Barack Obama Barack Obama
President Barack Obama, who won the Democratic primary, was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, to a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas.
After working his way through college, with the help of scholarships and student loans, Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked as an organizer to help rebuild communities affected by the closure of local steel plants.
He attended Harvard Law School, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation, he took a job teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. He led a local community drive that registered more than 150,000 voters in Illinois, leading up to the 1992 election.
Obama was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996. During his time in Springfield, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families and expanded health care for children and their parents. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.
According to a press release posted on Obama’s website, the president’s focus has been on “putting Americans back to work and restoring economic security to middle-class families..”
Mitt RomneyMitt Romney
Mitt Romney was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947 to Lenore and George Romney. Romney won the Republican primary race for the presidential ticket. His father was the governor of Michigan from 1963 – 1969.
Romney married his wife Ann in 1969. The two met in elementary school. Between them, they have five sons and 18 grandchildren.
After graduating from Brigham Young University in 1971, Romney earned dual degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard Business School. He founded the investment firm Bain Capital, in 1984. Bain Capital launched or rebuilt more than 100 companies, including Staples, Bright Horizons and The Sports Authority.
Romney eventually returned as CEO to his old consulting firm, Bain & Company.
Romney was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002. He said that he established the restructuring and consolidating of government programs.
Romney cast more than 800 vetoes to bring “conservative principles to state government. He cut red tape for small businesses, signed into law job-creating incentives and fought hard to bring new businesses to the state. He eliminated a $3 billion deficit without borrowing or raising taxes. By 2007, at the end of Mitt’s term, the state had accumulated a $2 billion rainy day fund in its coffers. This stringent fiscal discipline provided an essential backdrop for economic recovery.”
While Romney was in office, the Massachusettes unemployment rate fell from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent and the state added thousands of new jobs.
In 1999, Romney was asked to spearhead the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Romney reorganized the Olympic’s leadership, reduced the budget and oversaw the security mobilization.
Joe BidenJoseph Biden
Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. was born Nov. 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pa. The oldest of four siblings, Biden graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School. He served on the New Castle County Council, before becoming one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate, at the age of 29.
Biden served in the Senate for 36 years. As chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, he worked on U.S. foreign policy on counterterrorism and worked toward curbing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, Biden worked to strengthen America’s relationship with Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
Biden has worked with the Obama administration’s foreign and domestic policy initiatives, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, support for the middle class, college affordability and the revitalization of America’s manufacturing base.
In 2010, Biden worked to secure approval of the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia. He traveled to Iraq eight times since 2009, most recently in December, to mark the end of U.S. combat operations.
Biden has advanced U.S. support for Israel’s security; ensured European support for the Obama administration’s approach to missile defense; worked with Latin American leaders to combat drug trafficking and international crime; built relationships with African leaders and reestablished leadership in the Asia-Pacific region.
He has also advocated for America’s manufacturing and automobile industries; retirement security for America’s seniors and fair income taxes.
Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, teaches English at a Virginia community college. The Bidens have three children and five grandchildren.
Paul RyanPaul Ryan
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan is in his seventh term in Congress, representing Wisconsin’s First Congressional District. He is chairman of the House budget committee, where he has worked toward limiting federal spending and increasing accountability to taxpayers. He also serves on the House ways and means committee, where he has “focused on simplifying the tax code and making health care more affordable and accessible.”
In 2008, Ryan unveiled his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a proposal to eliminate the federal deficit, reform the tax code and preserve entitlements for future generations.
Ryan was born in Janesville, Wis. on Jan. 29, 1970. A fifth-generation Wisconsin native, he was the youngest of four children born to Paul Ryan Sr., who worked as an attorney, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom.
In 2000, Ryan married Janna Little, a native Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City. The Ryans live in Janesville, Wis. with their three children, Liza, Charlie and Sam.
When he entered Congress in January 1999, Ryan was the youngest member, at age 28. Before he ran for Congress, Ryan served as an aide to Republican senators Robert Kasten Jr. and Sam Brownback, former U.S. Rep. and vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp and as a speechwriter for Education Secretary William Bennett.
Ryan is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned degrees in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio. He is an outdoorsman and is a member of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen.