October 12, 2006

SIUC political scholar chronicles Obama’s 1st race

by Tom Woolf

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A paper commissioned by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is receiving recognition by a national expert on presidential elections.

David Yepsen, the most authoritative source on Iowa's presidential politics, writes a political column for the Des Moines Register. He recently quoted from an occasional paper about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, written by John S. Jackson, a visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

Jackson's paper entitled "The Making Of A Senator: Barack Obama and the 2004 Illinois Senate Race" details Obama's rise to prominence by providing "a description account of the 2004 Senate campaign and an analysis of the foundation upon which Obama's victory was built," wrote Jackson.

Jackson will integrate the paper into several classes he teaches at SIUC. "I thought it was important to create the record of Obama's first really important race before that record became obscured by his fame and success," said Jackson. "Most people have already forgotten that he was not the initial frontrunner or favorite in that race. It is difficult to pull all the voting data and polling data together in one place and as time goes by, it gets to be even more difficult, so I thought it would be a service to scholars, student and the media to have the story of the election of 2004 told cogently and the data presented succinctly in one convenient form."

Jackson decided to focus on Obama because the senator from Illinois continues to touch people all across the world. "I think he is an inspirational figure for many and especially for young people. He seems to epitomize a "politics of reason" in a way that we have not seen enough of lately," Jackson said.

Jackson believes Obama will be making headlines for years to come. "He is young enough to be an enduring figure of significant importance for several decades if all goes well," he said.

Jackson's paper on Obama can be found at http://www.siu.edu/%7eppi/PDF/papers/Obama.pdf.

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John S. Jackson

John S. Jackson
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