Since you used to live in Illinois, I wonder when you first heard of Obama, since when you paid attention to him, and what your impressions of him were until the 2004 election.

Greetings, 
Raphael 
I wish I had an exciting answer to this, such as hanging around the ‘jects with my homie, talking about conquering conlangs and Congress.  But I don’t think I heard about him much before his 2004 Senate election.  I’ve always been interested in him; it’s rare that we have a politician that’s both intelligent and charismatic.  Of course we love our Obama in Illinois… he won his Senate seat with 70% of the vote, and won the Democratic primary this year with 65%.
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