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Page last updated at 15:54 GMT, Friday, 12 October 2007 16:54 UK

Is America Ready For A Black President?

Barack Obama is an African American with a serious chance of winning the presidency. He is a political sensation - more rock star than grey suit politician.

Barack Obama
Panorama: Is America Ready For A Black President? Monday 15 October 2007 at 2030 BST on BBC One
Obama is promising to unite America and says that race should not matter.

Panorama investigates whether he can rise above America's racial divisions and appeal to enough white and black voters to win.

Reporter Hilary Andersson finds strong support for Obama among white people in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago.

The political psychologist Drew Westen tells Panorama Obama is "every white person's fantasy of what they'd like a black man to be.

BARACK OBAMA
Born 4 Aug 1961 in Hawaii
Studied law at Harvard
Worked as a civil rights lawyer in Chicago
Elected to the US Senate in 2004

"He's thoughtful, he's articulate, he's handsome, he doesn't fit any of the stereotypes of the dangerous dark skinned black male that people see every day on television," he says.

But some black leaders are far less comfortable.

Al Sharpton tells Panorama that Obama cannot expect African Americans to support him because he is taking a cautious stance on America's race issues in an attempt to appeal to white voters.

Obama is trailing Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination for Presidential candidate.

In the key electoral battleground of South Carolina, one black woman, who supports Hillary Clinton, tells Panorama that America is too racist to elect a black man: "This country always been run by the white man. Ain't never been run by the black man."

Panorama: Is America Ready For A Black President? Monday 15 October 2007 at 2030 BST on BBC One

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Panorama: Is America ready for a Black President?




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