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Early life[change | change source]

Obama was born on August 4, 1961[1] in Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children (called Kapiʻolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in 1961) in Honolulu, Hawaii.[2][3] He was the first President to have been born in Hawaii.[4] 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 in 1995.[5] He spent most of his childhood in Hawaii and Chicago, Illinois, although he lived in Jakarta, Indonesia with his mother and stepfather from age 6 to age 10.[6] He later moved back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents.

Education[change | change source]

He started college at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and graduated from Columbia University in New York City. After taking time off as a community organizer, Obama went to law school at Harvard University. After law school, Obama worked for a law firm in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Family[change | change source]

Obama with his family

Obama has been married to Michelle Obama since 1992. She has a law degree from Harvard Law School. She worked as a lawyer. They have two daughters, Malia Ann, who was born in 1998[7] and Natasha ("Sasha"), born in 2001. They were born at University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago.[8] 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, the brother of former President John F. Kennedy, 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.

Before becoming president[change | change source]

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,[9] 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.[9] He was state senator from 1997 to 2004.[10]

While he was Illinois state senator, he wrote a law that required police to keep records on the race of people they stopped.[10] The law that he wrote also forced police to videotape when they talked to people they suspect of murder.[10] He taught law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School. Judge and political teacher Abner J. Mikva taught Obama politics and became his mentor. During his early political career, Obama would make appearances and debate on Chicago Tonight

Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004.[11] While running for Senate, John Kerry asked him to speak at the Democratic National Convention. He spoke on television. He was a U.S. Senator from 2005 to 2008.[12]

2008 presidential campaign[change | change source]

Inaugural address by Barack Obama
Obama’s campaign logo

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 private money under Campaign finance reform in the United States. He raised the most amount of money ever for a presidential campaign. [source?]

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 were Tony Rezko, a landlord, and former revolutionary Bill Ayers; Obama said that they were not his friends. [source?] 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 ran with Joe Biden as his candidate for Vice President.

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%.

Presidency (2009–2017)[change | change source]

Obama talking in 2010 at the University of Minnesota

First term (2009–13)[change | change source]

Obama was first sworn in as president on January 20, 2009.

Great Recession[change | change source]

When Obama was sworn in, 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.

He 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.

Obamacare[change | change source]

Obama said he would change the health care system in the United States in order to make healthcare more affordable for Americans. He signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) in 2010.[13] This brought health care reform to the United States.

Nobel Peace Prize[change | change source]

Obama received the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009.[14] He noted that his efforts were humble, but he donated the prize money to several charities.

Tea Party movement[change | change source]

Though 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 received much 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.

War in Iraq[change | change source]

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 United States 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 reduced US participation in the Iraq War and continued the war on terror which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. Obama started a no-fly-zone policy on the Libyan civil war that ended in October 2011 with the killing of Muammar al-Gaddafi.

Economic policy[change | change source]

With rising economic deficits (the amount of money the government borrows each month) under his administration, he called for taxes to be increased on the rich. He criticized his Republican opponents for wanting to cut welfare benefits for the poor rather than raising taxes to help pay down the debt.

LGBT rights[change | change source]

He signed the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 in 2010, allowing openly gay men and openly lesbian women in the armed forces.[15] On May 9, 2012, he became the first sitting US President to openly support legalizing same-sex marriage.

Gun control[change | change source]

On December 14, 2012, after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut occurred, 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.

Before his second term began, 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.

2012 re-election campaign[change | change source]

On April 4, 2011 Obama declared that he would run 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.[16][17][18] He was officially nominated as his party's nominee 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.[19] Obama and Romney spent more than $2 billion on advertising during the election campaign.[19]

On December 21, 2012, Obama nominated John Kerry for United States Secretary of State during his second term.[20][21][22] Kerry was sworn in on February 1, 2013.

Second term (2013–17)[change | change source]

Obama was inaugurated for a second term privately (only his family members could see) on January 20, 2013 at the White House. The next day, January 21, 2013, he was inaugurated again, this time in public, at the United States Capitol. This was because January 20, 2013 was on a Sunday.

The start of his second term in 2013 had a few setbacks. With the NSA, people were upset at the Obama administration that the government was possibly listening to their phone calls. His party (the Democrats) also lost the Congressional elections. Because of disagreements between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, neither side was getting anything done and Obama resulted in using his Executive Order (his power as president) to help reform things like the immigration system.

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

2013 United States federal government shutdown[change | change source]

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.

He also supported increasing the minimum wage, requiring women to be paid the same as men at the same job and has called for the first 2 years of college to be fully government-funded for students who study full-time and get good grades.

LGBT rights[change | change source]

Obama supported LGBT members, and successfully convinced the courts in 2015 that same-sex marriage should be legal in the United States.[23]

Climate change[change | change source]

Obama was also concerned about climate change, and promoted the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court[change | change source]

After the death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace him on March 16, 2016, but the nomination expired because the Senate refused to hold a vote for him.

Post-presidency (2017–present)[change | change source]

As it is not possible for a person to be president for three terms, Obama could not run for president again. His presidency ended on January 20, 2017, and he was replaced by Republican Donald Trump. He left office with a 60% approval rating.[24]

Even though he is not the president anymore, Obama still owns a house in Washington, D.C.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, spend time making speeches and attending events. They also run a charity called the Obama Foundation, and own Higher Ground Productions, a company which makes movies. The company was hired by Netflix to make documentaries. One of their documentaries, American Factory, won an Academy Award for being the best documentary of 2019.[25][26]

He is[when?] also working on a presidential memoir.[27]

In May 2020, Obama criticized President Trump for his response of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that it is "an absolute chaotic disaster".[28]

References[change | change source]

  1. "President Barack Obama". Washington, D.C.: The White House. 2008. Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. 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. Retrieved December 31, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. Nakaso, Dan (December 22, 2008). "Twin sisters, Obama on parallel paths for years". The Honolulu Advertiser. p. B1. Retrieved December 31, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. Rudin, Ken (December 23, 2009). "Today's Junkie segment on TOTN: a political review Of 2009". Talk of the Nation (Political Junkie blog). NPR. Retrieved December 31, 2013. We began with the historic inauguration on January 20—yes, the first president ever born in Hawaii CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. Von Zumbusch, Amelie. Barack Obama: Man of Destiny. The Rosen Publishing Group 2010 page 7
  6. Falk, Avner The Riddle of Barack Obama: A Psychobiography ABC-CLIO pages 55-56
  7. "Born on the 4th of July -". politico.com.
  8. "Gannett". gannett.com.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Obama played hardball in first Chicago campaign". Retrieved 2010-01-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. "Election 2004". Retrieved 2010-01-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. "Birth Certificate of Barack Obama". Department of Health, Hawaii. PolitiFact.com. August 8 1961. Archived from the original on October 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12. Check date values in: |date= (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. Stolberg, Sheryl Gay; Pear, Robert (2010-03-23). "Obama Signs Health Care Overhaul Bill, With a Flourish". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  14. https://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091009/ap_on_re_eu/eu_nobel_peace;_ylt=AvcReJHxOgxgKsZdCsv9XB0EtbAF
  15. "Obama signs repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' policy". www.cnn.com. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  16. 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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. "Obama announces re-election bid". United Press International. April 4, 2011. Archived from the original on May 10, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. 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. Unknown parameter |lastauthoramp= ignored (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. 19.0 19.1 "President Barack Obama defeats Romney to win re-election". BBC. November 7, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. Landler, Mark (December 21, 2012). "Kerry Is Pick for Secretary of State, Official Says". The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. News, A. B. C. "Sources: Kerry to Be Nominated to Be Secretary". ABC News.
  22. "John Kerry To Get Secretary Of State Nomination, Reports ABC". HuffPost. December 15, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. Reilly, Ryan J. (2013-02-28). "Obama Administration To Supreme Court: Prop. 8 Is Unconstitutional". HuffPost. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  24. "Obama leaving office at 60% approval rating". UPI. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  25. Harris, Hunter (2018-05-21). "The Obamas Will Produce Movies and Shows for Netflix". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  26. CNN, Sandra Gonzalez. "Barack and Michelle Obama's production company scores first Oscar nomination". CNN. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  27. Debenedetti, Gabriel (2018-06-24). "Barack Obama, Where Are You?". Intelligencer. Retrieved 2020-04-02.
  28. Solender, Andrew. "Trump Accuses Obama Of A Crime In White House Press Briefing". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-12.

Other websites[change | change source]