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Obama Learned Lessons on the Path to the National Stage

Sen. Barack Obama took the stage Thursday to accept the Democratic Party's nomination at the DNC, but to reach the national spotlight he had to overcome challenges along his political path. The NewsHour's Elizabeth Brackett reports on the years leading up to Obama's rise.

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  • ELIZABETH BRACKETT, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Although Sen. Barack Obama was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, it was his adopted hometown of Chicago that really shaped who he became politically.

    Obama moved there in the mid-1980s after graduating from Columbia University and went to work as a community organizer on the South Side in some of the poorest areas of the city.

    Politically, it was an exciting time for African-Americans. Harold Washington had just been elected the city's first black mayor, defeating Richard M. Daley, the son of long-time Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley.

    Jacky Grimshaw, now Barack Obama's next-door neighbor, was a top adviser to Mayor Washington.

  • JACKY GRIMSHAW, Barack Obama Next-Door Neighbor:

    One of the things that Harold started was going out to the community with the budget, listening to what people wanted in their communities, and then responding.

    I think, you know, Barack coming in fresh out of school, seeing this kind of leadership, I think, helped to shape him in terms of people being empowered.