Barack Obama

Barack Hussein Obama II (/bəˈrɑːk hˈsn ˈbɑːmə/ (listen) bə-RAHK hoo-SAYN oh-BAH-mə; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American president of the United States. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008 and an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004.

Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. After graduating from Columbia University in 1983, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago. In 1988, he enrolled in Harvard Law School, where he was the first black person to be president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, he became a civil rights attorney and an academic, teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Turning to elective politics, he represented the 13th district from 1997 until 2004 in the Illinois Senate, when he ran for the U.S. Senate. Obama received national attention in 2004 with his March Senate primary win, his well-received July Democratic National Convention keynote address, and his landslide November election to the Senate. In 2008, he was nominated for president a year after his presidential campaign began, and after close primary campaigns against Hillary Clinton, Obama was elected over Republican John McCain and was inaugurated alongside Joe Biden on January 20, 2009. Nine months later, he was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Obama signed many landmark bills into law during his first two years in office. The main reforms that were passed include the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as ACA or “Obamacare”), although without a public health insurance option, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 served as economic stimulus amidst the Great Recession. After a lengthy debate over the national debt limit, he signed the Budget Control and the American Taxpayer Relief Acts. In foreign policy, he increased U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, reduced nuclear weapons with the United States–Russia New START treaty, and ended military involvement in the Iraq War. He ordered military involvement in Libya for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1973, contributing to the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. He also ordered the military operations that resulted in the deaths of Osama bin Laden and suspected Yemeni Al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki.

After winning re-election by defeating Republican opponent Mitt Romney, Obama was sworn in for a second term in 2013. During this term, he promoted inclusion for LGBT Americans. His administration filed briefs that urged the Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional (United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges); same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015 after the Court ruled so in Obergefell. He advocated for gun control in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, indicating support for a ban on assault weapons, and issued wide-ranging executive actions concerning global warming and immigration. In foreign policy, he ordered military intervention in Iraq in response to gains made by ISIL after the 2011 withdrawal from Iraq, continued the process of ending U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan in 2016, promoted discussions that led to the 2015 Paris Agreement on global climate change, initiated sanctions against Russia following the invasion in Ukraine and again after Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, brokered the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran, and normalized U.S. relations with Cuba. Obama nominated three justices to the Supreme Court: Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were confirmed as justices, while Merrick Garland faced partisan obstruction from the Republican-led Senate, which never held hearings or a vote on the nomination.

During Obama’s term in office, the United States’ reputation abroad significantly improved. His presidency has generally been regarded favorably, and evaluations of his presidency among historians, political scientists, and the general public place him among the upper tier of American presidents. Obama left office in January 2017 and continues to reside in Washington, D.C.

Early life and career

Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the only president born outside the contiguous 48 states. He was born to an American mother of European descent and an African father. His mother, Ann Dunham (1942–1995), was born in Wichita, Kansas; she was mostly of English descent, with some German, Irish, Scottish, Swiss, and Welsh ancestry. (In July 2012, Ancestry.com found a strong likelihood that Dunham was descended from John Punch, an enslaved African man who lived in the Colony of Virginia during the seventeenth century.) His father, Barack Obama Sr. (1936–1982), was a marriedLuo Kenyan from Nyang’oma Kogelo. Obama’s parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was a foreign student on a scholarship. The couple married in Wailuku, Hawaii, on February 2, 1961, six months before Obama was born.

In late August 1961, a few weeks after he was born, Barack and his mother moved to the University of Washington in Seattle, where they lived for a year. During that time, the elder Obama completed his undergraduate degree in economics in Hawaii, graduating in June 1962. He left to attend graduate school on a scholarship at Harvard University, where he earned an M.A. in economics. Obama’s parents divorced in March 1964. Obama Sr. returned to Kenya in 1964, where he married for a third time and worked for the Kenyan government as the Senior Economic Analyst in the Ministry of Finance. He visited his son in Hawaii only once, at Christmas 1971, before he was killed in an automobile accident in 1982, when Obama was 21 years old. Recalling his early childhood, Obama said, “That my father looked nothing like the people around me—that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk—barely registered in my mind.” He described his struggles as a young adult to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage.

In 1963, Dunham met Lolo Soetoro at the University of Hawaii; he was an Indonesian East–West Center graduate student in geography. The couple married on Molokai on March 15, 1965. After two one-year extensions of his J-1 visa, Lolo returned to Indonesia in 1966. His wife and stepson followed sixteen months later in 1967. The family initially lived in the Menteng Dalam neighborhood in the Tebet sub district of south Jakarta. From 1970, they lived in a wealthier neighborhood in the Menteng sub district of central Jakarta.

Education

Obama started in St. Francis Pre-Education from age three to five. From age six to ten, he then attended local Indonesian-language schools: Sekolah Dasar Katolik Santo Fransiskus Asisi (St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School) for two years and Sekolah Dasar Negeri Menteng 01 (State Elementary School Menteng 01/Besuki school) for one and a half years, supplemented by English-language Calvert School homeschooling by his mother. As a result of those four years in Jakarta, he was able to speak Indonesian fluently as a child. During his time in Indonesia, Obama’s step-father taught him to be resilient and gave him “a pretty hardheaded assessment of how the world works.”

In 1971, Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham. He attended Punahou School—a private college preparatory school—with the aid of a scholarship from fifth grade until he graduated from high school in 1979. In his youth, Obama went by the nickname “Barry”. Obama lived with his mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro, in Hawaii for three years from 1972 to 1975 while his mother was a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Hawaii. Obama chose to stay in Hawaii with his grandparents for high school at Punahou when his mother and half-sister returned to Indonesia in 1975 so his mother could begin anthropology field work. His mother spent most of the next two decades in Indonesia, divorcing Lolo in 1980 and earning a PhD degree in 1992, before dying in 1995 in Hawaii following unsuccessful treatment for ovarian and uterine cancer.

Obama later reflected on his years in Honolulu and wrote: “The opportunity that Hawaii offered—to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect—became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.” Obama has also written and talked about using alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine during his teenage years to “push questions of who I was out of my mind.” Obama was also a member of the “choom gang,” a self-named group of friends who spent time together and occasionally smoked marijuana.

After graduating from high school in 1979, Obama moved to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College on a full scholarship. In February 1981, Obama made his first public speech, calling for Occidental to participate in the disinvestment from South Africa in response to that nation’s policy of apartheid. In mid-1981, Obama traveled to Indonesia to visit his mother and half-sister Maya, and visited the families of college friends in Pakistan and India for three weeks. Later in 1981, he transferred to Columbia University in New York City as a junior, where he majored in political science with a specialty in international relations and in English literature and lived off-campus on West 109th Street. He graduated with a BA degree in 1983 and worked for about a year at the Business International Corporation, where he was a financial researcher and writer, then as a project coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group on the City College of New York campus for three months in 1985.

Family and personal life

In a 2006 interview, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family: “It’s like a little mini-United Nations,” he said. “I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I’ve got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher.” Obama has a half-sister with whom he was raised (Maya Soetoro-Ng) and seven other half-siblings from his Kenyan father’s family—six of them living. Obama’s mother was survived by her Kansas-born mother, Madelyn Dunham, until her death on November 2, 2008, two days before his election to the Presidency. Obama also has roots in Ireland; he met with his Irish cousins in Moneygall in May 2011. In Dreams from My Father, Obama ties his mother’s family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. He also shares distant ancestors in common with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, among others.

Obama lived with anthropologist Sheila Miyoshi Jager while he was a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s. He proposed to her twice, but both Jager and her parents turned him down. The relationship was not made public until May 2017, several months after his presidency had ended.

Obama poses in the Green Room of the White House with wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, 2009

In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. Robinson was assigned for three months as Obama’s adviser at the firm, and she joined him at several group social functions but declined his initial requests to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992. After suffering a miscarriage, Michelle underwent in vitro fertilization to conceive their children. The couple’s first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha (“Sasha”), in 2001. The Obama daughters attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. When they moved to Washington, D.C., in January 2009, the girls started at the Sidwell Friends School. The Obamas have two Portuguese Water Dogs; the first, a male named Bo, was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. In 2013, Bo was joined by Sunny, a female.

Obama takes a left-handed jump shot during a pickup game on the White House basketball court, 2009

Obama is a supporter of the Chicago White Sox, and he threw out the first pitch at the 2005 ALCS when he was still a senator. In 2009, he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the All-Star Game while wearing a White Sox jacket. He is also primarily a Chicago Bears football fan in the NFL, but in his childhood and adolescence was a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and rooted for them ahead of their victory in Super Bowl XLIII 12 days after he took office as president. In 2011, Obama invited the 1985 Chicago Bears to the White House; the team had not visited the White House after their Super Bowl win in 1986 due to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school’s varsity team, and he is left-handed.

In 2005, the Obama family applied the proceeds of a book deal and moved from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to a $1.6 million house (equivalent to $2.1 million in 2019) in neighboring Kenwood, Chicago. The purchase of an adjacent lot—and sale of part of it to Obama by the wife of developer, campaign donor and friend Tony Rezko—attracted media attention because of Rezko’s subsequent indictment and conviction on political corruption charges that were unrelated to Obama.

In December 2007, Money Magazine estimated Obama’s net worth at $1.3 million (equivalent to $1.6 million in 2019) . Their 2009 tax return showed a household income of $5.5 million—up from about $4.2 million in 2007 and $1.6 million in 2005—mostly from sales of his books. On his 2010 income of $1.7 million, he gave 14% to non-profit organizations, including $131,000 to Fisher House Foundation, a charity assisting wounded veterans’ families, allowing them to reside near where the veteran is receiving medical treatments. Per his 2012 financial disclosure, Obama may be worth as much as $10 million.

In early 2010, Michelle spoke about her husband’s smoking habit and said Barack had quit smoking.

On his 55th birthday, August 4, 2016, Obama penned an essay in Glamour, in which he described how his daughters and the presidency have made him a feminist.

Religious views

Obama is a Protestant Christian whose religious views developed in his adult life. He wrote in The Audacity of Hope that he “was not raised in a religious household.” He described his mother, raised by non-religious parents, as being detached from religion, yet “in many ways the most spiritually awakened person … I have ever known,” and “a lonely witness for secular humanism”. He described his father as a “confirmed atheist” by the time his parents met, and his stepfather as “a man who saw religion as not particularly useful.” Obama explained how, through working with black churches as a community organizer while in his twenties, he came to understand “the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change.”

The Obamas worship at African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., January 2013

In January 2008, Obama told Christianity Today: “I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.” On September 27, 2010, Obama released a statement commenting on his religious views, saying:

I’m a Christian by choice. My family didn’t—frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church. So I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead—being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.

Obama met Trinity United Church of Christ pastor Jeremiah Wright in October 1987 and became a member of Trinity in 1992. During Obama’s first presidential campaign in May 2008, he resigned from Trinity after some of Wright’s statements were criticized. Since moving to Washington, D.C., in 2009, the Obama family has attended several Protestant churches, including Shiloh Baptist Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church, as well as Evergreen Chapel at Camp David, but the members of the family do not attend church on a regular basis.

Law career

Community organizer and Harvard Law School

Two years after graduating from Columbia, Obama moved from New York to Chicago when he was hired as director of the Developing Communities Project, a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale on Chicago’s South Side. He worked there as a community organizer from June 1985 to May 1988. He helped set up a job training program, a college preparatory tutoring program, and a tenants’ rights organization in Altgeld Gardens. Obama also worked as a consultant and instructor for the Gamaliel Foundation, a community organizing institute. In mid-1988, he traveled for the first time in Europe for three weeks and then for five weeks in Kenya, where he met many of his paternal relatives for the first time.

Despite being offered a full scholarship to Northwestern University School of Law, Obama enrolled at Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988, living in nearby Somerville, Massachusetts. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year, president of the journal in his second year, and research assistant to the constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe while at Harvard for two years. During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as a summer associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990. After graduating with a JD degree magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, he returned to Chicago. Obama’s election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review gained national media attention and led to a publishing contract and advance for a book about race relations, which evolved into a personal memoir. The manuscript was published in mid-1995 as Dreams from My Father.

University of Chicago Law School and civil rights attorney

In 1991, Obama accepted a two-year position as Visiting Law and Government Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School to work on his first book. He then taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years, first as a lecturer from 1992 to 1996, and then as a senior lecturer from 1996 to 2004.

From April to October 1992, Obama directed Illinois’s Project Vote, a voter registration campaign with ten staffers and seven hundred volunteer registrars; it achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans in the state, leading Crain’s Chicago Business to name Obama to its 1993 list of “40 under Forty” powers to be.

He joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a 13-attorney law firm specializing in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004. In 1994, he was listed as one of the lawyers in Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank Fed. Sav. Bank, 94 C 4094 (N.D. Ill.). This class action lawsuit was filed in 1994 with Selma Buycks-Roberson as lead plaintiff and alleged that Citibank Federal Savings Bank had engaged in practices forbidden under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act. The case was settled out of court. Final judgment was issued on May 13, 1998, with Citibank Federal Savings Bank agreeing to pay attorney fees. His law license became inactive in 2007.

From 1994 to 2002, Obama served on the boards of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago—which in 1985 had been the first foundation to fund the Developing Communities Project—and of the Joyce Foundation. He served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 to 2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995 to 1999.

Legislative career

Illinois State Senator (1997–2004)

State Senator Obama and others celebrate the naming of a street in Chicago after ShoreBank co-founder Milton Davis in 1998.

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding Democratic State Senator Alice Palmer from Illinois’s 13th District, which, at that time, spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park–Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn. Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation that reformed ethics and health care laws. He sponsored a law that increased tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare. In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan’s payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures.

He was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, defeating Republican Yesse Yehudah in the general election, and was re-elected again in 2002. In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary race for Illinois’s 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one.

In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority. He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained, and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations. During his 2004 general election campaign for the U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate.

2004 U.S. Senate campaign

Results of the 2004 U.S. Senate race in Illinois; Obama won the counties in blue.

In May 2002, Obama commissioned a poll to assess his prospects in a 2004 U.S. Senate race. He created a campaign committee, began raising funds, and lined up political media consultant David Axelrod by August 2002. Obama formally announced his candidacy in January 2003.

Obama was an early opponent of the George W. Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. On October 2, 2002, the day President Bush and Congress agreed on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War, Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago anti-Iraq War rally, and spoke out against the war. He addressed another anti-war rally in March 2003 and told the crowd “it’s not too late” to stop the war.

Decisions by Republican incumbent Peter Fitzgerald and his Democratic predecessor Carol Moseley Braun to not participate in the election resulted in wide-open Democratic and Republican primary contests involving 15 candidates. In the March 2004 primary election, Obama won in an unexpected landslide—which overnight made him a rising star within the national Democratic Party, started speculation about a presidential future, and led to the reissue of his memoir, Dreams from My Father. In July 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, seen by nine million viewers. His speech was well received and elevated his status within the Democratic Party.

Obama’s expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004. Six weeks later, Alan Keyes accepted the Republican nomination to replace Ryan. In the November 2004 general election, Obama won with 70% of the vote.

U.S. Senator from Illinois (2005–08)

Official portrait of Obama as a member of the United States Senate

Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 3, 2005, becoming the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus.CQ Weekly characterized him as a “loyal Democrat” based on analysis of all Senate votes from 2005 to 2007. Obama announced on November 13, 2008, that he would resign his Senate seat on November 16, 2008, before the start of the lame-duck session, to focus on his transition period for the presidency.

Legislation

Obama cosponsored the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. He introduced two initiatives that bore his name: Lugar–Obama, which expanded the Nunn–Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction concept to conventional weapons; and the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which authorized the establishment of USAspending.gov, a web search engine on federal spending. On June 3, 2008, Senator Obama—along with Senators Tom Carper, Tom Coburn, and John McCain—introduced follow-up legislation: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008.

Obama sponsored legislation that would have required nuclear plant owners to notify state and local authorities of radioactive leaks, but the bill failed to pass in the full Senate after being heavily modified in committee. Regarding tort reform, Obama voted for the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which grants immunity from civil liability to telecommunications companies complicit with NSA warrantless wiretapping operations.

Obama and U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) visit a Russian facility for dismantling mobile missiles (August 2005)

In December 2006, President Bush signed into law the Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, marking the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor. In January 2007, Obama and Senator Feingold introduced a corporate jet provision to the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which was signed into law in September 2007. Obama also introduced two unsuccessful bills: the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, and the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007.

Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act to add safeguards for personality-disorder military discharges. This amendment passed the full Senate in the spring of 2008. He sponsored the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran’s oil and gas industry, which was never enacted but later incorporated in the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010; and co-sponsored legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism. Obama also sponsored a Senate amendment to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing one year of job protection for family members caring for soldiers with combat-related injuries.

Committees

Obama speaks with a soldier stationed in Iraq, 2006.

Obama held assignments on the Senate Committees for Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works and Veterans’ Affairs through December 2006. In January 2007, he left the Environment and Public Works committee and took additional assignments with Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He also became Chairman of the Senate’s subcommittee on European Affairs. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He met with Mahmoud Abbas before Abbas became President of the Palestinian National Authority, and gave a speech at the University of Nairobi in which he condemned corruption within the Kenyan government.

Presidential campaigns

2008

Obama on stage with his wife and daughters just before announcing his presidential candidacy in Springfield, Illinois, February 10, 2007

On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. The choice of the announcement site was viewed as symbolic because it was also where Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic “House Divided” speech in 1858. Obama emphasized issues of rapidly ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence, and reforming the health care system, in a campaign that projected themes of hope and change.

Numerous candidates entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries. The field narrowed to a duel between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton after early contests, with the race remaining close throughout the primary process but with Obama gaining a steady lead in pledged delegates due to better long-range planning, superior fundraising, dominant organizing in caucus states, and better exploitation of delegate allocation rules. On June 7, 2008, Clinton ended her campaign and endorsed Obama.

Outgoing President George W. Bush meets with President-elect Obama in the Oval Office on November 10, 2008.

On August 23, Obama announced his selection of Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. Obama selected Biden from a field speculated to include former Indiana Governor and Senator Evan Bayh and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Hillary Clinton called for her supporters to endorse Obama, and she and Bill Clinton gave convention speeches in his support. Obama delivered his acceptance speech, not at the center where the Democratic National Convention was held, but at Invesco Field at Mile High to a crowd of approximately 84,000 people; the speech was viewed by over 38 million people worldwide.

During both the primary process and the general election, Obama’s campaign set numerous fundraising records, particularly in the quantity of small donations. On June 19, 2008, Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing in the general election since the system was created in 1976.

John McCain was nominated as the Republican candidate, and he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. The two candidates engaged in three presidential debates in September and October 2008. On November 4, Obama won the presidency with 365 electoral votes to 173 received by McCain. Obama won 52.9% of the popular vote to McCain’s 45.7%. He became the first African American to be elected president. Obama delivered his victory speech before hundreds of thousands of supporters in Chicago’s Grant Park.

2012

Obama greets former Governor Mitt Romney in the Oval Office on November 29, 2012, in their first meeting since Obama’s re-election victory over Romney.

On April 4, 2011, Obama announced his reelection campaign for 2012 in a video titled “It Begins with Us” that he posted on his website and filed election papers with the Federal Election Commission. As the incumbent president, he ran virtually unopposed in the Democratic Party presidential primaries, and on April 3, 2012, Obama had secured the 2778 convention delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination.

At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama and Joe Biden were formally nominated by former President Bill Clinton as the Democratic Party candidates for president and vice president in the general election. Their main opponents were Republicans Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

On November 6, 2012, Obama won 332 electoral votes, exceeding the 270 required for him to be reelected as president. With 51.1% of the popular vote, Obama became the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win the majority of the popular vote twice. Obama addressed supporters and volunteers at Chicago’s McCormick Place after his reelection and said: “Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties.”

President (2009–2017)

First 100 days

Barack Obama takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. at the Capitol, January 20, 2009

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President took place on January 20, 2009. In his first few days in office, Obama issued executive orders and presidential memoranda directing the U.S. military to develop plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. He ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, but Congress prevented the closure by refusing to appropriate the required funds and preventing moving any Guantanamo detainee into the U.S. or to other countries. Obama reduced the secrecy given to presidential records. He also revoked President George W. Bush’s restoration of President Ronald Reagan’s Mexico City policy prohibiting federal aid to international family planning organizations that perform or provide counseling about abortion.

Domestic policy

The first bill signed into law by Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, relaxing the statute of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits. Five days later, he signed the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover an additional 4 million uninsured children. In March 2009, Obama reversed a Bush-era policy that had limited funding of embryonic stem cell research and pledged to develop “strict guidelines” on the research.

Obama delivers a speech at joint session of Congress with Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on February 24, 2009.

Obama appointed two women to serve on the Supreme Court in the first two years of his presidency. He nominated Sonia Sotomayor on May 26, 2009 to replace retiring Associate Justice David Souter; she was confirmed on August 6, 2009, becoming the first Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic descent. Obama nominated Elena Kagan on May 10, 2010 to replace retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens. She was confirmed on August 5, 2010, bringing the number of women sitting simultaneously on the Court to three justices for the first time in American history.

On March 30, 2010, Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, a reconciliation bill that ended the process of the federal government giving subsidies to private banks to give out federally insured loans, increased the Pell Grant scholarship award, and made changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

President Obama and his wife Michelle pose for a photo during a reception at the Metropolitan Museum in New York with Tarja Halonen, the first female president of Finland, and her husband, Dr. Pentti Arajärvi, September 23, 2009.

Obama meets with the Cabinet of the United States, November 23, 2009.

Obama during a visit to The Pentagon in 2009.

In a major space policy speech in April 2010, Obama announced a planned change in direction at NASA, the U.S. space agency. He ended plans for a return of human spaceflight to the moon and development of the Ares I rocket, Ares V rocket and Constellation program, in favor of funding Earth science projects, a new rocket type, and research and development for an eventual crewed mission to Mars, and ongoing missions to the International Space Station.

President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address focused on themes of education and innovation, stressing the importance of innovation economics to make the United States more competitive globally. He spoke of a five-year freeze in domestic spending, eliminating tax breaks for oil companies and reversing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, banning congressional earmarks, and reducing healthcare costs. He promised the United States would have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 and be 80% reliant on “clean” electricity.

LGBT rights

On October 8, 2009, Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a measure that expanded the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

On October 30, 2009, Obama lifted the ban on travel to the United States by those infected with HIV, which was celebrated by Immigration Equality.

On December 22, 2010, Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which fulfilled a key promise made in the 2008 presidential campaign to end the don’t ask, don’t tell policy of 1993 that had prevented gay and lesbian people from serving openly in the United States Armed Forces. In 2016, the Pentagon also ended the policy that barred transgender people from serving openly in the military.

As a candidate for the Illinois state senate in 1996, Obama had said he favored legalizing same-sex marriage. By the time of his Senate run in 2004, he said he supported civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex partners but opposed same-sex marriages. In 2008, he reaffirmed this position by stating “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.” On May 9, 2012, shortly after the official launch of his campaign for re-election as president, Obama said his views had evolved, and he publicly affirmed his personal support for the legalization of same-sex marriage, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so.

The White House was illuminated in rainbow colors on the evening of the Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, June 26, 2015.

During his second inaugural address on January 21, 2013, Obama became the first U.S. president in office to call for full equality for gay Americans: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” This was the first time that a president mentioned gay rights or the word “gay” in an inaugural address.

In 2013, the Obama Administration filed briefs that urged the Supreme Court to rule in favor of same-sex couples in the cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry (regarding same-sex marriage) and United States v. Windsor (regarding the Defense of Marriage Act). Then, following the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (ruling same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right), Obama asserted that, “This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.”

On July 30, 2015, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy revised its strategy for addressing the disease, which included widespread testing and linkage to healthcare, which was celebrated by the Human Rights Campaign.

White House advisory and oversight groups

On March 11, 2009, Obama created the White House Council on Women and Girls, which formed part of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, having been established by Executive Order 13506 with a broad mandate to advise him on issues relating to the welfare of American women and girls. The council was chaired by Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett. Obama also established the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault through a government memorandum on January 22, 2014, with a broad mandate to advise him on issues relating to sexual assault on college and university campuses throughout the United States. The co-chairs of the Task Force were Vice President Joe Biden and Jarrett. The Task Force was a development out of the White House Council on Women and Girls and Office of the Vice President of the United States, and prior to that the 1994 Violence Against Women Act first drafted by Biden.

Economic policy

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President Obama’s address (9: 28)
Also available: Audio only; Full text 

Obama and members of the national security team receive an update on Operation Neptune’s Spear in the White House Situation Room, May 1, 2011. See also: Situation Room

Starting with information received from Central Intelligence Agency operatives in July 2010, the CIA developed intelligence over the next several months that determined what they believed to be the hideout of Osama bin Laden. He was living in seclusion in a large compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a suburban area 35 miles (56 km) from Islamabad. CIA head Leon Panetta reported this intelligence to President Obama in March 2011. Meeting with his national security advisers over the course of the next six weeks, Obama rejected a plan to bomb the compound, and authorized a “surgical raid” to be conducted by United States Navy SEALs. The operation took place on May 1, 2011, and resulted in the shooting death of bin Laden and the seizure of papers, computer drives and disks from the compound. DNA testing was one of five methods used to positively identify bin Laden’s corpse, which was buried at sea several hours later. Within minutes of the President’s announcement from Washington, DC, late in the evening on May 1, there were spontaneous celebrations around the country as crowds gathered outside the White House, and at New York City’s Ground Zero and Times Square.Reaction to the announcement was positive across party lines, including from former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Iran nuclear talks

Obama talks with Benjamin Netanyahu, March 2013.

On October 1, 2009, the Obama administration went ahead with a Bush administration program increasing nuclear weapons production. The “Complex Modernization” initiative expanded two existing nuclear sites to produce new bomb parts. The administration built new plutonium pits at the Los Alamos lab in New Mexico and expanded enriched uranium processing at the Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In November 2013, the Obama administration opened negotiations with Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, which included an interim agreement. Negotiations took two years with numerous delays, with a deal being announced July 14, 2015. The deal, titled the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” saw the removal of sanctions in exchange for measures that would prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. While Obama hailed the agreement as being a step towards a more hopeful world, the deal drew strong criticism from Republican and conservative quarters, and from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In addition, the transfer of $1.7 billion in cash to Iran shortly after the deal was announced was criticized by the republican party. The Obama administration said that the payment in cash was because of the “effectiveness of U.S. and international sanctions.” In order to advance the deal, the Obama administration shielded Hezbollah from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Project Cassandra investigation regarding drug smuggling and from the Central Intelligence Agency.
On a sidenote, the very same year, in December 2015, Obama started a $348 billion worth program to back the biggest U.S. buildup of nuclear arms since Ronald Reagan left the White House.

Relations with Cuba

President Obama meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro in Panama, April 2015

Since the spring of 2013, secret meetings were conducted between the United States and Cuba in the neutral locations of Canada and Vatican City. The Vatican first became involved in 2013 when Pope Francis advised the U.S. and Cuba to exchange prisoners as a gesture of goodwill. On December 10, 2013, Cuban President Raúl Castro, in a significant public moment, greeted and shook hands with Obama at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in Johannesburg.

In December 2014, after the secret meetings, it was announced that Obama, with Pope Francis as an intermediary, had negotiated a restoration of relations with Cuba, after nearly sixty years of détente. Popularly dubbed the Cuban Thaw, The New Republic deemed the Cuban Thaw to be “Obama’s finest foreign policy achievement.” On July 1, 2015, President Barack Obama announced that formal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States would resume, and embassies would be opened in Washington and Havana. The countries’ respective “interests sections” in one another’s capitals were upgraded to embassies on July 20 and August 13, 2015, respectively.

Obama visited Havana, Cuba for two days in March 2016, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to arrive since Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

Africa

Obama spoke in front of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on July 29, 2015, the first sitting U.S. president to do so. He gave a speech encouraging the world to increase economic ties via investments and trade with the continent, and lauded the progress made in education, infrastructure, and economy. He also criticized the lack of democracy and leaders who refuse to step aside, discrimination against minorities (LGBT people, religious groups and ethnicities), and corruption. He suggested an intensified democratization and free trade, to significantly improve the quality of life for Africans. During his July 2015 trip, Obama also was the first U.S. president ever to visit Kenya, which is the homeland of his father.

Hiroshima speech

On May 27, 2016, Obama became the first sitting American president to visit Hiroshima, Japan, 71 years after the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima that ended World War II. Accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, Obama paid tribute to the victims of the bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Russia

Obama meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in September 2015.

After Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, military intervention in Syria in 2015, and the interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Obama’s Russia policy was widely seen as a failure.George Robertson, a former UK defense secretary and NATO secretary-general, said Obama had “allowed Putin to jump back on the world stage and test the resolve of the West,” adding that the legacy of this disaster would last.

Cultural and political image

Obama’s family history, upbringing, and Ivy League education differ markedly from those of African-American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement. Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is “black enough,” Obama told an August 2007 meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that “we’re still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong.” Obama acknowledged his youthful image in an October 2007 campaign speech, saying: “I wouldn’t be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation.”

Obama is frequently referred to as an exceptional orator. During his pre-inauguration transition period and continuing into his presidency, Obama delivered a series of weekly Internet video addresses. In his speeches as president, Obama did not make more overt references to race relations than his predecessors, but according to one study, he implemented stronger policy action on behalf of African-Americans than any president since the Nixon era.

Presidential approval ratings

According to the Gallup Organization, Obama began his presidency with a 68% approval rating before gradually declining for the rest of the year, and eventually bottoming out at 41% in August 2010, a trend similar to Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s first years in office. He experienced a small poll bounce shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. This bounce lasted until around June 2011, when his approval numbers dropped back to where they were previously. His approval ratings rebounded around the same time as his reelection in 2012, with polls showing an average job approval of 52% shortly after his second inauguration. Despite approval ratings dropping to 39% in late-2013 due to the ACA roll-out, they climbed to 50% in January 2015 according to Gallup.

Polls showed strong support for Obama in other countries both before and during his presidency. In a February 2009 poll conducted in Western Europe and the U.S. by Harris Interactive for France 24 and the International Herald Tribune, Obama was rated as the most respected world leader, as well as the most powerful. In a similar poll conducted by Harris in May 2009, Obama was rated as the most popular world leader, as well as the one figure most people would pin their hopes on for pulling the world out of the economic downturn.

G8 leaders watching the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final

Obama won Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Awards for abridged audiobook versions of Dreams from My Father in February 2006 and for The Audacity of Hope in February 2008. His concession speech after the New Hampshire primary was set to music by independent artists as the music video “Yes We Can,” which was viewed 10 million times on YouTube in its first month and received a Daytime Emmy Award. In December 2008 and in 2012, Time magazine named Obama as its Person of the Year. The 2008 awarding was for his historic candidacy and election, which Time described as “the steady march of seemingly impossible accomplishments.” On May 25, 2011, Obama became the first President of the United States to address both houses of the UK Parliament in Westminster Hall, London. This was only the fifth occurrence since the start of the 20th century of a head of state’s being extended this invitation, following Charles de Gaulle in 1960, Nelson Mandela in 1996, Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

On October 9, 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that Obama had won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Obama accepted this award in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2009, with “deep gratitude and great humility.” The award drew a mixture of praise and criticism from world leaders and media figures. Obama’s peace prize was called a “stunning surprise” by The New York Times. He became the fourth U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the third to become a Nobel laureate while in office. Obama’s Nobel Prize has been viewed skeptically in subsequent years, especially after the director of the Nobel Institute, Geir Lundestad, said Obama’s Peace Prize did not have the desired effect.

Post-presidency (2017–present)

Obama, with Joe Biden and Donald Trump at the latter’s inauguration on January 20, 2017

Obama’s presidency ended at noon on January 20, 2017, immediately following the inauguration of his Republican successor, Donald Trump. After the inauguration, Obama lifted off on Executive One, circled the White House, and flew to Joint Base Andrews. The family currently rents a house in Kalorama, Washington, D.C.

On March 2, 2017, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum awarded the annual Profile in Courage Award to Obama “for his enduring commitment to democratic ideals and elevating the standard of political courage.” In his first public appearance out of office, Obama appeared at a seminar at the University of Chicago on April 24. The seminar was aimed at the engagement with a new generation as well as an appeal for their participation in politics. On May 4, three days ahead of the French presidential election, Obama publicly endorsed centrist Emmanuel Macron over right-wing populist Marine Le Pen: “He appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears, and I enjoyed speaking to Emmanuel recently to hear about his independent movement and his vision for the future of France.” Macron went on to win the election.

While in Berlin on May 25, Obama made a joint public appearance with Chancellor Angela Merkel where he stressed inclusion and for leaders to question themselves, Obama having been formally invited to Berlin while still in office as part of an effort to boost Merkel’s re-election campaign. Obama traveled to Kensington Palace in England and met with Prince Harry on May 27, 2017; Obama tweeted afterward that the two discussed their foundations and offering condolences in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing that occurred five days prior.

After President Trump announced his withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on June 1, Obama released a statement disagreeing with the choice: “But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”

Obama playing golf with the President of Argentina Mauricio Macri, October 2017

After Senate Republicans revealed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, their discussion draft of a health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, on June 22, Obama released a Facebook post calling the bill “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.” On September 19, while delivering the keynote address at Goalkeepers, Obama admitted his frustration with Republicans backing “a bill that will raise costs, reduce coverage, and roll back protections for older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions.”

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, Obama released a Facebook post criticizing the decision. Two days later, he partnered with former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush to work with One America Appeal to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma in the Gulf Coast and Texas communities.

Obama hosted the inaugural summit of the Obama Foundation in Chicago on October 31. Obama intends for the foundation to be the central focus of his post-presidency and part of his ambitions for his subsequent activities following his presidency to be more consequential than his time in office. Obama has also been working on a Presidential memoir, in a reported $65 million deal with Penguin Random House.

Obama went on an international trip from November 28 to December 2, 2017, and visited China, India and France. In China, he delivered remarks at the Global Alliance of SMEs Summit in Shanghai and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. He then went to India, where he spoke at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit before meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over lunch. In addition, he held a town hall for young leaders, organized by the Obama Foundation. He also met with the Dalai Lama while in New Delhi. He ended his five-day trip in France where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, former President François Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and then spoke at an invitation-only event, touching on climate issues.

In May 2018, Obama criticized President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action saying ‘the deal was working and it was in US interests.’

Barack and Michelle Obama signed a deal on May 22, 2018 to produce docu-series, documentaries and features for Netflix under the Obamas’ newly formed production company, Higher Ground Productions. On the deal, Michelle said “I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others.” Higher Ground’s first film, American Factory, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2020.

A package that contained a pipe bomb was sent to Obama’s home in Washington, D.C, on October 24, 2018. The package was intercepted by the Secret Service during routine mail screenings. Similar packages were sent to several other Democratic leaders, mostly those who voiced strong objections to the policies of Donald Trump and to CNN. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was addressed as the sender of the package. On October 26, 2018, Cesar Sayoc was arrested and faced five federal charges in Manhattan carrying a combined maximum sentence of 48 years behind bars in relation to the pipe bombs. He was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in prison on August 5, 2019.

In 2019, Barack and Michelle Obama bought a home on Martha’s Vineyard from Wyc Grousbeck.

On April 14, 2020, Obama endorsed his former vice president Joe Biden for president in the 2020 election.

In May 2020, Obama criticized President Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, calling his response to the crisis “an absolute chaotic disaster.” Trump retaliated by accusing Obama of having committed “the biggest political crime in American history”, though he refused to say what he was talking about, telling reporters “You know what the crime is, the crime is very obvious to everybody.”

On May 16, 2020, Obama delivered two commencement speeches on behalf of the graduating youth who were not able to go to their physical graduation ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His first speech was for part of the video streamed online program, “Show Me Your Walk H.B.C.U. Edition” virtual commencement. In his address, he spoke about systemic racism, touching on both the coronavirus pandemic, the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, and the fight to stay politically active saying, “The fight for equality and justice begins with awareness, empathy, passion, even righteous anger. Don’t just activate yourself online, change requires strategy, action, organizing, marching, and voting in the real world like never before”. His next commencement address was a part of a nationally televised event, titled Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 which aired on NBC.

Legacy

Job growth during the presidency of Obama compared to other presidents, as measured as cumulative percentage change from month after inauguration to end of his term

Obama’s most significant legacy is generally considered to be the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), provisions of which went into effect from 2010 to 2020. Many attempts by Senate Republicans to repeal the PPACA, including a “skinny repeal,” have thus far failed. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system’s most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

Many commentators credit Obama with averting a threatened depression and pulling the economy back from the Great Recession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Obama administration created 11.3 million jobs from the month after his first inauguration to the end of his term. In 2010, Obama signed into effect the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Passed as a response to the financial crisis of 2007–08, it brought the most significant changes to financial regulation in the United States since the regulatory reform that followed the Great Depression under Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 2009, Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which contained in it the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first addition to existing federal hate crime law in the United States since Democratic President Bill Clinton signed into law the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act expanded existing federal hate crime laws in the United States to apply to crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability, and dropped the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity.

As president, Obama advanced LGBT rights. In 2010, he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, which brought an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the U.S. armed forces that banned open service from LGB people; the law went into effect the following year. In 2016, his administration brought an end to the ban on transgender people serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. A Gallup poll, taken in the final days of Obama’s term, showed that 68% of Americans believed the U.S. had made progress in the situation for gays and lesbians during Obama’s eight years in office.

Obama substantially escalated the use of drone strikes against suspected militants and terrorists associated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban. In 2016, the last year of his presidency, the US dropped 26,171 bombs on seven different countries. Obama left about 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan, 5,262 in Iraq, 503 in Syria, 133 in Pakistan, 106 in Somalia, seven in Yemen, and two in Libya at the end of his presidency.

According to Pew Research Center and United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, from December 31, 2009, to December 31, 2015, inmates sentenced in US federal custody declined by five percent. This is the largest decline in sentenced inmates in US federal custody since Democratic President Jimmy Carter. By contrast, the federal prison population increased significantly under presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Obama left office in January 2017 with a 60% approval rating. A 2018 survey of historians by the American Political Science Association ranked Obama the 8th-greatest American President. Obama gained 10 spots from the same survey in 2015 from the Brookings Institution that ranked Obama the 18th-greatest American President.

Presidential library

The Barack Obama Presidential Center is Obama’s planned presidential library. It will be hosted by the University of Chicago and located in Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago.

Bibliography

  • Dreams from My Father (1995)
  • The Audacity of Hope (2006)
  • Of Thee I Sing (2010)
  • A Promised Land (2020)

Audiobooks

  • 2006: The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (read by the author), Random House Audio,

    ISBN 978-0739366417

See also

Politics

  • DREAM Act
  • Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009
  • Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
  • IRS targeting controversy
  • Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
  • National Broadband Plan (United States)
  • Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • Social policy of the Barack Obama administration
  • SPEECH Act
  • Stay with It
  • White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy

Other

  • Roberts Court
  • Speeches of Barack Obama

Lists

  • Assassination threats against Barack Obama
  • List of African-American United States senators
  • List of Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign endorsements
  • List of Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign endorsements
  • List of federal political scandals, 2009–17
  • List of people granted executive clemency by Barack Obama
  • List of things named after Barack Obama

Notes and references

Notes

Further reading

Official

  • Official website of The Obama Foundation
  • Official website of the Barack Obama Presidential Library
  • Official website of Organizing for Action
  • White House biography

Other

  • Column archive at The Huffington Post
  • Barack Obama at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  • Obama, B (2016). “United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps”. JAMA. 316 (5): 525–32. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.9797. PMC 5069435. PMID 27400401.
  • Teague Beckwith, Ryan (March 23, 2017). “Read Barack Obama’s Statement on the Anniversary of Obamacare”. Time magazine. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017. See also: Taylor, Jessica (March 23, 2017). “Obama: ‘America Is Stronger Because Of The Affordable Care Act'”. National Public Radio. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  • Obama B. “The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform”. Harvard Law Review. Published January 5, 2017.
  • Barack Obama at Curlie
  • United States Congress. “Barack Obama (id: O000167)”. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
  • Barack Obama articles in the archive of the Chicago Tribune
  • Collected news and commentary at the Tampa Bay Timess PolitiFact.com
  • Collected news and commentary at The Washington Posts Fact Checker blog
  • “Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history” by Vox author Dylan Matthews on March 24, 2017. Archived from the original on March 24, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017. The article describes the successes and failures of Barack Obama’s domestic and foreign policy as well as provides articles for further reading in this context.
  • Making Obama. Making. 2018. WBEZ. “Former President Barack Obama—along with key advisers, mentors, and rivals—tells the story of his climb from Chicago to the national stage.”
  • Works by Barack Obama at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Barack Obama at Internet Archive
  • Works by Barack Obama at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • Barack Obama on IMDb 
  • Barack Obama at TV.com
  • Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University: Barack Obama letters to Alexandra McNear, 1982-1984
  • Barack Obama on Nobelprize.org


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