ON A freezing morning on February 10th 2007, Barack Obama declared his intention to run for the presidency on the steps of the old state capitol in Illinois, the very place where Abraham Lincoln gave his “A House Divided " speech against slavery 150 years earlier. His bid for the White House was a long shot: the young senator from Illinois was relatively young, unknown and inexperienced. America had never elected a black president. In Hillary Clinton, an experienced, well-known insider, Mr Obama was facing a formidable opponent.
Nine years later, on an equally icy morning on February 10th, Mr Obama came back to Springfield, the second term of his presidency now coming to an end. He returned to his old stomping ground, according to the White House, to reflect on “what we can do, together, to build a better politics — one that reflects our better selves”. In 2007 Mr Obama proclaimed loftily that “this campaign must be […] the vehicle, of your hopes, and your dreams […] This campaign has to be about reclaiming the meaning of citizenship, restoring our sense of common purpose, and realising that few obstacles can withstand...Continue reading