Obama Sheds Tears Thanking Campaign Workers
“I’m proud of you,” he told them
By BJ Lutz
| Thursday, Nov 8, 2012 | Updated 9:06 PM CST
President Barack Obama was among those who got teary eyed Wednesday during a surprise visit to his Chicago-based 2012 campaign headquarters.
“What you guys have done means that the work that I’m doing is important, and I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of you,” he said before choking up, turning his head and wiping away a tear.
The president spoke for about five minutes into a microphone while hundreds of volunteers, many of whom climbed desks to get a better vantage point, listened intently.
When the president’s emotions became visible, the room erupted into applause in a unified show of support.
The Commander in Chief told the campaign workers he had no doubt they would go on to do “just amazing things.”
me (signed in using yahoo)Thank you for posting this moving and intimate moment. Barack Obama is clearly speaking from his heart and takes his time to get his message across to his young campaign volunteers. He’s the real deal; he sincerely cares about people and that’s been evident since the work he did in Chicago as a young man. He’s also not a man who is afraid to show his emotions, and that in itself shows strength.I’m in the southern hemisphere right now, and believe me, people are cheering all over the world for this remarkable person who I’m also proud to call our president.
Richard Sinay· Top CommenterIt was a heartfelt praise of his entire campaign team, and it was a very much appreciated.
President Barack Obama reduced to tears
8 November 2012 Last updated at 22:15 ET Help
President Barack Obama was reduced to tears when thanking his campaign staffers at his Chicago headquarters.
The talk was captured on video and posted to YouTube.
In his speech which lasted over five minutes, the president said he was really proud of everyone “because what you guys have done means that the work that I’m doing is important, and I’m really proud of that, and I’m really proud of all of you’”.
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Tearful Obama thanks campaign team as Democrats ponder next moves
President tears up addressing team at campaign headquarters, while advisers discuss how to maintain ‘ground game’
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- guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 November 2012 21.19 EST
Video: barackobama.comBarack Obamawelled up with tears while delivering an emotional speech to his team at campaign headquarters in Chicago the day after he was re-elected as US president. He spoke about how he got into politics and thanked those present for their work.”You are so much better than I was, in so many ways,” he said. “You’re smarter, more organised, more effective. I’m absolutely confident that all of you are going to do amazing things.”
“Even before last night’s results, I felt that the work that I’d begun by running for office had come full circle because the work that you’ve done means that the work that I’m doing is improved. And I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of all of you.”
“Whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to come. And that’s my source of hope.”
Obama’s first campaign famously left offices open in swing states after 2008 to boost his re-election effort in 2012, but it is unclear what will now happen to the infrastructure that helped secure him two terms in office.
Democratic political advisers, in a conference call with reporters on Thursday, said they would be discussing with his supporters how to move on, but suggested that potential party candidates in future elections could not assume the Obama ground apparatus would automatically be at their disposal.
“You just can’t transfer this,” said David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser who managed Obama’s campaign four years ago.
“People are not going to spend hours away from their families and their jobs, contributing financially when it’s hard for them to do it unless they believe in the candidate.”
Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, said his team would initiate a process with the volunteers who made up the multistate infrastructure that turned out voters for Obama.
“We’re going to go through a process with our supporters and have a conversation with them about what they want to do next, and we’ve always listened to the ground game, listened to our supporters,” he said.
“We are going to spend some time learning the lessons from the other night before we start thinking about 2014 or 2016.”
The much-heralded ground game is considered one of the keys to Obama’s victory, in which he won nearly all of the major battleground states.
Democrats who are considering running for president in 2016 would be delighted to tap into the lists of names, technology, and knowhow that the Obama team amassed, but Plouffe warned that it was not as simple as taking over such assets.
“For candidates who want to try and build a grassroots campaign, it’s not going to happen because there is a list or because you have the best technology. That’s not how this works,” Plouffe said.
“They have to build up that kind of emotional appeal so that people are willing to go out there and spend the time and their resources and provide their talents because they believe in someone and in what you’re offering,” he said.
“The only reason that all this happened on the ground – whether it was 08 or this time … was because they believed in Barack Obama.”
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(CNN) – Video of President Barack Obama’s visit Wednesday to his campaign headquarters in Chicago shows the newly re-elected commander in chief becoming emotional while heralding the hard work of his young staffers.
“I am absolutely confident that all of you are going to do amazing things in your lives,” Obama says in the video, which was posted on his campaign’s official Youtube page Thursday.
In his brief speech to the young crowd, Obama drew parallels to the work his team had just finished and the community organizing post he took up when he first moved to the Windy City at 25, saying his campaign team was “so much better than I was” at accomplishing their goals.
Toward the end of his five-minute-long remarks, Obama got choked up telling the staffers how proud he was of their hard work.
“Even before last night’s results, I felt that the work I had done in running for office had come full circle. Because what you guys have done means that the work I am doing is important. And I’m really proud of that. I’m really proud of you,” Obama said, wiping away tears.
The show of emotion – extremely rare for Obama – was met with loud applause.
“What you guys have accomplished will go in the annals of history,” Obama said.
At his final campaign rally Monday in Iowa, a few tears rolled down Obama’s cheek as he delivered his last stump speech.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, speaking on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” said he found Obama’s emotional display in the campaign video “incredibly moving.”
“Putting aside whose side you’re on, who you voted for, to see a president of the United States being that raw, that emotional with his campaign volunteers and to see Barack Obama openly weeping at one stage, very unusual, very moving,” said Patrick, a Democrat.
Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor, said the moment was “unique in the history of the American presidency.”
“I’m not sure there has ever been any American president, perhaps no world leader that I know of in my lifetime, who has come out with that raw emotion in a very attractive way,” Rather said on CNN. “Again, whether you like his politics or not, for a lot of people this is going to be a case of ‘the ice man cracketh’ because he had this image of President Barack Obama as cool, ice water in his veins kind of person, and he can be that way.”
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A tale of two Obama acceptance speeches
By Jena McGregor, Published: November 7
Leading for Change
Jena McGregor NOV 7
To compare the two speeches is to see a leader who has learned much about how divided the country stands and how difficult change can be.
Tom Fox NOV 6
The author of The President as Leader talks about the four leadership qualities that define excellence in the White House.
It was a far cry from “change has come to America” and the “true genius of America: that America can change,” both memorable moments from the 2008 speech. There was plenty of truth to those statements, but also an element of presumption.
This time, the rhetoric was tempered with realism. Rather than invoking “a new spirit of patriotism” and reminding us that Lincoln said “we are not enemies but friends” who “must not break our bonds of affection”— lines from the 2008 speech—Obama repeatedly acknowledged the painful realities of divisive politics. In 2012, he called political arguments “a mark of our liberty” and admitted “we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there.” His tone was positive, hopeful, but also restrained and sober about the challenges he’ll face.
Conservative opinion writers are again calling Obama’s 2012 win one of “hope over experience.” But after four years of trying to lead a country so bitterly divided, it’s clear from the two acceptance speeches that this is a leader who has learned something from his four years in office. Changing our political dysfunction is less about ending our differences or stopping our political acrimony, the president seems to know now, and more about leading the country toward some semblance of common ground. He now faces the extraordinary challenge of helping us find it.
Jena McGregor is a columnist for the Washington Post’s On Leadership section.
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The Republican establishment has tried since November 2008 to paint Obama as an “affirmative action” president, “unworthy” of his election. It no doubt helped lead to venom and vitriolic hatred that was spewed on this very website over the last two years.
And it was politically unnecessary. It was a foolish gambit that backfired.
There were plenty of minorities who wondered if Obama hadn’t paid his dues and was unprepared for prime time or had any plans for moving the country FORWARD. That was understood from DAY ONE.
But rather than make that argument absent the racial overtones, the Republican leadership decided that it would do all it could to publicly disrespect President-elect and later President Obama because of the color of his skin.
And it was this style of leadership against which the minorities of this country joined with liberal white men and white women frightened by the anti- abortion, pro-rape rhetoric that even found Mitt Romney unwilling or unable to condemn or control.
This second speech was boiler plate. In the next few weeks, President Obama has to find away to address the elephant in the room. He has to find a way to tell the Republican leadership, “I’m black; get over it and let’s move FORWARD.”
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President Barack Obama
Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States.
His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.
With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.
After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.
He went on to attend law school, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community.
President Obama’s years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world’s most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.
He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.
Learn more about President Obama’s spouse, First Lady Michelle Obama.
Related Blog Posts
November 09, 2012 12:00 AM EST
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
November 03, 2012 4:30 AM EST
In this week’s address, President Obama thanks the brave first responders and National Guardsmen for their tireless work following one of the worst storms in our nation’s history, and reassures the millions of Americans affected by Hurricane Sandy that their country will be there for them during the long road to recovery.
November 01, 2012 11:00 PM EST
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. his week, with the arrival of the historic Superstorm Sandy, the President worked alongside FEMA officials and the American Red Cross, addressed the nation and federal agencies on emergency preparedness and recovery, and visited with some of those affected by the storm.
- view all related blog posts
|44th President of the United States|
January 20, 2009
|Vice President||Joe Biden|
|Preceded by||George W. Bush|
|United States Senator
January 3, 2005 – November 16, 2008
|Preceded by||Peter Fitzgerald|
|Succeeded by||Roland Burris|
|Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 13th District
January 8, 1997 – November 4, 2004
|Preceded by||Alice Palmer|
|Succeeded by||Kwame Raoul|
|Born||Barack Hussein Obama II
August 4, 1961 (age 51)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
|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 College (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Constitutional law professor
|Awards||Nobel Peace Prize|
|This article is part of a series on
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, running unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 2000.
Several events earned Obama national attention during his campaign to represent the State of Illinois in the United States Senate in 2004, including his victory in the March 2004 Illinois Democratic primary and his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He won the Senate election in November 2004. After a close race in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries, he won his party’s nomination against Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the 2008 presidential election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain, and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. Nine months later, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In November 2012, he was elected to a second term as president, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
In his first term as president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 in response to the 2007–2009 recession in the United States. Other major domestic policy initiatives include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, and the Budget Control Act of 2011. In foreign policy, Obama ended U.S. military involvement in the Iraq War, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia, ordered U.S. military involvement in Libya, and ordered the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. In May 2012, he became the first sitting U.S. president to publicly support legalizing same-sex marriage.
Early life and career
Obama was born on August 4, 1961, at Kapiʻolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital (now Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children) in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the first President to have been born in Hawaii. His mother, Ann Dunham, was born in Wichita, Kansas, and was of mostly English ancestry. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya. Obama’s parents met in 1960 in a Russian class at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where his father was a foreign student on scholarship. The couple married in Wailuku on Maui on February 2, 1961, and separated when Obama’s mother moved with her newborn son to Seattle, Washington, in late August 1961, to attend the University of Washington for one year. In the meantime, Obama, Sr. completed his undergraduate economics degree in Hawaii in June 1962, then left to attend graduate school at Harvard University on a scholarship. His parents divorced in March 1964. Obama Sr. returned to Kenya in 1964 where he remarried; he visited Barack in Hawaii only once, in 1971. He died in an automobile accident in 1982.
In 1963, Dunham met Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian East–West Center graduate student in geography at the University of Hawaii, and the couple were married on Molokai on March 15, 1965. After two one-year extensions of his J-1 visa, Lolo returned to Indonesia in 1966, followed sixteen months later by his wife and stepson in 1967, with the family initially living in a Menteng Dalam neighborhood in the Tebet subdistrict of south Jakarta, then from 1970 in a wealthier neighborhood in the Menteng subdistrict of central Jakarta. From ages six to ten, Obama attended local Indonesian-language schools: St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School for two years and Besuki Public School from one and half years, supplemented by English-language Calvert School home schooling by his mother.
In 1971, Obama returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, and with the aid of a scholarship attended Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, from fifth grade until his graduation from high school in 1979. Obama lived with his mother and sister 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 sister returned to Indonesia in 1975 to begin anthropology field work. His mother spent most of the next two decades in Indonesia, divorcing Lolo in 1980 and earning a Ph.D. in 1992, before dying in 1995 in Hawaii following treatment for ovarian cancer and uterine cancer.
Of his early childhood, Obama recalled, “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. Reflecting later on his years in Honolulu, Obama 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 that spent time together and occasionally smoked marijuana. At the 2008 Civil Forum on the Presidency, Obama expressed regret for his high-school drug use.
Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend Occidental College. In February 1981, he made his first public speech, calling for Occidental to divest from South Africa in response to its policy of apartheid. In mid-1981, Obama traveled to Indonesia to visit his mother and 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, where he majored in political science with a specialty in international relations and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1983. He worked for a year at the Business International Corporation, then at the New York Public Interest Research Group.
Chicago community organizer and Harvard Law School
Two years after graduating, Obama was hired in Chicago as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), 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. He returned to Kenya in 1992 with his fiancée Michelle and his sister Auma. He returned to Kenya in August 2006 for a visit to his father’s birthplace, a village near Kisumu in rural western Kenya.
In late 1988, Obama entered Harvard Law School. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year, and president of the journal in his second year. During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as an associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990. After graduating with a J.D. 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 at the University of Chicago Law School for twelve years—as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996, and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004—teaching constitutional law.
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.
In 1993, 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. 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: 1997–2008
State Senator: 1997–2004
Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator 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.
Obama was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, defeating Republican Yesse Yehudah in the general election, and was reelected 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 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.
U.S. Senate campaign
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 that “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 fifteen 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 9.1 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 percent of the vote.
U.S. Senator: 2005–2008
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 in 2005–2007. 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.
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.
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 Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, and the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007, neither of which was signed into law.
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 has not passed committee; 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.
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.
2008 presidential campaign
Obama stands 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 providing universal health care, in a campaign that projected themes of “hope” and “change”.
A large number of candidates entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries. The field narrowed to a duel between Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham 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.
On August 23, Obama announced his selection of Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. Biden was selected 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 over 75,000; 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 the two 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 presidential campaign
On April 4, 2011, Obama announced his re-election 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, on September 5, 2012, former President Bill Clinton formally nominated Obama and Joe Biden as the Democratic Party candidates for president and vice president in the general election, in which their main opponents were Republicans Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The Democrats emerged from their convention with momentum and significant polling advantage, but what followed – in the final month of the campaign – was an extremely hard-fought nail-biter of a race that focused chiefly on economic issues (jobs, unemployment, deficit) and budget priorities, battling over the wisdom of returning to Clinton-era-level tax rates for the wealthiest Americans for the sake of maintaining expenditures on infrastructure, education, etc., versus the GOP platform insisting on tax cuts across the board combined with severe cuts to all non-discretionary spending. Other key issues involved women’s freedom and equality (regarding their bodies and their jobs); the future of Social Security and Medicare as well as the new health care reform referred to as “Obamacare”; and foreign affairs issues involving Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Israel, and Libya in particular. Three Presidential debates proved to be more than usually impactful on the shape of the election, with Obama – as he later acknowledged – being caught offguard by a new Romney who suddenly changed his major stances in the first debate, scuttling overnight his “severe conservative” positions for moderate ones and denying ever having held his prior positions. That first debate threw a race that had seemed increasingly secure for the President into turmoil and gave the GOP an unexpected momentum. The second and third debates found a reinvigorated Obama, prepared for his opponent’s shifting positions, and by the time the debates were behind them, Obama had regained momentum, which was then arguably furthered by a vicious hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast one week prior to election day and putting the President into official emergency leadership mode and, perhaps more significantly, reminding the electorate of the vital role of government, which Obama’s policy positions stood for and his opponents’ had stood against.
On November 6, 2012, Obama won 332 delegates to the electoral college, exceeding the 270 delegates required to be elected to a second term as president. Obama became the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win the majority of the popular vote twice. President Obama addressed supporters and volunteers at Chicago’s McCormick Place after his reelection and told them: “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.”
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. 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.
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 which had limited funding of embryonic stem cell research and pledged to develop “strict guidelines” on the research.
Obama appointed two women to serve on the Supreme Court in the first two years of his Presidency. Sonia Sotomayor, nominated by Obama on May 26, 2009, to replace retiring Associate Justice David Souter, was confirmed on August 6, 2009, becoming the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Elena Kagan, nominated by Obama on May 10, 2010, to replace retiring Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, was confirmed on August 5, 2010, bringing the number of women sitting simultaneously on the Court to three, for the first time in American history.
On September 30, 2009, the Obama administration proposed new regulations on power plants, factories and oil refineries in an attempt to limit greenhouse gas emissions and to curb global warming.
On October 8, 2009, Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a measure that expands 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 March 30, 2010, Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, a reconciliation bill which ends the process of the federal government giving subsidies to private banks to give out federally insured loans, increases the Pell Grant scholarship award, and makes changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
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 manned mission to Mars, and ongoing missions to the International Space Station.
On December 22, 2010, Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, fulfilling 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.
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 that the United States would have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 and would be 80% reliant on “clean” electricity.
As a candidate for the Illinois state senate Obama had said in 1996 that he favored legalizing same-sex marriage; but by the time of his run for the U.S. senate in 2004, he said that while he supported civil unions and domestic partnerships for same-sex partners, for strategic reasons he opposed same-sex marriages. 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.
On February 17, 2009, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion economic stimulus package aimed at helping the economy recover from the deepening worldwide recession. The act includes increased federal spending for health care, infrastructure, education, various tax breaks and incentives, and direct assistance to individuals, which is being distributed over the course of several years.
In March, Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, took further steps to manage the financial crisis, including introducing the Public-Private Investment Program for Legacy Assets, which contains provisions for buying up to $2 trillion in depreciated real estate assets. Obama intervened in the troubled automotive industry in March 2009, renewing loans for General Motors and Chrysler to continue operations while reorganizing. Over the following months the White House set terms for both firms’ bankruptcies, including the sale of Chrysler to Italian automaker Fiat and a reorganization of GM giving the U.S. government a temporary 60% equity stake in the company, with the Canadian government taking a 12% stake. In June 2009, dissatisfied with the pace of economic stimulus, Obama called on his cabinet to accelerate the investment. He signed into law the Car Allowance Rebate System, known colloquially as “Cash for Clunkers”, that temporarily boosted the economy.
Although spending and loan guarantees from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department authorized by the Bush and Obama administrations totaled about $11.5 trillion, only $3 trillion had been spent by the end of November 2009. However, Obama and the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the 2010 budget deficit will be $1.5 trillion or 10.6% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) compared to the 2009 deficit of $1.4 trillion or 9.9% of GDP. For 2011, the administration predicted the deficit will slightly shrink to $1.34 trillion, while the 10-year deficit will increase to $8.53 trillion or 90% of GDP. The most recent increase in the U.S. debt ceiling to $16.4 trillion was signed into law on January 26, 2012. On August 2, 2011, after a lengthy congressional debate over whether to raise the nation’s debt limit, Obama signed the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011. The legislation enforces limits on discretionary spending until 2021, establishes a procedure to increase the debt limit, creates a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to propose further deficit reduction with a stated goal of achieving at least $1.5 trillion in budgetary savings over 10 years, and establishes automatic procedures for reducing spending by as much as $1.2 trillion if legislation originating with the new joint select committee does not achieve such savings. By passing the legislation, Congress was able to prevent a U.S. government default on its obligations.
As it did throughout 2008, the unemployment rate rose in 2009, reaching a peak in October at 10.0% and averaging 10.0% in the fourth quarter. Following a decrease to 9.7% in the first quarter of 2010, the unemployment rate fell to 9.6% in the second quarter, where it remained for the rest of the year. Between February and December 2010, employment rose by 0.8%, which was less than the average of 1.9% experienced during comparable periods in the past four employment recoveries. GDP growth returned in the third quarter of 2009, expanding at a rate of 1.6%, followed by a 5.0% increase in the fourth quarter. Growth continued in 2010, posting an increase of 3.7% in the first quarter, with lesser gains throughout the rest of the year. In July 2010, the Federal Reserve expressed that although economic activity continued to increase, its pace had slowed, and Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that the economic outlook was “unusually uncertain.” Overall, the economy expanded at a rate of 2.9% in 2010.
The Congressional Budget Office and a broad range of economists credit Obama’s stimulus plan for economic growth. The CBO released a report stating that the stimulus bill increased employment by 1–2.1 million, while conceding that “It is impossible to determine how many of the reported jobs would have existed in the absence of the stimulus package.” Although an April 2010 survey of members of the National Association for Business Economics showed an increase in job creation (over a similar January survey) for the first time in two years, 73% of 68 respondents believed that the stimulus bill has had no impact on employment.
Within a month of the 2010 midterm elections, Obama announced a compromise deal with the Congressional Republican leadership that included a temporary, two-year extension of the 2001 and 2003 income tax rates, a one-year payroll tax reduction, continuation of unemployment benefits, and a new rate and exemption amount for estate taxes. The compromise overcame opposition from some in both parties, and the resulting $858 billion Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 passed with bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress before Obama signed it on December 17, 2010.
Health care reform
Obama called for Congress to pass legislation reforming health care in the United States, a key campaign promise and a top legislative goal. He proposed an expansion of health insurance coverage to cover the uninsured, to cap premium increases, and to allow people to retain their coverage when they leave or change jobs. His proposal was to spend $900 billion over 10 years and include a government insurance plan, also known as the public option, to compete with the corporate insurance sector as a main component to lowering costs and improving quality of health care. It would also make it illegal for insurers to drop sick people or deny them coverage for pre-existing conditions, and require every American carry health coverage. The plan also includes medical spending cuts and taxes on insurance companies that offer expensive plans.
On July 14, 2009, House Democratic leaders introduced a 1,017-page plan for overhauling the U.S. health care system, which Obama wanted Congress to approve by the end of 2009. After much public debate during the Congressional summer recess of 2009, Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress on September 9 where he addressed concerns over the proposals. In March 2009, Obama lifted a ban on using federal funds for stem cell research.
On November 7, 2009, a health care bill featuring the public option was passed in the House. On December 24, 2009, the Senate passed its own bill—without a public option—on a party-line vote of 60–39. On March 21, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by the Senate in December was passed in the House by a vote of 219 to 212. Obama signed the bill into law on March 23, 2010.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes health-related provisions to take effect over four years, including expanding Medicaid eligibility for people making up to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL) starting in 2014, subsidizing insurance premiums for people making up to 400% of the FPL ($88,000 for family of four in 2010) so their maximum “out-of-pocket” payment for annual premiums will be from 2 to 9.5% of income, providing incentives for businesses to provide health care benefits, prohibiting denial of coverage and denial of claims based on pre-existing conditions, establishing health insurance exchanges, prohibiting annual coverage caps, and support for medical research. According to White House and Congressional Budget Office figures, the maximum share of income that enrollees would have to pay would vary depending on their income relative to the federal poverty level.
The costs of these provisions are offset by taxes, fees, and cost-saving measures, such as new Medicare taxes for those in high-income brackets, taxes on indoor tanning, cuts to the Medicare Advantage program in favor of traditional Medicare, and fees on medical devices and pharmaceutical companies; there is also a tax penalty for those who do not obtain health insurance, unless they are exempt due to low income or other reasons. In March, 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the net effect of both laws will be a reduction in the federal deficit by $143 billion over the first decade.
The law faced several legal challenges, primarily based on the argument that an individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance was unconstitutional. On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5–4 vote in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius that the Commerce Clause does not allow the government to require people to buy health insurance, but the mandate was constitutional under the US Congress’s taxing authority.
Gulf of Mexico oil spill
On April 20, 2010, an explosion destroyed an offshore drilling rig at the Macondo Prospect in the Gulf of Mexico, causing a major sustained oil leak. The well’s operator, BP, initiated a containment and cleanup plan, and began drilling two relief wells intended to stop the flow. Obama visited the Gulf on May 2 among visits by members of his cabinet, and again on May 28 and June 4. On May 22, he announced a federal investigation and formed a bipartisan commission to recommend new safety standards, after a review by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and concurrent Congressional hearings. On May 27, he announced a 6-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling permits and leases, pending regulatory review. As multiple efforts by BP failed, some in the media and public expressed confusion and criticism over various aspects of the incident, and stated a desire for more involvement by Obama and the federal government.
2010 midterm election
Obama called the November 2, 2010 election, where the Democratic Party lost 63 seats in, and control of, the House of Representatives, “humbling” and a “shellacking”. He said that the results came because not enough Americans had felt the effects of the economic recovery.
In February and March, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made separate overseas trips to announce a “new era” in U.S. foreign relations with Russia and Europe, using the terms “break” and “reset” to signal major changes from the policies of the preceding administration. Obama attempted to reach out to Arab leaders by granting his first interview to an Arab cable TV network, Al Arabiya.
On March 19, Obama continued his outreach to the Muslim world, releasing a New Year’s video message to the people and government of Iran. This attempt was rebuffed by the Iranian leadership. In April, Obama gave a speech in Ankara, Turkey, which was well received by many Arab governments. On June 4, 2009, Obama delivered a speech at Cairo University in Egypt calling for “a new beginning” in relations between the Islamic world and the United States and promoting Middle East peace.
On June 26, 2009, in response to the Iranian government’s actions towards protesters following Iran’s 2009 presidential election, Obama said: “The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. We see it and we condemn it.” On July 7, while in Moscow, he responded to a Vice President Biden comment on a possible Israeli military strike on Iran by saying: “We have said directly to the Israelis that it is important to try and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East.”
In March 2010, Obama took a public stance against plans by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue building Jewish housing projects in predominantly Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. During the same month, an agreement was reached with the administration of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new pact reducing the number of long-range nuclear weapons in the arsenals of both countries by about one-third. The New START treaty was signed by Obama and Medvedev in April 2010, and was ratified by the U.S. Senate in December 2010.
On February 27, 2009, Obama announced that combat operations in Iraq would end within 18 months. His remarks were made to a group of Marines preparing for deployment to Afghanistan. Obama said, “Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.” The Obama administration scheduled the withdrawal of combat troops to be completed by August 2010, decreasing troops levels from 142,000 while leaving a transitional force of 35,000 to 50,000 in Iraq until the end of 2011.[needs update] On August 19, 2010, the last United States combat brigade exited Iraq. Remaining troops transitioned from combat operations to counter-terrorism and the training, equipping, and advising of Iraqi security forces. On August 31, 2010, Obama announced that the United States combat mission in Iraq was over. On October 21, 2011 President Obama announced that all U.S. troops would leave Iraq in time to be “home for the holidays”.
War in Afghanistan
Early in his presidency, Obama moved to bolster U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan. He announced an increase to U.S. troop levels of 17,000 in February 2009 to “stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan”, an area he said had not received the “strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires”. He replaced the military commander in Afghanistan, General David D. McKiernan, with former Special Forces commander Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal in May 2009, indicating that McChrystal’s Special Forces experience would facilitate the use of counterinsurgency tactics in the war. On December 1, 2009, Obama announced the deployment of an additional 30,000 military personnel to Afghanistan. He also proposed to begin troop withdrawals 18 months from that date.[needs update] McChrystal was replaced by David Petraeus in June 2010, after McChrystal’s staff criticized White House personnel in a magazine article.
Obama referred to the bond between the United States and Israel as “unbreakable.” During the initial years of the Obama administration, the U.S. increased military cooperation with Israel, including increased military aid, re-establishment of the U.S.-Israeli Joint Political Military Group and the Defense Policy Advisory Group, and an increase in visits among high-level military officials of both countries. The Obama administration asked Congress to allocate money toward funding the Iron Dome program in response to the waves of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.
In 2011, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, with the United States being the only nation to do so. Obama supports the two-state solution to the Arab–Israeli conflict based on the 1967 borders with land swaps.
War in Libya
In March 2011, as forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi advanced on rebels across Libya, calls for a no-fly zone came from around the world, including Europe, the Arab League, and a resolution passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. In response to the unanimous passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 on March 17, Gaddafi who had previously vowed to “show no mercy” to the rebels of Benghazi—announced an immediate cessation of military activities, yet reports came in that his forces continued shelling Misrata. The next day, on Obama’s orders, the U.S. military took a lead role in air strikes to destroy the Libyan government’s air defense capabilities to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly-zone, including the use of Tomahawk missiles, B-2 Spirits, and fighter jets. Six days later, on March 25, by unanimous vote of all of its 28 members, NATO took over leadership of the effort, dubbed Operation Unified Protector. Some Representatives questioned whether Obama had the constitutional authority to order military action in addition to questioning its cost, structure and aftermath.
Osama bin Laden
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Starting with information received in July 2010, intelligence developed by the CIA over the next several months determined what they believed to be the location of Osama bin Laden in a large compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a suburban area 35 miles 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, resulting in the death of bin Laden and the seizure of papers, computer drives and disks from the compound. Bin Laden’s body was identified through DNA testing, and 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, and from many countries around the world.
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 has delivered a series of weekly Internet video addresses.
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, which lasted until around June 2011, when his approval numbers dropped back to where they were prior to the operation. Polls show strong support for Obama in other countries, and before being elected President he met with prominent foreign figures including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Italy’s Democratic Party leader and Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Obama talks with pub-goers as the First Lady draws a pint of stout at the Ollie Hayes pub in Moneygall, Ireland, in 2011
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.
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, Time magazine named Obama as its Person of the Year for his historic candidacy and election, which it described as “the steady march of seemingly impossible accomplishments”.
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 is the fourth U.S. president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the third to become a Nobel laureate while in office.
Family and personal life
Obama posing in the Green Room of the White House with wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia in 2009
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, the daughter of his mother and her Indonesian second husband) and seven 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.
Obama was known as “Barry” in his youth, but asked to be addressed with his given name during his college years. Besides his native English, Obama speaks some basic Indonesian, having learned the language during his four childhood years in Jakarta. He plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school’s varsity team; he is left-handed.
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.
In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin. Assigned for three months as Obama’s adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at 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. The couple’s first daughter, Malia Ann, was born on July 4, 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha (“Sasha”), on June 10, 2001. The Obama daughters attended the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. When they moved to Washington, D.C., in January 2009, the girls started at the private Sidwell Friends School. The Obamas have a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo, a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy.
Applying the proceeds of a book deal, the family moved in 2005 from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to a $1.6 million house 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 estimated the Obama family’s net worth at $1.3 million. 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. As per his 2012 financial disclosure, Obama may be worth as much as $10 million.
Obama is a 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 (whom Obama has specified elsewhere as “non-practicing Methodists and Baptists“), as being detached from religion, yet “in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known”. 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”.
In an interview with the evangelical periodical Christianity Today, Obama stated: “I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that 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 was baptized at the Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988, and was an active member there for two decades. He resigned from Trinity during the presidential campaign after controversial statements made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright became public. After a prolonged effort to find a church to attend regularly in Washington, Obama announced in June 2009 that his primary place of worship would be the Evergreen Chapel at Camp David.
- ^ “President Barack Obama”. Washington, D.C.: The White House. 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
- ^ a b “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. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
- ^ “American President: Barack Obama”. Charlottesville, VA: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. 2009. Archived from the originalon January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2009. “Religion: Christian”
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- Miller, Lisa (July 18, 2008). “Finding his faith”. Newsweek. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2010. “He is now a Christian, having been baptized in the early 1990s at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.”
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- for analysis of the political impact of the quote and Obama’s more recent admission that he smoked marijuana as a teenager (“When I was a kid, I inhaled”), see:
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- ^ Henningsen, Patrick (May 23, 2011). “Washington Still Working Hard to Plug Gaps in The Bin Laden Story”, 21st Century Wire. Retrieved June 7, 2011
- ^ “World wants Obama as president: poll”. Reuters. ABC News. September 9, 2008.
- ^ “Obama to visit nuclear, biological weapons destruction facilities in former Soviet Union”. Obama.senate.gov. August 24, 2005. Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- ^ Scherer, Steve (September 12, 2007). “Rome Mayor’s Leadership Bid May Lead to Early Italian Elections”. Bloomberg. Archived from the original on May 10, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- ^ Pedder, Sophie (February 20, 2008). “Sarkozy, Obama and McCain”. The Economist. Retrieved November 20, 2008.
- ^ Freed, John C. (February 6, 2009). “Poll shows Obama atop list of most respected”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- ^ “Obama Most Popular Leader, Poll Finds”. The New York Times. May 29, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- ^ “Obama remains a popular symbol of hope”. France 24. June 2, 2009. Archived from the original on May 13, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- ^ Goodman, Dean (February 10, 2008). “Obama or Clinton? Grammys go for Obama”. Reuters. Archived from the original on December 19, 2008. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
- ^ Strange, Hannah (March 5, 2008). “Celebrities join YouTube revolution”. The Times (London). Retrieved December 18, 2008.
- ^ Wappler, Margaret (June 20, 2008). “Emmys give knuckle bump to will.i.am; more videos on the way”. Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
- ^ Von Drehle, David (December 16, 2008). “Why History Can’t Wait”. Time. Archived from the original on December 17, 2008. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
- ^ “The Nobel Peace Prize 2009″. Nobel Foundation. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
- ^ “Obama: ‘Peace requires responsibility’”. CNN. December 10, 2009. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
- ^ Philp, Catherine (October 10, 2009). “Barack Obama’s peace prize starts a fight”. The Times (London). Retrieved October 10, 2009.
- ^ Samuelsohn, Darren (October 9, 2009). “Obama Wins Nobel Prize in Part for Confronting ‘Great Climatic Challenges’”. The New York Times (Greenwire). Archived from the original on April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2010.
- ^ “Keeping Hope Alive: Barack Obama Puts Family First”. The Oprah Winfrey Show. October 18, 2006. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- ^ Fornek, Scott (September 9, 2007). “Half Siblings: ‘A Complicated Family’”. Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on January 18, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2008. See also:“Interactive Family Tree”. Chicago Sun-Times. September 9, 2007. Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- ^ Fornek, Scott (September 9, 2007). “Madelyn Payne Dunham: ‘A Trailblazer’”. Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on May 14, 2009. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- ^ “Obama’s grandmother dies after battle with cancer”. CNN. November 3, 2008. Archived from the original on November 3, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2008.
- ^ Smolenyak, Megan (May 9, 2011). “Tracing Barack Obama’s Roots to Moneygall”. The Huffington Post.
- ^ Obama (1995, 2004), p. 13. For reports on Obama’s maternal genealogy, including slave owners, Irish connections, and common ancestors with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Harry Truman, see:Nitkin, David; Harry Merritt (March 2, 2007). “A New Twist to an Intriguing Family History”. Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved June 24, 2008.Jordan, Mary (May 13, 2007). “Tiny Irish Village Is Latest Place to Claim Obama as Its Own”. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2008.“Obama’s Family Tree Has a Few Surprises”. Associated Press. CBS 2 (Chicago). September 8, 2007. Archived from the original on June 2, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
- ^ “When Barry Became Barack”. Newsweek. March 31, 2008. Archived from the original on October 29, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
- ^ Zimmer, Benjamin (2009). “Obama’s Indonesian Redux”. Language Log. Archived from the originalon March 3, 2009. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
- ^ Zimmer, Benjamin (January 23, 2009). “Obama’s Indonesian pleasantries: the video”. Language Log (University of Pennsylvania). Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- ^ Kantor, Jodi (June 1, 2007). “One Place Where Obama Goes Elbow to Elbow”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 24, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008. See also: “The Love of the Game” (video). Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO). April 15, 2008. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay; Kirkpatrick, David D.; Shane, Scott (22 January 2009). “On First Day, Obama Quickly Sets a New Tone”. The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- ^ “Barack Obama: White Sox ‘serious’ ball”. The Swamp. August 25, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
- ^ “Barack Obama Explains White Sox Jacket, Talks Nats in All-Star Booth Visit”. MLB Fanhouse. July 14, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2009.
- ^ Branigin, William (January 30, 2009). “Steelers Win Obama’s Approval”. The Washington Post. “But other than the Bears, the Steelers are probably the team that’s closest to my heart.”
- ^ Mayer, Larry (2011-10-07). “1985 Bears honored by President Obama”. Chicago Bears. Retrieved 2012-11-04.
- ^ Obama (2006), pp. 327–332. See also:Brown, Sarah (December 7, 2005). “Obama ’85 masters balancing act”. The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
- ^ Obama (2006), p. 329.
- ^ Fornek, Scott (October 3, 2007). “Michelle Obama: ‘He Swept Me Off My Feet’”. Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on January 18, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
- ^ Martin, Jonathan (July 4, 2008). “Born on the 4th of July”. Politico. Archived from the original on July 10, 2008. Retrieved July 10, 2008.
- ^ Obama (1995, 2004), p. 440, and Obama (2006), pp. 339–340. See also:“Election 2008 Information Center: Barack Obama”. Gannett News Service. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
- ^ “Obamas choose private Sidwell Friends School”, International Herald Tribune, November 22, 2008
- ^ Cooper, Helene (April 13, 2009). “One Obama Search Ends With a Puppy Named Bo”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- ^ Zeleny, Jeff (December 24, 2005). “The first time around: Sen. Obama’s freshman year”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
- ^ Slevin, Peter (December 17, 2006). “Obama says he regrets land deal with fundraiser”. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 10, 2008.
- ^ Harris, Marlys (December 7, 2007). “Obama’s Money”. CNNMoney.com. Archived from the original on April 24, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
See also:Goldfarb, Zachary A (March 24, 2007). “Measuring Wealth of the ’08 Candidates”. The Washington Post. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
- ^ Zeleny, Jeff (April 17, 2008). “Book Sales Lifted Obamas’ Income in 2007 to a Total of $4.2 Million”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
- ^ Shear, Michael D.; Hilzenrath, David S. (April 16, 2010). “Obamas report $5.5 million in income on 2009 tax return”. The Washington Post. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- ^ Solman, Paul (April 18, 2011). “How Much Did President Obama Make in 2010?”. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- ^ Solman, Paul (April 27, 2011). “The Obamas Gave $131,000 to Fisher House Foundation in 2010; What Is It?”. PBS NewsHour. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- ^ Wolf, Richard (May 16, 2012). “Obama worth as much as $10 million”. USA Today. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- ^ Elsner, Alan (December 7, 2008). Obama says he won’t be smoking in White House”. Reuters. Retrieved February 28, 2010.
- ^ Zengerle, Patricia (February 8, 2011). “Yes, he did: first lady says Obama quit smoking”. Reuters. Retrieved May 9, 2011.
- ^ Obama (2006), pp. 202–208. Portions excerpted in: Obama, Barack (October 16, 2006). “My Spiritual Journey”. Time. Archived from the originalon April 30, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008.
- ^ Christianity Today: “Q&A: Barack Obama” Interview by Sarah Pulliam and Ted Olsen, January 23, 2008.
- ^ Obama ‘Christian By Choice’: President Responds To Questioner by Charles Babington and Darlene Superville, Associated Press, September 28, 2010
- ^ Video – President Obama: “I am a Christian By Choice” by ABC News, September 29, 2010.
- ^ Kantor, Jodi (April 30, 2007). “Barack Obama’s search for faith”. The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2007.
- ^ “Obama’s church choice likely to be scrutinized”. Associated Press. msnbc.com. November 17, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- ^ Sullivan, Amy (June 29, 2009). “The Obamas Find a Church Home—Away from Home”. Time. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
- Jacobs, Sally H. (2011). The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father. New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-793-5.
- Maraniss, David (2012). Barack Obama: The Story. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-6040-4.
- Mendell, David (2007). Obama: From Promise to Power. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-085820-9.
- Obama, Barack (1995, 2004). Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-1-4000-8277-3.
- Obama, Barack (2006). The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. New York: Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-307-23769-9.
- Scott, Janny (2011). A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother. New York: Riverhead Books. ISBN 978-1-59448-797-2.
- Graff, Garrett. “The Legend of Barack Obama“, Washingtonian, November 1, 2006. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
- Koltun, Dave (2005) “The 2004 Illinois Senate Race: Obama Wins Open Seat and Becomes National Political “Star”" in “The Road to Congress 2004″ Editors: Sunil Ahuja (Youngstown State University) and Robert Dewhirst (Truman State University), Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, New York, 2005, ISBN 1-59454-360-7
- Lizza, Ryan. “Above the Fray“, GQ, September 2007. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
- MacFarquhar, Larissa. “The Conciliator: Where is Barack Obama Coming From?“, The New Yorker, May 7, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
- McClelland, Edward, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President, Bloomsbury Press, 2010.
- Zutter, Hank De. “What Makes Obama Run?“, Chicago Reader, December 8, 1995. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
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- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Financial information at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance at LegiStorm.com
- Campaign finance reports and data at the Federal Election Commission
- Campaign contributions at the National Institute for Money in State Politics
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- Works by or about Barack Obama in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Collected news and commentary at the Chicago Tribune
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Candidate Popular vote Percentage Electoral votes (270 to win) Barack Obama 61170405 50% 303 Mitt Romney 58163977 48% 206Control of House218 Balance of power 193 233Control of Senate50 Balance of power 53 45Last Updated: Nov 9, 2012 3:47 AMSource: AP
Washington Post - 1 day agoTo compare the two speeches is to see a leader who has learned much about how divided the country stands and how difficult change can be.
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