Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States. He was a civil-rights lawyer and teacher before pursuing a political career. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, serving from 1997 to 2004. He w as elected to the U. S. presidency in 2008, and won re-election in 2012 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. President Obama continues to enact policy changes in response to the issues of health care and economic crisis.
Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
His mother, Ann Dunham, In 1965, married Lolo Soetoro, an East–West Center student from Indonesia. at the age of 10, Barack was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. Excelling in School While living with his grandparents, Obama enrolled in the esteemed Punahou Academy, excelling in basketball and graduating with academic honors in 1979. As one of only three black students at the school, Obama became conscious of racism and what it meant to be African-American.
He later described how he struggled to reconcile social perceptions of his multiracial heritage with his own sense of self: “I began to notice there was nobody like me in the Sears, Roebuck Christmas catalog … and that Santa was a white man,” he said. “I went to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror with all my senses and limbs seemingly intact, looking the way I had always looked, and wondered if something was wrong with me. ” Obama also struggled with the absence of his father, who he saw only once more after his parents divorced, when Obama Sr. isited Hawaii for a short time in 1971. “[My father] had left paradise, and nothing that my mother or grandparents told me could obviate that single, unassailable fact,” he later reflected. “They couldn’t describe what it might have been like had he stayed. ” Ten years later, in 1981, tragedy struck Obama Sr. He was involved in a serious car accident, losing both of his legs as a result. Confined to a wheelchair, he also lost his job. In 1982, Obama Sr. was involved in yet another car accident while traveling in Nairobi.
This time, however, the crash was fatal. Obama Sr. died on November 24, 1982, when Barack was 21 years old. “At the time of his death, my father remained a myth to me,” Obama later said, “both more and less than a man. ” Law Career It was during this time that Barack Obama, who said he “was not raised in a religious household,” joined the Trinity United Church of Christ. He also visited relatives in Kenya, which included an emotional visit to the graves of his biological father and paternal grandfather. For a long time I sat between the two graves and wept,” Obama said. “I saw that my life in America—the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I’d witnessed in Chicago—all of it was connected with this small plot of earth an ocean away. ” Obama returned from Kenya with a sense of renewal, entering Harvard Law School in 1988. The next year, he met Michelle Robinson, an associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin.
She was assigned to be Obama’s adviser during a summer internship at the firm, and not long after, the couple began dating. Their first kiss took place outside of a Chicago shopping center—where a plaque featuring a photo of the couple kissing was installed more than two decades later, in August 2012. In February 1990, Obama was elected the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1991. After law school, Obama returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer, joining the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland.
He also taught part time at the University of Chicago Law School (1992-2004)—first as a lecturer and then as a professor—and helped organize voter registration drives during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. On October 3, 1992, he and Michelle were married. They moved to Kenwood, on Chicago’s South Side, and welcomed two daughters several years later: Malia (born 1998) and Sasha (born 2001). Entry into Illinois Politics Obama published an autobiography, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, in 1995.
The work received high praise from literary figures like Toni Morrison and has since been printed in 10 languages, including Chinese, Swedish and Hebrew. The book had a second printing in 2004, and was adapted for a children’s version. The 2006 audiobook version of Dreams, narrated by Obama, received a Grammy Award (best spoken word album). Obama’s advocacy work led him to run for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He ran as a Democrat, and won election in 1996.
During these years, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to draft legislation on ethics, and expand health care services and early childhood education programs for the poor. He also created a state earned-income tax credit for the working poor. Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee as well, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, he worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.
In 2000, Obama made an unsuccessful Democratic primary run for the U. S. House of Representatives seat held by four-term incumbent candidate Bobby Rush. Undeterred, he created a campaign committee in 2002, and began raising funds to run for a seat in the U. S. Senate in 2004. With the help of political consultant David Axelrod, Obama began assessing his prospects of a Senate win. Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001,Obama was an early opponent of President George W. Bush’s push to go to war with Iraq.
Obama was still a state senator when he spoke against a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq during a rally at Chicago’s Federal Plaza in October 2002. “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars,” he said. “What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. ” Despite his protests, the Iraq War began in 2003. 008 Presidential Election In February 2007, Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
He was locked in a tight battle with former first lady and then-U. S. senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton. On June 3, 2008, however, Obama became the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party, and Senator Clinton delivered her full support to Obama for the duration of his campaign. On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama defeated Republican presidential nomineeJohn McCain, 52. 9 percent to 45. 7 ercent, winning election as the 44th president of the United States—and the first African-American to hold this office. His running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden, became vice president. Obama’s inauguration took place on January 20, 2009. When Obama took office, he inherited a global economic recession, two ongoing foreign wars and the lowest international favorability rating for the United States ever. He campaigned on an ambitious agenda of financial reform, alternative energy, and reinventing education and health care—all while bringing down the national debt.
Because these issues were intertwined with the economic well-being of the nation, he believed all would have to be undertaken simultaneously. During his inauguration speech, Obama summarized the situation by saying, “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met. ” 2010 State of the Union On January 27, 2010, President Obama delivered his first State of the Union speech.
During his oration, Obama addressed the challenges of the economy, proposing a fee for larger banks, announcing a possible freeze on government spending in 2010 and speaking against the Supreme Court’s reversal of a law capping campaign finance spending. He also challenged politicians to stop thinking of re-election and start making positive changes, criticizing Republicans for their refusal to support any legislation, and chastizing Democrats for not pushing hard enough to get legislation passed.
He also insisted that, despite obstacles, he was determined to help American citizens through the nation’s current domestic difficulties. “We don’t quit. I don’t quit,” he said. “Let’s seize this moment to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and strengthen our union once more. ” 2012 Re-Election As he did in 2008, during his campaign for a second presidential term, Obama focused on grassroots initiatives. Celebrities such asAnna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker aided the president’s campaign by hosting fund-raising events.
In the 2012 election, Obama faced Republican opponent Mitt Romney and Romney’s vice-presidential running mate, U. S. Representative Paul Ryan. On November 6, 2012, Obama was announced as the winner of the election, gaining a second four-year term as president. “I guarantee you we will move this country forward,” Obama stated in June 2012, at a campaign event in Maryland. “We will finish what we started. And we’ll remind the world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. “
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