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Bobby Lee Rush (born November 23, 1946, Albany, Georgiamarker) is an American politician from Illinoismarker. A Democrat, he has served in the United States House of Representatives as the member from Illinois' 1st congressional district since 1993. Rush's district is located principally on the South Sidemarker of Chicagomarker. It is a minority-majority district and has a higher percentage of African Americans (65%) than any other congressional district in the nation. Rush has the distinction of being the only person to date to defeat President Barack Obama in an election for public office. Rush is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Political career

Rush served on the Chicago City Council in the 1980s, representing the 2nd Ward. He was one of the pro-Harold Washington faction on the Council during the "Council Wars" that began in 1983 following Washington's election as Mayor of Chicago in a racially-polarized contest.

Rush ran for mayor of Chicago in 1999 but was defeated by the incumbent Richard M. Daley.

In the 2000 Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives (IL-01), Rush defeated a challenge from then-state senator Barack Obama. During the primary, Rush said: "Barack Obama went to Harvardmarker and became an educated fool. Barack is a person who read about the civil-rights protests and thinks he knows all about it."

On July 15, 2004, Rush became the second sitting member of Congress (following Charles Rangel and preceding Joe Hoeffel) to be arrested for trespassing while protesting the genocide in Darfur and other violations of human rights in Sudan in front of the Sudanese Embassy.

Though a very close friend to Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rush announced early on that he would support Barack Obama in the 2008 primaries, and later his presidential campaign.

Rush proposed that an African-American should be appointed to fill Obama's vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. During a press conference, Rush said, "With the resignation of President-elect Obama, we now have no African American in the United States Senate, and we believe it will be a national disgrace to not have this seat filled by one of the many capable African American Illinois politicians." Rush said he did not support any one individual in particular for Senate, and was not interested in being appointed himself. On December 30, 2008, Governor Rod Blagojevich announced his appointment of Roland Burris, an African-American former Attorney General of Illinois. Rush was present at the press conference and spoke in support of Burris. Rush has since commented further on Senate Democrats not seating Burris, telling them not to "hang or lynch" Burris.

Legislative record

Legislative speeches

  • On February 13, 2007, Rep. Rush rose to express his opposition of President George W. Bush's proposed 20,000 serviceman troop surge in Iraq. In the text of his speech, he asserted that the presence of the troops in Iraq is the greatest catalyst of violence in Iraq, and advocated a political resolution the Iraq situation. Towards the close of his speech, Rep. Rush stated that the troop surge would only serve to make the Iraqi situation move volatile.
  • On November 5, 2007, Bobby Rush rose in the House to proclaim his support for National Bible Week. In the text of the speech, he claims that he had not always been an ardent reader of the Bible, but after having been elected to the House, he received a copy in 1993. He continues that while in Chicago with his wife, he was somehow drawn to read the Bible and is now a ferocious reader. During the speech, he quoted Micah 6:6-8 and Luke 4:18. At the close of the speech, he called on Christians and non-Christians alike to read the Bible.

Congressional committee assignments


In 2008, Bobby Rush had a rare type of malignant tumor removed from his salivary gland.

The nation's first mass sickle cell anemia testing program was created by a clinic run by Rush.

Rush is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.

See also


  1. U.S. House of Representatives Election Results 2000
  2. Congressional background
  3. On Iraq War
  4. Speech regarding Bible
  5. Cancer scare
  6. Times report on Rush's sickle-cell anemia program
  7. Iota Phi Theta website

External links

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