Obama: How He Learned to Win

Trounced in his first big race, Barack Obama retooled and won a Senate seat. How the ward politics in Chicago gave Obama an education that has earned him a shot at the presidency

Frank Polich / AP

In 2000, Obama tried to get elected to Congress but failed to win the seat..

Barack Obama had not been in politics for long when he got his tail whipped by a veteran Chicago Congressman in his own backyard. For a brief period that followed, Obama seemed a bit unsure about what to do with his life--the same kind of unsettling early stumble made by others who went on to seek--and often win--the presidency. Yet within four years, Obama had won a seat in the U.S. Senate. Less than four years after that, he has all but clinched the Democratic nomination for President.

How did the man who is virtually certain to face John McCain in...

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