He spent four years in Jakarta as a child where he learned to speak Indonesian and was introduced to dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshopper. He later taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago from 1992 until 2004.
He served three terms in the 13th District of the Illinois Senate from 1997 until 2004. He ran for the United States House of Representatives in 2000, but was defeated. He represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 2005 to 2008.
His mother was born in Kansas and his father was born in Kenya. They married in Hawaii in 1961 and separated later that year. He married Michelle Obama in October 1992 and they had two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
He defeated Republican candidate John McCain to win the presidency in 2008.