chapter  7
18 Pages

Leadership, Legitimacy, and Public Perceptions of Barack Obama

WithObama CHARLTON MCILWAIN

Leadership is an individual character trait or skill associated with social movements in general. More specifi cally, however, the term is inextricably linked to American presidential politics, particularly American public opinion about presidential candidates and offi ce holders. In fact, many argue that it is one, if not the, most important criteria Americans use to assess presidential fi tness. In August 2004, Barack Obama’s political trajectory transitioned in the direction of his presidential aspirations. His speech on July 27, 2004 at the Democratic National Convention not only galvanized crowds of immediate and mediated spectators, but set the stage for and sparked discussion about the possibility for his run at the nation’s highest offi ce.