Obamas advocacy work led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran as a Democrat, and won election in 1996. During these years, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics, and expand health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor. He also created a state earned income tax credit for the working poor. Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senates Health and Human Services Committee as well, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, he worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.In 2000, Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by four term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. Undeterred, he created a campaign committee in 2002, and began raising funds to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004. With the help of political consultant David Axelrod, Obama began assessing his prospects of a Senate win.
Following the 9 11 attacks in 2001, Obama was an early opponent of President George W. Bushs push to go to war with Iraq. Obama was still a state senator when he spoke against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq during a rally at Chicagos Federal Plaza in October 2002. I am not opposed to all wars. Im opposed to dumb wars, he said. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. Despite his protests, the Iraq War began in 2003.