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 2008 Election:  McCain's book Obama's book Biden's book Palin's booklet Keyes' book Nader's book Barr's book      2008   Debates 

2008 presidential race

2009 State of the Union speech
Presidential Debates: Third Obama-McCain Debate - Second Obama-McCain Debate - V.P. debate, Biden vs. Palin - First Obama-McCain Debate
Vice Presidential background materials:

Gov. Sarah Palin: Booklet - Debate - Profile - Wasilla - Governor
Sen. Joe Biden: Bio - Profile - Debates
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McCain-Obama joint appearances:
Aug.16 -Jul.12 -Jun.28 -
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2008 Democratic primary debates
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2008 Republican primary debates
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2008 Green primary debates
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2007 Republican primary debates
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2007 Democratic primary debates
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Excerpts from Books by and about 2008 candidates
Sen. John McCain (R, AZ)
Why Courage Matters
Sen. Barack Obama(D, IL)
Dreams From My Father
Sen. Joe Biden (D, DE)
Promises to Keep
Gov. Sarah Palin (R, AK)
New Energy for Alaska
Rep. Bob Barr (L)
The Meaning of IS
Rep. Cynthia McKinney (G)
Green Party Debate
Ralph Nader (I)
The Good Fight
Alan Keyes (NAIP)
Our Character, Our Future

Sen. Hillary Clinton
It Takes A Village
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Gov. Mike Huckabee
Character Makes A Difference
Amb. Alan Keyes
Our Character, Our Future
Rep. Ron Paul
Freedom Under Siege
Gov. Mitt Romney

(click a book cover for excerpts and a review or other books by or about the presidency from

Barack Obama For Beginners
An Essential Guide
, by Bob Neer

(Click for Amazon book review)


Don't be put off by the cutesy title "Barack Obama for Beginners" -- this is a really nice little summary of all the essentials that knowledgeable voters should know about our next president. And don't be put off by the numerous drawings -- the younger generation might call this the equivalent of a "graphic novel" -- they set the tone of not taking themselves very seriously. But the content is actually serious, and seriously good.

The book covers the basic biography -- Obama's upbringing; his relationship with his mother and father; education; and marriage. And then covers the basics of Obama's political career -- from his first State Senate race to the presidential primaries. There are decent summaries of the key controversies of the presidential race too -- from Tony Rezko & Rev. Wright to "Bittergate" and others. Just the basics -- without the bias.

This slim volume -- 68 pages that you can read in an hour or so -- is the latest entry in the "For Beginners" series. I have read many books in this series, from "Plato for Beginners" to "Zen for Beginners." I'm no expert on Zen or Plato, but after reading those "For Beginners" guides, I can understand the relevant references and hold my own at cocktail parties. You can do the same in political discussions by reading "Barack Obama for Beginners".

-- Jesse Gordon, [email protected], November 2008
Click here for 27 full quotes from Barack Obama in the book Barack Obama For Beginners.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
Civil Rights
   Community organizing continues the civil rights movement.
   Mother home-schooled Obama in English while in Indonesia.
   1980s: Tested for asbestos at Chicago housing project.
Gun Control
   April 2008: "Bittergate" labeled Obama elitist.
Health Care
   1998: Passed 11 bills on healthcare and child welfare issues.
   1980s: Opened first city job center in South Chicago.
Principles & Values
   We should be guided by what works.
   Kenyan grandfather converted to Christianity & then to Islam.
   Father was raised Muslm but became an atheist.
   Father's family from the Luo tribe of Kenya.
   Related to both Vice Pres. Cheney and Pres. Truman.
   Mother described as "the original feminist" at 1960 college.
   Registered as Muslim at Catholic & secular Indonesian school.
   In his 20s, searched for his identity, absent both parents.
   Epiphany at age 21 settled his racial identity.
   Organizer's method: from issue to action to power.
   Barack's UCC church motto: Unabashedly Black & Christian.
   1980s: Registered 150,000 voters in Chicago "Project Vote".
   Greatest mistake: absence from mother when she died.
   1996: job of state senator is organizer, teacher, & advocate.
   1996: Campaigned on unity, but got opponents disqualified.
   After challenging Rep. Rush, got redistricted out.
   5th African-American ever elected to US Senate.
   June 2008: YouTube hit, "I Got a Crush on Obama".
   Mar. 2008: Campaign uproar over Rev. Wright's anti-US sermon.
   Feb. 2008: Had 250,000 members on Facebook to Clinton's 3250.
War & Peace
   2002 anti-war speech was not popular opinion at that time.

The above quotations are from Barack Obama For Beginners
An Essential Guide
, by Bob Neer.

All material copyright 1999-2015
Reprinting by permission only.

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