Barack Obama Was Just a New Senator
He's currently the leader of the free world, but when President Obama first set foot on Oprah's stage, he was just a rising political star.
It was January 2005, and the then Senator had stolen the spotlight a few months earlier at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He had given the keynote speech in support of candidate Senator John Kerry, and his words touched Americans all over the country. The Illinois Senator spoke about "the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him too." GQ magazine named him one of their Men of the Year, and Newsweek declared this rising star the one to watch in 2005.
At the time of his first Oprah Show appearance, Obama was the only African-American in the Senate. He told Oprah, "My greatest hope is to be able to pass the same dreams and hope and vision that I've been able to enjoy in my life on to the next generation. Not just for my children—because with a mother like [Michelle], my kids are going to be great—but for all children. There are too many children in this country for whom the American dream is so distant and the odds against them are so daunting."
A year later, Senator Obama returned to The Oprah Show upon the release of his second book, The Audacity of Hope. Obama hadn't yet announced his intentions to run for president, but the presidential buzz had started. "I know I don't just speak for myself," Oprah said. "There are a lot of people who would want you to run for the presidency of the United States."
No matter what his intentions were at the time, a presidential bid must have been on wife Michelle's mind. "In my view...I want the next president to be someone who understands what it means to be a father and a husband and is contributing. Because I don't think he can represent those values for us as a nation if he can't do it in his own house," Michelle said. "Whoever [the president] may be."