At a Glance
- Career History:
state Senator (1984 to 1992); Attorney (1979 to 1985)
- Birthday: March 2, 1953
- Hometown: Janesville, Wis.
- Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A., 1975; Harvard Law School; J.D., 1979
- Spouse: Divorced
- Religion: Jewish
- State Offices:
Path to Power
Feingold was born to Leon and Sylvia Feingold on March 2, 1953, in Janesville, Wis., where the Jewish family had lived for generations.
He was always an exceptional student. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned his B.A. with honors in 1975, Feingold was Phi Beta Kappa. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his law degree, again with honors, at Harvard Law School in 1979.
Feingold voted with the majority of Democrats 79.9 percent of the time in the just concluded 111th Congress.
He is considered an independent voter who is liberal on cultural issues and foreign policy, but more moderate when it comes to the economy.
Feingold told reporters that both Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) would make good presidents, but didn't endorse the Illinois Democrat until Obama clinched the Democratic nomination. Feingold did admit in February 2008, however, that he had voted for Obama in Wisconsin's Democratic primary. He said he would support either Democrat over his campaign finance reform ally McCain, a "good man" who "would not lead the country in the right direction."
Feingold's bipartisan partnership with Sen. John McCain is well-established. The two worked together on several incarnations of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which came to be known as the McCain-Feingold bill, between 1995 and when it passed in 2002. He also relied on his campaign finance reform co-sponsors in the House: Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), who lost his 2008 reelection bid, and Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.), who retired from politics in 2007. Meehan is currently the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts - Lowell.