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Could this man be the next President of the United States?

May 26th, 2005

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Barack Obama – 3rd favourite for the Democratic nomination

Over the past few months there has been growing speculation that Barack Obama, a Senator from Illinois, might be the Democrat contender for the White House. He came to prominence with a major speech at the party Convention in Boston last July and in recent weeks has become third favourite in the betting behind Hilary Clinton and John Edwards. The best price you can get is 8/1.

But a better long-shot bet might be the 50/1 that’s available on him going all the way and becoming George Bush’s successor at the White House. We normally do not like these long-distance bets where the only purpose seems to aid the cash-flow of the bookie. In this case we think it might be worth a small punt.

In a profile in the Independent David Usborne had a good description of the rising expectations that Obama might be the man.

….Obama, a lanky man with distractingly long fingers and a narrow face that looks younger than his 43 years, is suddenly one of the brightest and most promising stars in the American political firmament. It really started at the Democrat’s national convention in Boston last summer. The speech he delivered in praise of the party’s presidential candidate, John Kerry, galvanised delegates and captivated reporters. “Political poetry”, gushed one CNN commentator. One line rang in the hall the longest. It was the one about the hope “of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too”. Himself, in other words.If he had any doubt that such a place existed, it was surely eased a few months later. Kerry did not win the White House, but Obama’s victory in Illinois was spectacular. After eight years of relative obscurity toiling in the state legislature, he defeated his Republican opponent in the Senate race by a landslide. With 70 per cent of the votes, he found himself singled out as just about the only good thing that happened to the Democrats in 2004..

Looking at the other possible candidates for the Democrat nomination Hilary Clinton is always going to be a divisive character and clearly is the one to beat. John Edwards is in second place in the betting but his position might have been hurt by being on the losing ticket with John Kerry last November. In this context Barack might stand a chance – just. Worth a tenner surely?

Mike Smithson






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