There's also a priceless George W. Bush-related anecdote:
Jan Schakowsky told me about a recent visit she had made to the White House with a congressional delegation. On her way out, she said, President Bush noticed her “obama” button. “He jumped back, almost literally,” she said. “And I knew what he was thinking. So I reassured him it was Obama, with a ‘b.’ And I explained who he was. The President said, ‘Well, I don’t know him.’ So I just said, ‘You will.’”
Speaking of his name, Chicagoist has noticed that Obama's first name is spelled two different ways: Barak and Barack - even on his own website. Does anyone know what's going on there?

Here's the Obama For Illinois senatorial campaign site, which has the Obama Blog. And as a U. Chicago law school professor, Obama is beloved, even after standing up a Maroon reporter. The New Republic's Noam Scheiber recently wrote an article about Obama (registration req'd), Black Commentator searches for the "Real" Obama, and the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn posts excerpts of an Obama interview Jeff Berkowitz did. You can also read Obama's memoir, Dreams of My Father.