Meet the Candidates

Biographies provided by the candidates’ campaigns.

Meet Barack Obama

President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4th, 1961, to a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas. Growing up, he was also raised by his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to become middle management at a local bank.

After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked as an organizer to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.

He went on to Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he took a job teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He also remained active in his community, leading a drive that registered more than 150,000 voters in Illinois leading up to the 1992 election.

Barack Obama was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. During his time in Springfield, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, he reached across the aisle to pass the farthest-reaching lobbyist reform in a generation, lock up the world’s most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by tracking federal spending online.

As President, Barack Obama has dedicated himself to putting Americans back to work and restoring economic security to middle-class families. He’s been driven by the basic values that make our country great: America prospers when we’re all in it together, when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded, and when everyone—from Main Street to Wall Street—does their fair share and plays by the same rules.

Meet Mitt Romney

Mitt was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, gave up an acting career when she met and married his father, George. Mitt’s father came from humble origins and never graduated from college. He apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter and sold aluminum paint before beginning a career that brought him to the head of American Motors and then the governorship of Michigan.

Mitt married his wife, Ann, in 1969. They first met in elementary school when he was a Cub Scout; he remembers tossing pebbles at her when she rode by on a horse. When they met again years later at a friend’s house, he was smitten. Between them, they have five sons and eighteen grandchildren, who are the center of their lives.

Like any family, the Romneys have faced hardship: Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and more recently fought a battle with breast cancer. She credits her husband’s unwavering care and devotion to her for helping her through these ordeals.

Mitt is not a career politician. He has spent most of his life in the private sector, giving him intimate knowledge of how our economy works. But he has also been an outstanding public servant. In one chapter of his distinguished career, he reversed the decline of a state mired in recession. In another chapter, he salvaged the 2002 Winter Olympic Games from certain disaster.