How Chicago Politics Shaped Obama : NPR

I was just telling my sister in an email about listening to this story about Obama’s political beginnings. He’s disappointed not a few progressives and reformers in Chicago for not taking on “Chicago Machine politics,” or from “getting along” just enough to get elected. But he’s inspired a whole lot of people, too. Sometimes surprisingly so.

How Chicago Politics Shaped Obama : NPR

He was a young politician who couldn’t win a congressional seat in his own neighborhood, and yet he was asking the state’s political kingmaker to back him for a statewide race.

Furthermore, Obama wanted Jones to help him leapfrog over a line of more established and much more powerful politicians — a bold move, but it turns out that’s exactly what happened.

Jones knew that even though Obama had limited appeal in his district, he had wide appeal beyond the South Side.

And Jones offered this story to make his point: Back when Obama was running for his U.S. Senate seat, Jones was traveling with the candidate in southern Illinois, an area known for being white, rural and conservative. Jones said he sat across from an 84-year-old woman who said she hoped she lived long enough to vote for Obama because he “is going to be president one day,” Jones recalls. “And that was her first time meeting him.”

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