Barack Obama

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Barack Obama
44th President of the United States
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 20, 2009 (2009-01-20)
Vice President Joe Biden
Preceded by George W. Bush
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
January 3, 2005 (2005-01-03) – November 16, 2008 (2008-11-16)
Preceded by Peter Fitzgerald
Succeeded by Roland Burris
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 13th District
In office
January 8, 1997 – November 4, 2004
Preceded by Alice Palmer
Succeeded by Kwame Raoul
Personal details
Born Barack Hussein Obama II
August 4, 1961 (1961-08-04) (age 53)[1]
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.[2]
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Michelle Robinson (October 3, 1992–present)
Children Malia (born 1998)
Sasha (born 2001)
Residence White House (Official)
Chicago, Illinois (Private)
Alma mater Occidental College
Columbia University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Profession Community organizer
Lawyer
Constitutional law professor
Author
Religion Christianity [3]
Awards Nobel Peace Prize
Signature Barack Obama
Website barackobama.com
This person won a Nobel Prize

Barack Hussein Obama II (Listeni/bəˈrɑːk hˈsn ˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961)[4] is the 44th and current President of the United States and the first African-American to hold the office. He is a Democrat. Obama won the 2008 United States presidential election, on November 4, 2008. He was inaugurated on January 20, 2009.

Early life

Obama was born on August 4, 1961[1] in Kapiʻolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital (now Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children) in Honolulu, Hawaii[5][6] and is the first President to have been born in Hawaii.[7] His father was a black exchange student from Kenya named Barack Obama Sr. He died in a motorcycle accident in Kenya in 1982. His mother was a white woman from Kansas named Ann Dunham, who was an anthropologist and died from cancer.[8] His mother married Barack Obama Sr. in 1961 and divorced him in 1964. His stepfather was from Indonesia named Lolo Soetoro after his mother married him in 1965. She divorced in 1980. He spent most of his childhood in Hawaii and Chicago, Illinois, although he lived in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather from age 6 to age 10.[9] He moved back to Hawaii after that to live with his grandparents.

Education

He started college at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and graduated from Columbia University in New York City. After taking time off to community organize, Obama went to law school at Harvard University. After law school, Obama worked for a law firm. The law firm sued companies who fired people, and sued the government claiming that some black people were prevented from voting.

Before becoming president

Later, Obama worked for Alice Palmer, an Illinois state senator. In 1995 she chose not to run for re-election so that she could run for U.S. Congress,[10] and Obama decided to run for her Illinois state senate seat. Palmer lost her election for U.S. Congress, so she tried to keep her seat in the state senate, but she did not have enough time to meet the rules of the election. Obama's team said that she could not be on the ballot, and the election rulemakers agreed. Obama won the election and became an Illinois state senator.[10] He was state senator from 1997 to 2004.[11]

While he was Illinois state senator, he was known for writing a law that required police to keep records on the race of people they stopped.[11] The law that he wrote also forced police to videotape when they talked to people they suspect of murder.[11] He also taught law part time at the University of Chicago Law School.

Obama later ran for the U.S. Senate.[12] While running for Senate, John Kerry asked him to speak at the Democratic National Convention. Most people had never heard of Obama, but many people saw him speak on television and he became well known after that. He was a U.S. Senator from 2005 to 2008.[13]

Obama won the presidential election of 2008.[12]

Presidential campaigns

2008 presidential campaign

Inaugural address by Barack Obama

Barack Obama's presidential campaign for the White House started in early June 2008 when he defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton was favored to win but Obama won many smaller state caucuses (local party elections) by having a lot of volunteers. He decided not to accept government money for his campaign so that he could accept more money from people. He raised the most amount of money ever for a presidential campaign.

Obama's campaign theme was that he was a man of hope and change. He was also against the war in Iraq. He was in favor of giving money to American car companies. He was in favor of sending more troops to Afghanistan.

During the campaign, some people said that Obama's friends included Tony Rezko, a landlord, and former member of the Weather Underground Bill Ayers; Obama said that they were not his friends. Obama also had trouble when his minister at church, Jeremiah Wright, was videotaped criticizing America. During the campaign, Obama said that his opponent, Republican candidate John McCain, was just like George W. Bush, something that John McCain said was not true.

He defeated McCain in the election on November 4 by a wide electoral majority of 365 to 173, meaning that he won the most votes in enough states to send 365 people to officially elect him. The popular vote (based on the total number of votes across the country) was closer, with Obama winning 53%, McCain 46%.

Family

Obama and the family presidential dog, Bo, running on the White House grounds.

Obama has been married to Michelle Obama since 1992. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University, and also a law degree from Harvard Law School. She worked as a lawyer. They have two daughters, Malia Ann, who was born in 1998[14] and Natasha ("Sasha"), born in 2001.[15] They lived in Chicago, but moved into the White House on January 20, 2009.

Obama promised his daughters that the family would get a dog if he was elected President. In April 2009, Senator Ted Kennedy, who once tried to run for President, gave Obama one of his dogs, a Portuguese water dog named Bo.

Obama has a half sister who is a teacher in Hawaii. His father died from a car accident in Africa. His mother died of cancer. His maternal grandmother died just before Obama won the election to become President.

Presidency

Obama talking in 2010 at the University of Minnesota

Obama became President of the United States on January 20, 2009. The United States was battling a tough recession. He asked Congress to spend an extra $787 billion ($787,000,000,000) to try to end the recession. He called the plan the stimulus bill. The stimulus bill funded many road projects, gave money to schools, gave tax credits to many Americans, and funded many science and research projects.

Obama continued the financial bailout that George W. Bush started, giving billions of dollars to car companies and banks so that they would not go bankrupt. He signed an act written by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd which would regulate Wall Street (the financial industry) to try to prevent another recession like this from happening again. Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which would bring health care reform to the United States, which he said would change the system so that more people can afford health care.

In foreign policy, Obama made a plan to slowly withdraw troops from Iraq, ending the War in Iraq by the end of 2011, while adding more troops to Afghanistan to help the United States win the War in Afghanistan. He also decided that the USA should help in the war against Libya. He has said several times that he wants to improve U.S. relations with the Muslim world.

Obama received the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009.[16] He noted that his efforts were humble, but he donated the prize money to several charities.

Although his popularity was very high (around 70% approval) when he entered office, his approval ratings fell to 45% percent during the year of 2010. He has received a lot of criticism from Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and members of the Tea Party because they believe that the federal government is becoming too big and spending too much money and that his programs are not the best for the country.

With rising deficits (the amount of money the government borrows each month) under his administration, he has called for taxes to be increased on the rich and wealthy Americans, who can afford to pay them. He has criticized his Republican opponents for wanting to cut welfare benefits for the poor and needy rather than raising taxes to help pay down the debt. He also signed the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 in 2010 which since 1993 had prevented openly gay men and openly lesbian women from serving in the army.

Obama has also initiated the ending of the Iraq War and continued the war on terror which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. Obama has also initiated a no-fly-zone policy on Libya which ended the civil war in October 2011 with the killing of Muammar al-Gaddafi. On May 9, 2012, he became the first sitting US President to openly support legalizing same-sex marriage.

On December 14, 2012, after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut occured, Obama had said, "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics". On December 21, 2012, Obama and his White House staff observed a moment of silence because of the school shooting in Connecticut.

On December 21, 2012, Obama nominated John Kerry for United States Secretary of State during his second term.[17][18][19] Kerry was sworn in on February 1, 2013.

Before his second term began and still continues, there has been debating of guns because of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that happened on December 14, 2012, as well as shootings in the past.

He took his second term inauguration oath in the White House, privately (only his family members could see) on January 20, 2013. Obama was inaugurated for a second term on January 21, 2013 (January 20, 2013 fell on a Sunday) in the United States Capitol, that inauguration was viewed to the public.

He visited South Africa on late June 2013. Prior to visiting South Africa, he visited Senegal. He visited Robben Island, where Mandela was prisoned. He did not meet with Nelson Mandela.

The United States government shutdown occurred on October 1, 2013. On October 17, 2013, Obama signed a bill which ended the United States government shut down.

Obama awarded several people, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and media mogul Oprah Winfrey for the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 20, 2013. He has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to many people, such as Stephen Hawking, Sandra Day O'Connor, Chita Rivera, Loretta Lynn and George H. W. Bush.

Obama speaks at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela on December 10, 2013 in Soccer Stadium, Soweto, South Africa

On December 5, 2013, he gave a four and a half minute speech of Nelson Mandela after Mandela's death was announced. On December 9, 2013, he departed Washington, D.C. to go to South Africa for Mandela's memorial service. On December 10, 2013, Obama spoke at the memorial service of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa.

2012 Election

On April 4, 2011 Obama declared that he would stand for re-election for a second term in 2012 in a video titled "It Begins with Us" that he posted on his website and filed election papers with the Federal Election Commission.[20][21][22] He was officially nominated for his party's Presidential choice on September 6, 2012. Mitt Romney was officially nominated as his opponent by the Republican party on August 30, 2012. While the election results were very close, Obama easily won the electoral college votes he needed to win a second term.[23] Obama and Romney spent more than $2 billion on advertising during the election campaign.[23]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "President Barack Obama". Washington, D.C.: The White House. 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  2. "Certificate of Live Birth: Barack Hussein Obama II, August 4, 1961, 7:24 pm, Honolulu". Department of Health, State of Hawaii. The White House. April 27, 2011. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110429013125/http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  3. "American President: Barack Obama". Charlottesville, VA: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. 2009. Archived from the original on January 23, 2009. http://millercenter.org/academic/americanpresident/obama. Retrieved January 23, 2009. "Religion: Christian"
  4. "Birth Certificate of Barack Obama". Department of Health, Hawaii. PolitiFact.com. August 9 1961. http://www.politifact.com/media/img/graphics/birthCertObama.jpg. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  5. Maraniss, David (August 24, 2008). "Though Obama had to leave to find himself, it is Hawaii that made his rise possible". The Washington Post: p. A22. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/23/AR2008082301620.html. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  6. Nakaso, Dan (December 22, 2008). "Twin sisters, Obama on parallel paths for years". The Honolulu Advertiser: p. B1. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2008/Dec/22/ln/hawaii812220320.html. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  7. Rudin, Ken (December 23, 2009). "Today's Junkie segment on TOTN: a political review Of 2009". Talk of the Nation (Political Junkie blog). NPR. http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/2009/12/todays_junkie_segment_on_totn_5.html. Retrieved December 31, 2013. "We began with the historic inauguration on January 20—yes, the first president ever born in Hawaii"
  8. Von Zumbusch, Amelie Barack Obama: Man of Destiny The Rosen Publishing Group 2010 page 7
  9. Falk, Avner The Riddle of Barack Obama: A Psychobiography ABC-CLIO pages 55-56
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Obama played hardball in first Chicago campaign". http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/29/obamas.first.campaign/index.html. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 "In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd". http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/us/politics/30obama.html?_r=1. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Election 2004". http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/IL/S/01/index.html. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
  13. "Birth Certificate of Barack Obama". Department of Health, Hawaii. PolitiFact.com. August 8 1961. http://www.politifact.com/media/img/graphics/birthCertObama.jpg. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  14. Born on the 4th of July
  15. Election 2008 Information Center
  16. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091009/ap_on_re_eu/eu_nobel_peace;_ylt=AvcReJHxOgxgKsZdCsv9XB0EtbAF
  17. Landler, Mark (December 21, 2012). "Kerry Is Pick for Secretary of State, Official Says". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/22/us/politics/kerry-is-pick-for-secretary-of-state-official-says.html. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  18. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/12/john-kerry-to-be-nominated-to-be-secretary-of-state-sources-say/
  19. "John Kerry To Get Secretary Of State Nomination, Reports ABC". Huffington Post. December 15, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/15/john-kerry-secretary-of-state_n_2306877.html. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  20. Shear, Michael D. (April 4, 2011). "Obama Begins Re-Election Facing New Political Challenges". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  21. "Obama announces re-election bid". United Press International. April 4, 2011. Archived from the original on May 10, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  22. Zeleny, Jeff; Calmes, Jackie (April 4, 2011). "Obama Opens 2012 Campaign, With Eye on Money and Independent Voters". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  23. 23.0 23.1 "BBC News - President Barack Obama defeats Romney to win re-election". bbc.co.uk. November 7, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20233064. Retrieved November 7, 2012.

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