Barack Obama was elected president of the United States in November 2008, comprehensively defeating the Republican John McCain. He is generally described as the "first black (or African-American) president", being the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas.
He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991 and was elected to the US Senate in 2004, having previously been a state senator in Illinois.
His presidential victory was put down to his winning support from a "rainbow coalition" of voters. He appealed to middle class Americans, and the race was seen to swing his way when the economic crisis of 2008 started to take hold. The unpopularity of Republican President George Bush was also a factor.