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What You Might Not Know About Obama

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Friday, December 14, 2007


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1. In 2001 when he was an Illinois state senator, Obama declined to take a position on two pieces of legislation that would have required parental notification for minors who have an abortion, voting "present" instead of "yes" or "no." But five years earlier, he had filled out an issues questionnaire for the influential Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct Organization opposing such notifications. "Do you support parent consent/notification for minors seeking abortion?" the survey asked. "No," he wrote. Obama also answered that he supported Medicaid funding and state worker insurance coverage for abortion and that he didn't support "any other" restrictions on the procedure.

2. As a state legislator, Obama, an avid poker player, was a regular in low-stakes games of draw or stud poker that brought Republicans and Democrats together during long legislative sessions in Springfield, the Illinois capital. After he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, his legislative colleagues took him to the poker table and reportedly cleaned out his wallet in one last bare-knuckles round. "We brought him down to earth real quick," state Sen. Terry Link recently told the Associated Press.

3. Much has been made about Obama's ability to energize his supporters via the Internet and to raise large amounts of money through small donations on his Web site. Less known is the fact that Obama wants to create a powerful executive branch position that would harness the Internet for government. In a recent speech to Google executives, he proposed the new position of federal chief technology officer, whose wide-ranging job would include overseeing the security of government networks and expanding the amount of data, information and products available to average citizens via the Web.

-- John Solomon

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