The only African-American woman ever to be elected to the Senate, Carol Moseley Braun was, before her withdrawal, the only female standing in the 2004 US presidential race.
Moseley Braun campaigned on a liberal platform
Her bid for the Democratic nomination became as much about her past as her future.
During her one term in office representing Illinois, she and her then-fiancee Kgosie Matthews were accused of misusing campaign funds.
The Federal Elections Commission found little over $300 was unaccounted for, but the scandal has dogged her ever since.
"I don't care what my enemies think of me," she has said. "But I want my friends to know that my public life has absolutely been beyond reproach."
Born 16 August, 1947
First female African American senator (1992-98)
Ambassador to New Zealand
Anti-war and pro-welfare reform
A former US ambassador to New Zealand, Ms Moseley Braun opposed the war in Iraq but says she would have voted in favour of the $87bn package for rebuilding the country and Afghanistan.
It is "critical that we don't cut and run", she says.
Before pulling out of the presidential race, she ran on a platform which included the repeal of George W Bush's tax cuts, spending the money instead on healthcare; she also backed gay marriage.
She urged the scrapping of the controversial anti-terrorism legislation - the Patriot Act - which she said curbed civil liberties and invaded privacy.
A Illinois kingmaker told her in 1978 not to run for the state legislature: "The blacks won't vote for you because you're not part of the machine. The whites won't vote for you because you're black. And nobody will vote for you because you're a woman," he said.
But she won.
But in this campaign, she lacked resources and staff - she even drove herself to meetings in a hired car.
A daughter of a police officer and a medical technician, Ms Moseley Braun grew up in Chicago's mostly black, poor South Side.
But that did not prevent her from going on to obtain arts and law degrees from the University of Chicago.
She worked as a lawyer concentrating on housing, health policy, and environmental law issues.
In 1977 she left to start a family; her son, Matthew, is a computer engineer.
Pushed into action
On returning from New Zealand, Ms Moseley Braun - who is divorced - planned to go back to Alabama to rehabilitate a farm her great-grandfather bought.
But after the 11 September attacks - and the war and the Patriot Act which followed - politics once again beckoned.
The Bush administration had exploited fears in the US since the attacks to "drive an extreme agenda", she maintained.
"These people have such a cynical agenda. They're using 9/11 to take away our civil liberties."
She also said she wanted to return a sense of pride and common purpose to Americans.