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==Candidate endorsements==
==Candidate endorsements==
*Obama endorsed Sen. '''[[Brian Schatz]]''' in the [[United States Senate special election in Hawaii, 2014|2014 Hawaii special election]] to replace the late Sen. [[Daniel Inouye]]. Rep. [[Colleen Hanabusa]] is running against Schatz in the [[Democratic]] primary as the desired choice of Inouye to replace him. [[Governor of Hawaii]] [[Neil Abercrombie]] appointed Schatz, who was [[Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii|Lt. Governor]]. Schatz {{2014isseeking}} the Democratic nomination on August 9, 2014.<ref>[ ''Real Clear Politics'', "Obama Endorses Schatz in Hawaii Senate Race," March 31, 2014]</ref>
*Obama endorsed Sen. '''[[Brian Schatz]]''' in the [[United States Senate special election in Hawaii, 2014|2014 Hawaii special election]] to replace the late Sen. [[Daniel Inouye]]. Rep. [[Colleen Hanabusa]] is running against Schatz in the [[Democratic]] primary as the desired choice of Inouye to replace him. [[Governor of Hawaii]] [[Neil Abercrombie]] appointed Schatz, who was [[Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii|Lt. Governor]]. Schatz {{2014isseeking}} the Democratic nomination on August 9, 2014.<ref>[ ''Real Clear Politics'', "Obama Endorses Schatz in Hawaii Senate Race," March 31, 2014]</ref>
==Political positions==
Obama made several statements in a campaign video released in October, 2007 related to defense spending and nuclear weapons. In addition to promising to end the war in Iraq, Obama stated that he would enact budget cuts in the range of tens of billions of dollars. He stated that he will stop investing in missile defense systems, that he will not weaponize space, that he will "slow development of future combat systems," and that he would work towards a world without nuclear weapons. To achieve this goal, Obama wishes to end development of new nuclear weapons, to reduce the current U.S. nuclear stockpile, to enact a global ban on production of fissile material, and to seek negotiations with Russia in order to take ICBMs off high alert status.<ref>{{cite news |people=Barack Obama |date2=2007-10-22 |title=Obama-Caucus4Priorities |url= |format=flv |publisher=Obama '08 |accessdate=2008-05-18}}</ref>
===Economic affairs===
On the role of government in economic affairs, Obama has written: "We should be asking ourselves what mix of policies will lead to a dynamic free market and widespread economic security, entrepreneurial innovation and upward mobility [...] we should be guided by what works."<ref>Obama (2006), p. 159.</ref> Speaking before the National Press Club in April 2005, he defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, associating Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security with social Darwinism.<ref>{{cite news | first=Ben A | last=Franklin | title=The Fifth Black Senator in U.S. History Makes F.D.R. His Icon | date=June 1 2005 | url= | work =Washington Spectator | accessdate = 2008-01-14 | }}</ref> In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Obama spoke out against government indifference to growing economic class divisions, calling on both political parties to take action to restore the social safety net for the poor.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jeff | last=Zeleny | title=Judicious Obama Turns Up Volume | date=September 12 2005 | url=,1,5984193.story?coll=chi-news-hed | work=Chicago Tribune | accessdate = 2008-01-14}}</ref> Shortly before announcing his presidential campaign, Obama told the health care advocacy group Families USA that he supports universal healthcare in the United States.<ref>{{cite news | first=Nedra | last=Pickler | title=Obama Calls for Universal Healthcare within Six Years | date=January 25 2007 | publisher=Union-Tribune (San Diego) | url= | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-01-14}} Obama's campaign published a detailed health care reform plan in May 2007. {{cite news | first=Karen | last=Tumulty | title=Obama Channels Hillary on Healthcare | date=May 29 2007 | url=,8599,1626105,00.html | work=Time | accessdate=2008-01-14}} See also: {{cite web | url= | title=Creating a Healthcare System that Works | accessdate=2008-01-14 | }}</ref>
Campaigning in New Hampshire in 2007, Obama announced an $18&nbsp;billion plan for investments in early childhood education, math and science education, and expanded summer learning opportunities.<ref>{{cite news | first=Shira | last=Schoenberg | title=Obama Shares School Plan | date=November 21 2007 | url= | work=Concord Monitor | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Obama's campaign distinguished his proposals to reward teachers for performance from traditional merit pay systems, assuring unions that changes would be pursued through the collective bargaining process.<ref>{{cite news | first=Teddy | last=Davis | coauthors=Sunlen Miller | title=Obama Bucks Party Line on Education | date=November 20 2007 | url= | publisher=ABC News | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
Obama was an early opponent of the Bush administration's policies on Iraq.<!--
--><ref>{{cite news |author=Strausberg, Chinta |date=September 26 2002 |work=Chicago Defender |page=1 |title=Opposition to war mounts |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}}</ref> On October 2, 2002, the day President George W. Bush and Congress agreed on the joint resolution authorizing the Iraq War,<!--
--><ref>{{cite web |author=White House Press Secretary|Office of the Press Secretary |date=October 2 2002 |title=President, House Leadership Agree on Iraq Resolution |publisher=Executive Office of the President of the United States|The White House |url= |accessdate=2008-02-17}} {{cite news |author=Tackett, Michael |date=October 3 2002 |work=Chicago Tribune |page=1 |title=Bush, House OK Iraq deal; Congress marches with Bush |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}}</ref> Obama addressed the first high-profile Chicago Protests against the Iraq War in Federal Plaza,<!--
--><ref>{{cite news |author=Glauber, Bill |date=October 3 2002 |work=Chicago Tribune |page=1 |title=War protesters gentler, but passion still burns |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}} {{cite news |author=Strausberg, Chinta |date=October 3 2002 |work=Chicago Defender |page=1 |title=War with Iraq undermines U.N. |url= |accessdate=2008-02-03}} {{cite news |author=Bryant, Greg |date=October 2 2002 |publisher=Medill School of Journalism#Medill News Service - Chicago|Medill News Service |title=300 protesters rally to oppose war with Iraq |url= |accessdate=2008-02-03}} {{cite web |author=Katz, Marilyn |date=October 2 2007 |title=Five Years Since Our First Action |publisher=Chicagoans Against War & Injustice |url= |accessdate=2008-02-17}} Mendell (2007), pp. 172–177.</ref> speaking out against it.<ref>{{cite news |author=Obama, Barack |date=October 2 2002 |title=Remarks of Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama Against Going to War with Iraq |url= | |accessdate=2008-02-03}}</ref>
On March 16, 2003, the day President Bush issued his 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq before the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq|invasion of Iraq,<!--
--><ref>{{cite web |author=Office of the Press Secretary |date=March 16 2003 |title=President Bush: Monday "Moment of Truth" for World on Iraq |publisher=The White House |url= |accessdate=2008-02-17}} {{cite news |author=Associated Press |date=March 17 2003 |work=Chicago Sun-Times |page=1 |title='Moment of truth for the world'; Bush, three allies set today as final day for Iraq to disarm or face massive military attack |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}}</ref> Obama addressed the largest Chicago anti-Iraq War rally to date in Daley Plaza and told the crowd "It's not too late" to stop the war.<!--
--><ref>{{cite news |author=Ritter, Jim |date=March 17 2003 |work=Chicago Sun-Times |page=3 |title=Anti-war rally here draws thousands |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}}</ref>
Obama sought to make his early public opposition to the Iraq War before it started a major issue in his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign to distinguish himself from his Democratic primary rivals who supported the resolution authorizing the Iraq War,<!--
--><ref>{{cite news |author=McCormick, John |date=July 14 2003 |title=Senate hopefuls abound for '04; Forum attracts 9 for Fitzgerald post |work=Chicago Tribune |page=1 (Metro section) |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}} {{cite news |author=Chase, John; Mendell, David |date=January 23 2004 |title=Senate candidates divided over Iraq; 5 Democrats hit Bush on policy |work=Chicago Tribune |page=1 (Metro section) |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}}</ref>
and in his 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign, to distinguish himself from four Democratic primary rivals who voted for the resolution authorizing the war (Senators Clinton, [[John Edwards|Edwards]], Biden, and Dodd).<!--
--><ref>{{cite news |author=McCormick, John; Dorning, Mike |date=October 3 2007 |work=Chicago Tribune |page=7 |title=Obama marks '02 war speech - Contender highlights his early opposition in effort to distinguish him from his rivals |url= |format=paid archive |accessdate=2008-02-03}}</ref>
Speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in November 2006, Obama called for a "phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq" and an opening of diplomatic dialogue with Syria and Iran.<ref>For audio and text, see: {{cite web | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=A Way Forward in Iraq | date=November 20 2006 | url= | publisher=Chicago Council on Global Affairs | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> In a March 2007 speech to AIPAC, a pro-Israel lobby, he said that the primary way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is through talks and diplomacy, although not ruling out military action.<ref>{{cite web | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=AIPAC Policy Forum Remarks | date=March 2 2007 | url= | publisher=Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-01-30}} For Obama's 2004 Senate campaign remarks on possible missile strikes against Iran, see: {{cite news | last=Mendell | first=David | title=Obama Would Consider Missile Strikes on Iran | format=paid archive | date=September 25 2004 | publisher=Chicago Tribune | url= | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Obama has indicated that he would engage in "direct presidential diplomacy" with Iran without preconditions.<ref>[ Official Obama campaign's official website] Accessed 11 May 2008 </ref><ref>[ New York Times Interview] 2 November 2007 </ref><ref> [ Transcript of Youtube Debate] 24 July 2007 </ref> Detailing his strategy for fighting global terrorism in August 2007, Obama said "it was a terrible mistake to fail to act" against a 2005 meeting of al-Qaeda leaders that U.S. intelligence had confirmed to be taking place in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. He said that as president he would not miss a similar opportunity, even without the support of the Pakistani government.<ref>{{cite news | title=Obama Warns Pakistan on Al-Qaeda | date=August 1 2007 | url= | work=BBC News | accessdate=2008-01-14}} For video and text of the speech, see: {{cite news | title=Policy Address on Terrorism by The Honorable Barack Obama, United States Senator from Illinois | date=August 1 2007 | url= | work=Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars | accessdate=2008-01-30}} For details of the aborted 2005 military operation, see {{cite news | first=Mark | last=Mazzetti | title=Rumsfeld Called Off 2005 Plan to Capture Top Qaeda Figures | date=July 8 2007 | url= | work=International Herald Tribune | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
Obama has encouraged Democrats to reach out to evangelicals and other religious groups.<ref>{{cite news | first=Michael | last=Lerner | title=U.S. Senator Barack Obama Critiques Democrats' Religiophobia | date=July 3 2006 | url= | work=Tikkun Magazine | accessdate=2008-01-14}} {{cite web|url= | title=Sen. Barack Obama: Call to Renewal Keynote Address | date=June 28 2006 | work=Beliefnet | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> In December 2006, he joined Sen. [[Sam Brownback]] (R-KS) at the "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" organized by church leaders Kay and Rick Warren.<ref>{{cite news | first=Manda | last=Gibson | title=At Global AIDS Summit, Churches Challenged to Take the Lead | date=June 28 2006 | url= | | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Together with Warren and Brownback, Obama took an HIV test, as he had done in Kenya less than four months earlier.<ref>{{cite news | title=Screaming Crowds Welcome U.S. Senator 'Home' | date=August 27, 2006 | url= | publisher=CNN | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> He encouraged "others in public life to do the same" and not be ashamed of it.<ref>{{cite news | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=Race Against Time—World AIDS Day Speech | date=December 1 2006 | url = | work=Obama U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Before the conference, 18&nbsp;pro-life groups published an open letter stating, in reference to Obama's support for legal abortion: "In the strongest possible terms, we oppose Rick Warren's decision to ignore Senator Obama's clear pro-death stance and invite him to Saddleback Church anyway."<ref> {{cite news | title=Rick Warren/Barack Obama AIDS Partnership Must End, Say Pro-Life Groups | date=November 28 2006 | url= | work=Christian Newswire Press Release | accessdate=2008-01-14}} See also: {{cite news | first=David | last=Van Biema | title=The Real Losers in the Obama-Warren Controversy | date=December 1 2006 | url=,8599,1565076,00.html | work=Time | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Addressing over 8,000 United Church of Christ members in June 2007, Obama challenged "so-called leaders of the Christian Right" for being "all too eager to exploit what divides us."<ref>{{cite news | title=Barack Obama: Faith Has Been 'Hijacked' | date=June 24 2007 | publisher=CBS News | url= | work=Associated Press | accessdate = 2008-01-14 | }} See also: {{cite news | first=David | last=Brody | title=Obama to CBN News: We're No Longer Just a Christian Nation | date=July 30 2007 | url= | work=Christian Broadcasting Network | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
In a December 2005 ''Washington Post'' opinion column, and at the Save Darfur rally in April 2006, Obama called for more assertive action to oppose genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.<ref>{{cite news | first=Barack | last=Obama | coauthors=Sam Brownback | title=Policy Adrift on Darfur | date=December 27 2005 | url= | work=The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-01-14}} {{cite news | first=Jim | last=Doyle | title=Tens of Thousands Rally for Darfur | date=May 1 2006 | url= | work=San Francisco Chronicle | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> He divested $180,000 in personal holdings of Sudan-related stock, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Iran.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jim | last=Kuhnhenn | title=Giuliani, Edwards Have Sudan Holdings | date=May 17 2007 | | url= | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-01-14}} {{cite news | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=Hit Iran Where It Hurts | date=August 30 2007 | url= | work=New York Daily News | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> In the July–August 2007 issue of ''Foreign Affairs'', Obama called for an outward looking post-Iraq War foreign policy and the renewal of American military, diplomatic, and moral leadership in the world. Saying "we can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission," he called on Americans to "lead the world, by deed and by example."<ref>{{cite news | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=Renewing American Leadership | date=July–August 2007 | url= | work=Foreign Affairs | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
At the Tax Policy Center in September 2007, he blamed special interests for distorting the U.S. tax code.<ref>{{cite news | title=A Speech On the Economy, Opportunity and Tax Policy with Senator Barack Obama | date=September 18 2007 | url= | publisher=Tax Policy Center | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> His plan sought to eliminate taxes for senior citizens with incomes of less than $50,000 a year, repeal income tax cuts for those making over $250,000 as well as the capital gains and dividends tax cut,<ref>{{cite news | title=Study:Bush tax cuts favor wealthy | date=August 13 2004 | url= | publisher=CBS | accessdate=2008-04-05}}</ref> close corporate tax loopholes, lift the $102,000 cap on Social Security taxes, restrict offshore tax havens, and simplify filing of income tax returns by pre-filling wage and bank information already collected by the IRS.<ref>{{cite news | title=Obama Tax Plan: $80 Billion in Cuts, Five-Minute Filings | date=September 18 2007 | url= | publisher=CNN | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Announcing his presidential campaign's energy plan in October 2007, Obama proposed a emissions cap and trade auction system to restrict carbon emissions and a 10 year program of investments in new energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jeff | last=Zeleny | title=Obama Proposes Capping Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Making Polluters Pay | date=October 9 2007 | url= | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Obama proposed that all pollution credits must be auctioned, with no grandfathering of credits for oil and gas companies, and the spending of the revenue obtained on energy development and economic transition costs.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=The Blueprint for Change: Barack Obama's plan for America|author=Barack Obama|accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref>
:''Main article: [[Barack Obama|Barack Obama transparency on Sunshine Review]]''
Obama sponsored the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006. This act allowed for greater transparency in government at the federal level and also established the website [] a resource on federal spending.
Obama's first book, ''Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance'', was published before his first run for political office. In it he recalls his childhood in Honolulu and Jakarta, college years in Los Angeles and New York City, and his employment as a community organizer in Chicago in the 1980s. The book's last few chapters describe his first visit to Kenya, a journey to connect with his Luo family and heritage. In the preface to the 2004 revised edition, Obama explains that he had hoped the story of his family "might speak in some way to the fissures of race that have characterized the American experience."<ref>Obama (1995), p. vii.</ref> In a 1995 review, novelist Paul Watkins wrote that ''Dreams'', "persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither."<ref>{{cite news | first=Ihsan | last=Taylor | title=New & Noteworthy Paperbacks | date=August 29 2004 | url = | work =The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-09}}</ref> The audiobook edition earned Obama the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album of 2006.<ref name=Grammys>{{cite news | title=Obama Wins a Grammy for 'Hope' Book | date=February 10, 2008 | | url= | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref>
His second book, ''The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream'', was published in October 2006 and soon rose to the top of the ''New York Times'' Best Seller hardcover list.<ref>{{cite news | first=Julie | last=Bosman | title=Obama’s New Book Is a Surprise Best Seller | date=November 9 2006 | url= | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref>  Its title came from a sermon delivered by Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright.  The paperback edition currently ranks fourth on ''The New York Times'' nonfiction list.<ref>{{cite web|url= |title=Best Sellers |work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref> The ''Chicago Tribune'' credits large crowds that gathered at book signings with influencing Obama's decision to run for president.<ref>{{cite news | first=Mike | last=Dorning | coauthors= Christi Parsons | title=Carefully Crafting the Obama 'Brand' | date=June 12 2007 | url=,1,48733.story | work=Chicago Tribune | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref> Former U.S. presidential candidate Gary Hart said the book's self-portrayal presents "a man of relative youth yet maturity, a wise observer of the human condition, a figure who possesses perseverance and writing skills that have flashes of grandeur."<ref>{{cite news | first=Gary | last=Hart | title=American Idol | date=December 24 2006 | url = | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref> Reviewer Michael Tomasky writes that it does not contain "boldly innovative policy prescriptions that will lead the Democrats out of their wilderness," but does show Obama's potential to "construct a new politics that is progressive but grounded in civic traditions that speak to a wider range of Americans."<ref>{{cite news | first=Michael | last=Tomasky | title=The Phenomenon | date=November 30 2006 | publisher=Internet Archive | url= | work=New York Review of Books | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref> In February 2008, he won a Grammy award for the spoken word edition of ''Audacity''.<ref name=Grammys /> Foreign language editions of the book have been published in Italian, Spanish, German, French, Danish and Greek.<ref>{{cite news | first=Nick | last=Malkoutzis | title=Obama's Audacious Vision | date=March 27 2008 | publisher=International Herald Tribune in Greece and Cyprus | url= | work=Kathimerini English Edition | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref> The Italian edition was published in April 2007 with a preface by Walter Veltroni,<ref>{{cite web | url= | title= L'audacia della speranza | publisher=Libreria Rizzoli | accessdate=2008-03-18 | language=Italian}}</ref> former Mayor of Rome, currently leader of Italy's Democratic Party and one of Obama's earliest supporters overseas.<ref>{{cite web | url= | title=Il politico prevale sull' amministratore | publisher=Corriere della Sera | date=April 30 2005 | accessdate=2008-03-18 | language=Italian}} See also: {{cite news | url=,1,5411037.story?track=rss | title=Obama's European counterparts | work=Los Angeles Times | author=Tracy Wilkinson | date=February 25 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18}}</ref>
Barack Obama is reportedly writing a children's book.<ref>{{cite news | first=Dan | last=Morain | title=Obama's wealth has skyrocketed | date=May 17 2008 | url=,0,3496427.story | work=Los Angeles Times | accessdate=2008-05-17 }}</ref>
==Cultural and political image==
==Cultural and political image==
Supporters and critics have likened Obama's popular image to a cultural Rorschach test, a neutral persona on whom people can project their personal histories and aspirations.<ref name='ref name=Enda2006'>{{cite news | first=Jodi | last=Enda | title=Great Expectations | date=February 5 2006 | url = | work =The American Prospect | accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | first=Garrett M | last=Graff | title= The Legend of Barack Obama | date=November 1 2006 | url = | work =Washingtonian | accessdate = 2008-04-07}} {{cite news | first=John | last=Podhoretz | title=Obama: Rorschach Candidate | date=December 12 2006 | url = | work=New York Post | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> Obama's own stories about his family origins reinforce what a May 2004 ''New Yorker'' magazine article described as his "everyman" image.<ref>{{cite news | last=Finnegan | first=William | title=The Candidate: How the Son of a Kenyan Economist Became an Illinois Everyman | date=24 May 2004 | publisher=New Yorker | url= |accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | first=Jonathan | last=Tilove | title=In Obama Candidacy, America Examines Itself | date=February 8 2007 | url= | work=Times-Picayune (New Orleans) | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> In ''Dreams from My Father'', he ties his maternal family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.<ref>Obama (1995), 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: {{cite news | first=David | last=Nitkin | coauthors=Harry Merritt | title=A New Twist to an Intriguing Family History | date=March 2 2007 | url =,0,3453027.story | work =Baltimore Sun | accessdate=2008-04-07}} {{cite news | first=Mary | last=Jordan | title=Tiny Irish Village Is Latest Place to Claim Obama as Its Own | date=May 13 2007 | url= | work=The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-07 }} {{cite news | title=Obama's Family Tree Has a Few Surprises | date=September 8 2007 | publisher=CBS 2 (Chicago) | url = | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-07}}
Supporters and critics have likened Obama's popular image to a cultural Rorschach test, a neutral persona on whom people can project their personal histories and aspirations.<ref name='ref name=Enda2006'>{{cite news | first=Jodi | last=Enda | title=Great Expectations | date=February 5 2006 | url = | work =The American Prospect | accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | first=Garrett M | last=Graff | title= The Legend of Barack Obama | date=November 1 2006 | url = | work =Washingtonian | accessdate = 2008-04-07}} {{cite news | first=John | last=Podhoretz | title=Obama: Rorschach Candidate | date=December 12 2006 | url = | work=New York Post | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> Obama's own stories about his family origins reinforce what a May 2004 ''New Yorker'' magazine article described as his "everyman" image.<ref>{{cite news | last=Finnegan | first=William | title=The Candidate: How the Son of a Kenyan Economist Became an Illinois Everyman | date=24 May 2004 | publisher=New Yorker | url= |accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | first=Jonathan | last=Tilove | title=In Obama Candidacy, America Examines Itself | date=February 8 2007 | url= | work=Times-Picayune (New Orleans) | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> In ''Dreams from My Father'', he ties his maternal family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.<ref>Obama (1995), 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: {{cite news | first=David | last=Nitkin | coauthors=Harry Merritt | title=A New Twist to an Intriguing Family History | date=March 2 2007 | url =,0,3453027.story | work =Baltimore Sun | accessdate=2008-04-07}} {{cite news | first=Mary | last=Jordan | title=Tiny Irish Village Is Latest Place to Claim Obama as Its Own | date=May 13 2007 | url= | work=The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-07 }} {{cite news | title=Obama's Family Tree Has a Few Surprises | date=September 8 2007 | publisher=CBS 2 (Chicago) | url = | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-07}}

Revision as of 08:31, 9 May 2014

Barack Hussein Obama
Barack Obama.jpg
44th President of the United States
In office
January 20, 2009 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 6
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Term limits2 (4 year terms)
Prior offices
United States Senator
Illinois state Senator
High schoolPunahou Academy
Bachelor'sColumbia University
J.D.Harvard University Law School
Date of birthAugust 4, 1961
Place of birthHonolulu, HI
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer
Office website
Campaign website
Barack Hussein Obama II (b. August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii) is currently the 44th President of the United States. He was first elected November 4, 2008 and was sworn in January of 2009. Obama successfully won election to a second term on November 6, 2012.[1]

Previously, he served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois and was the nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election. He is the first African American to win enough support for the nomination of any major American political party and became the first African American president in the United States.


Born on August 4, 1961, to a Kenyan father and an American mother, he spent most of his childhood and adolescent years in Honolulu, Hawaii. His parents separated when he was an infant and divorced before he turned three. At age six, he moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where he lived with his mother and Indonesian stepfather for four years. At age ten, Obama was sent back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents. He attended Punahou Academy and graduated with honors in 1979.[2] Obama's father, Barack Obama, Sr., died in a car accident in Kenya in 1982. His mother, Ann Dunham, died of ovarian cancer in 1995.[3]

Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983 and earned his law degree from Harvard University in 1991.[3] While interning with Sidley & Austin in 1989, he met Michelle Robinson the two began dating.[2] He helped organize voter registration drives during the Clinton campaign, lectured at the University of Chicago law school and practiced law after graduating. As a civil rights lawyer, he tried cases dealing with discrimination, voters' rights and community organizers. In 1995 he published his autobiography titled Dreams from My Father. He and Robinson married on October 3, 1992.[3]

He was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1997 and served until 2004.[4] Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for U.S. Senate in January 2003. After winning a landslide primary victory in March 2004 to become the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote.[2]

He announced his candidacy for the United States presidency in February 2007 and defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary before defeating John McCain in the presidential election in 2008. He was sworn in as the first African-American president on January 20, 2009. Obama then ran for re-election in 2012, defeating Mitt Romney. He was sworn in for his second term on January 21, 2013.[2]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Obama's academic, professional and political career:[2][3][5]

  • 1983: Graduated from Columbia University
  • 1989: Interned at Sidley & Austin law firm
  • 1991: Earned law degree magna cum laude from Harvard University
  • 1992: Organized voter registration drives for Clinton campaign
  • 1992-1996: Attorney for Miner, Barnhill & Galland
  • 1992-2004: Part-time Lecturer and Professor at University of Chicago Law School
  • 1997-2005: Illinois state Senator
  • 2005-2009: United States Senator from Illinois
  • 2009-Present: President of the United States of America

Committee assignments

U.S. Senator


Obama served on the following committees:[6]


Obama served on the following committees:[7]


Presidential administration rollout

See also: website rollout

Pat Roberts calls for Sebelius' resignation.

The launch of the website featuring the federal healthcare exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act was met with error messages, faulty information being sent to insurers and problems with direct enrollment through insurance companies.[8][9][10] At an October 10, 2013, promotional event for the website, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated, "Believe me, we had some early glitches, but it's getting better every day."[11] Sen. Pat Roberts called for Sebelius' resignation over the struggling website on October 11, stating, "Enough is enough. Today I am calling on Kathleen Sebelius to resign her post as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Secretary Sebelius has had three and a half years to launch Obamacare, and she has failed."[12] Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce committee on October 30, 2013. During testimony, Sebelius stated: "In these early weeks, access to has been a miserably frustrating experience for way too many Americans, including many who have waited years, in some cases their entire lives, for the security of health insurance."[13][14] Officials have not released an estimated timeframe for fixes.[15]

On October 23, Rep. Jeanne Shaheen, (D-NH) called for an extension of the open enrollment period while the administration attempted to fix the problems, while Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-WV) was already drafting a bill to delay the individual mandate for a year.[16]

Warrantless wiretapping

In a classified presentation provided to The Guardian by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, it was made public that the NSA had been collecting information from top tech companies about U.S. citizens starting in 2007. Tech companies implicated in the Prism program began with Microsoft in 2007, followed by Yahoo (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), PalTalk (2009), YouTube (2010), Skype (2011), AOL (2011) and Apple (2012). Prism gave the intelligence agency a direct connection to the servers of the companies, allowing the agency to gain information about email, videos, photos, stored data, file transfers, logins and social networking details. Instead of requiring FISA courts' permissions to acquire each piece of information, the agency is permitted to investigate anyone as long as it has reasonable suspicion. When asked about the NSA program, American Civil Liberties Union Director Jameel Jaffer stated, "It's shocking enough just that the NSA is asking companies to do this. The NSA is part of the military. The military has been granted unprecedented access to civilian communications."[17]

The data collected by the NSA not only included the information from tech companies but communications companies such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. The information collected from cellular companies not only include the metadata collected but also the content of phone calls under the Prism program. The information collection was first allowed by the Bush administration and then renewed under the Obama administration in 2012 under the Patriot Act.[18] According to a September 17, 2013 release by the FISA court, no telecommunications companies have challenged the demand of the NSA to disclose records.[19]

Snowden was indicted on two charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 on June 21, 2013, but he sought asylum in Russia. His asylum was granted on August 1, 2013, for one year.[20][21][22]

Wiretapping journalists

Over a two month period, federal prosecutors obtained phone records of Associated Press journalists, their headquarters and offices in New York, Hartford, Washington, and the House of Representatives during an investigation in early 2012 of leaked, sensitive information. The AP released a story in May 2012, which is believed to be linked to the wiretapping, connecting a CIA counterterrorism operation in Yemen to the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. At least 20 phone lines were believed to be monitored by federal prosecutors with the Department of Justice.[23]

On May 19, 2013, another case of federal investigators wiretapping journalists was uncovered when a Fox News employee, James Rosen, had his personal email correspondence seized in relation to a story published on June 11, 2009. The investigation into leaked documents from the State Department's Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, led them to Rosen through phone and email communication leading up to the publishing of Rosen's story.[24] In the affidavit, an FBI agent named Rosen a "co-conspirator" under the Espionage Act in order to obtain the warrant. All correspondence with Kim was seized along with two additional days of personal correspondence. Fox News also claimed the Justice Department seized several phone records, including one listed as Rosen's parents.[25]

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia released a statement on May 22, 2013 denying the use of wiretaps on phones and the seizure of any computer records of any news organization.[26]

IRS targeting

On May 10, 2013, news broke that various branches of the Internal Revenue Service had specifically targeted conservative groups' applications for tax-exempt status. It began during the tea party surge in 2010. The agency was separating tax-exempt applications by searching for political terms such as "tea party" and "patriot." In June 2011, an IRS official was briefed on these transgressions and asked that this practice end. The flagging continued, however, when the criteria was changed in January 2012 to look out for groups educating on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.[27]

The targeting included allegations that tea party groups were forced to provide information not asked of other tax exempt groups. Examples of this were requests for donor information, Facebook posts, resumes and political intentions of group officials and connections to other groups.[28][29]

Testifying on May 15, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promised a criminal investigation spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and federal prosecutors into the Cincinnati office that has been blamed for the extra attention paid to conservative organizations, but he made it clear that the investigation would span more than just Cincinnati in order to find out where the "enforcement gaps" in the IRS's policies lie. Holder also added that groups paying for legal representation during the controversy would be reimbursed for legal costs.[30]

On May 16, IRS Commissioner Steven Miller announced his resignation. He still testified at the hearings the next day.[31] Lois Lerner, the head of the tax-exempt organizations division throughout the targeting scandal retired on September 23, 2013, when an IRS review board informed her she would be removed from her position due to "neglect of duties."[32]

In January 2014, the FBI announced no criminal charges would be filed over the IRS targeting scandal unless new evidence came to light.[33] On April 9, 2014, emails from Lerner, expressing her interest in denying the Crossroads GPS 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status, were released to the public, and a letter was sent by the House Ways and Means Committee urging prosecutors to hold Lerner accountable. Fourteen committee democrats voted against sending the letter with Rep. Sandy Levin stating the intention of the letter was to "declare this a scandal and keep it going until November."[34]

On May 7, 2014, the U.S. House voted to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress due to her refusal to answer questions during her hearing. The criminal contempt charge carries a jail sentence and fine, but the Justice Department must first decide whether or not to pursue the charge. If the department opts not to pursue the charge, the House can bring up a civil suit demanding Lerner to testify or face time in jail. Lerner would not necessarily be forced to testify if the criminal charge is pursued.[35]


On October 15, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed responsibility for the security of the diplomatic mission to Libya that was attacked on September 11, 2012. The attack left four Americans dead, including Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.[36] A State Department employee, Eric Nordstrom, claimed at a congressional hearing on October 11, that his request for more security to be present in Libya was denied by his superiors prior to the attack.[37] Clinton was also under fire because of the initial classification of the attack by then-United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice as a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim video instead of a planned terrorist attack.[36] On December 19, the State Department announced the forced leave of four officials after an independent report was produced suggesting the officials "showed a lack of ownership of Benghazi's security issues."[38] Clinton was summoned before congressional committees on January 23 to testify on her knowledge of the attack. During the heated testimony, Clinton said of the requests for more security, "I didn't see those requests. They didn't come to me."[39]

On August 20, 2013, the State Department announced the reassignment of the four officials placed on leave. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) responded by stating, "Instead of accountability, the State Department offered a charade that included false reports of firings and resignations and now ends in a game of musical chairs where no one misses a single day on the State Department payroll."[40] Following the conclusion of a State Department investigation into Benghazi on September 16, Issa was not satisfied with the findings and stated, "We can certainly have Mrs. Clinton back; our view is that we need to get to the facts."[41]

In January 2014, Clinton called the attack her biggest regret. She said, "It was a terrible tragedy losing four Americans -- two diplomats and now it is public so I can say two C.I.A. operatives. You make these choices based on imperfect information. But that doesn't mean that there's not going to be unforeseen consequences, unpredictable twists and turns."[42]

New document

On May 2, 2014, newly released documents from the White House led Issa to accuse the president of withholding the documents about the talking points used by Rice, stating, "It’s disturbing, and perhaps criminal, that these documents were kept from the public. It comes in a week in which the American people have learned that you cannot believe what the White House says…and you cannot believe what the president says."[43] The document, an email from deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes went to, among others in the administration, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. The email was meant to prep Rice for a media appearance, urging her "To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy," as well as instructing her "To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges."[44] Carney disputed that the statements originated with the administration, claiming, "The only thing that refers to Benghazi is a cut-and-paste which, much to your disappointment and your boss’ disappointment, turned out to be produced by the CIA."[43]

Republican members of Congress fired back in response to Carney's dismissal of the email. Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) stated, "[T]his White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to mislead, obstruct, and obscure what actually took place…this White House been callously dismissive of our efforts to get answers."[43] Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also spoke out about Carney, saying, "He has destroyed his own reputation by that statement that clearly was the talking points, which had nothing to do but Benghazi, saying it had nothing to do with Benghazi. That, to me, is an all-time low for a presidential spokesperson."[45]

Gowdy committee

On May 8, 2014, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was chosen to lead a special committee investigating the attack in Benghazi and the administration's actions regarding the attack. The committee will be made up of seven republicans and five democrats.[46] When asked if the State Department would comply with the committee's requests, Kerry stated, "We’ll respond because we have absolutely nothing to hide whatsoever and I look forward to complying with whatever responsibilities we have."[47]

Operation Fast and Furious

From 2009-2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran Operation Fast and Furious, intended to get guns into the black market and sold to Mexican drug cartels. The guns were to be tracked, allowing the ATF to halt drug trafficking and catch the traffickers along the U.S.-Mexico border. The operation was part of an overarching border patrol initiative, Project Gunrunner, run by the U.S. Department of Justice "to combat Mexico-based trafficking groups." However, an estimated 1,400 guns were lost in the operation. A total of 34 trafficking suspects were indicted.On December 14, 2010, about a month before the end of Operation Fast and Furious, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in Arizona and two guns from the operation were found near his body.[48]

Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress on May 3, 2011, stating he, "probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." Sens. Chuck Grassley and Darrell Issa have led the investigations into the scandal, and subpoenas were issued to the Justice Department on October 12, 2011, in order to secure documents between the White House and the Department regarding Operation Fast and Furious.[49]

On June 20, 2012, President Obama used his executive privilege over documents sought by the congressional investigative committee, saving Holder from possible charges in the investigation. On June 28, 2012, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt for failure to disclose the documents.[48] It was the first time in U.S. history a sitting cabinet member was held in contempt by Congress.[50]

The House Oversight Committee filed a civil lawsuit over the documents on August 13, 2012.[48] Holder asked U.S. District Court Judge Amy Burman Jackson for the case to be dismissed on September 30, 2013, which she denied. Holder requested an immediate appeal, which was turned down November 18, 2013.[51]

Key legislation


Race to the Top

Race to the Top was the seminal policy of Secretary Arne Duncan's Department of Education term. It was a reform designed to induce competition among states and school districts for federally allocated grants. Duncan argued that the incentive to attain Federal grant money and the resulting competition would spur innovation and improve student achievement. The program was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and had an initial budget of $4.35 billion. To become eligible, states needed to satisfy a "Common Core" of achievement standards. States proposed sweeping reform objectives and then submit grant proposals for programs they believe would achieve the objectives outlined. Proposals were measured against a scoring criteria, and grants were awarded. The Department of Education then measured states' progress towards their target objectives as the grant renewal process proceeded. Several states were unable to meet proposed targets in Race to the Top funded programs. As a result, grant allocation slowed significantly after three initial rounds. In 2012, the Department of Education began a new grant allocation round -- Race to the Top-District -- in which school districts, rather than state school systems, may apply for Race to the Top program grants.[52]

Common Core

The Race to the Top Common Core Standards were developed by the National Association of Governors and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They were "informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn" in order to "provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce." Forty-five states and the District of Columbia, along with four territories, adopted Common Core Standards. Developed specifically for English Language Arts and Mathematics instruction, "the Standards are (1) research and evidence based, (2) aligned with college and work expectations, (3) rigorous, and (4) internationally benchmarked."[53]

Grant criteria

Grants are rewarded based on these scores and subsequent rankings:[54]

  • A. State Success Factors (125 points)
    • (A)(1) Articulating State’s education reform agenda and LEAs’ participation in it (65 points)
    • (A)(2) Building strong statewide capacity to implement, scale up, and sustain proposed plans (30 points)
    • (A)(3) Demonstrating significant progress in raising achievement and closing gaps (30 points)
  • B. Standards and Assessments (70 points)
    • (B)(1) Developing and adopting common standards (40 points)
    • (B)(2) Developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments (10 points)
    • (B)(3) Supporting the transition to enhanced standards and high-quality assessments (20 points)
  • C. Data Systems to Support Instruction (47 points)
    • (C)(1) Fully implementing a statewide longitudinal data system (24 points)
    • (C)(2) Accessing and using State data (5 points)
    • (C)(3) Using data to improve instruction (18 points)
  • D. Great Teachers and Leaders (138 points)
    • (D)(1) Providing high-quality pathways for aspiring teachers and principals (21 points)
    • (D)(2) Improving teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance (58 points)
    • (D)(3) Ensuring equitable distribution of effective teachers and principals (25 points)
    • (D)(4) Improving the effectiveness of teacher and principal preparation programs (14 points)
    • (D)(5) Providing effective support to teachers and principals (20 points)
  • E. Turning Around the Lowest-Achieving Schools (50 points)
    • (E)(1) Intervening in the lowest-achieving schools and LEAs (10 points)
    • (E)(2) Turning around the lowest-achieving schools (40 points)
  • F. General Selection Criteria (55 points)
    • (F)(1) Making education funding a priority (10 points)
    • (F)(2) Ensuring successful conditions for high-performing charters and other innovative schools (40 points)
    • (F)(3) Demonstrating other significant reform conditions (5 points)


The goals of the Race to the Top reforms were:[54]

  • to use data to inform instruction
  • to raise achievement standards and graduation rates
  • to turn around historically low-performing schools
  • to improve teacher and principal quality.

Opposing viewpoints

  • Critics argued that the Race to the Top funding model would take resources from already struggling school systems and create vast disparities in achievement. Supporters maintained that only a "small but significant" portion of Race to the Top funds would go to states with the "best, homegrown plans for education reform," and that absent these incentives, the status-quo Federal funding model would continue to fail students by ignoring innovation.[55]
  • Other opponents questioned whether these reforms could adequately induce innovation. They saw Race to the Top as evidence of "cartel federalism" in line with the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind policy. They did not believe reform would be achieved by further centralization of standards because “the ends of the educational system are still set by the same small group of officials, who are protected from competition.”[56]

Supporting viewpoints

  • American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten supported Race to the Top, but in May of 2013, she called for a moratorium on full implementation:
Done right, Common Core standards will 'lead to a revolution in teaching and learning' that puts critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork ahead of rote memorization and endless test-taking, Weingarten said. Done wrong, 'they will end up in the overflowing dustbin of abandoned reforms, with people throwing up their hands, believing that public schools are too broken to save.[57]

—American Federation of Teachers, [58]

  • Supporters also pointed out that Race to the Top incentivized states to design and pursue serious reforms before any money was handed out. The competition for potential grants induced reforms to improve instruction in both quality and kind across the board, not just among states who ultimately receive grants.[59]


Race to the Top grants recipients were announced in three initial rounds.[60][61] [62]

Race to the Top grant allocations slowed significantly after the first three rounds as many states faced delayed implementation of promised reforms.[63]

In 2012, the Department of Education announced a new round of grant allocation -- Race to the Top-District -- in which individual school districts and charter school programs would be eligible for grants. Sixteen grant winners were selected in 2012. A second round of Race to the Top-District grants will be allocated, and in October 2013, 16 finalists for were announced.[64][65]


Despite 45 states and four territories formally adopting Race to the Top's Common Core, public backlash against the new standards became a frequent occurance. On September 19, 2013, a group of parents in California protested the state's adoption of Common Core when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited their city.[66] Duncan later drew criticism in November 2013 when he described the opposition to Common Core as "white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were," to a group of state school superintendents.[67] On November 18, 2013, parents in South Carolina and New York chose to keep their children home from school as part of a "National Common Core Protest Day" to demonstrate opposition to Common Core's "one-size-fits all curriculum" and standardized testing methods.[68][69] On December 8, 2013, the Buffalo Teachers Federation protested outside the residence of a state education regent in response to Common Core implementation and its emphasis on continually testing students.[70]

In response to the public outcry, several states delayed implementation or rescinded adoption of the standards entirely. The Alabama state school board voted to revoke their agreement to adhere to the Common Core standards on November 14, 2013. However, their existing state standards were still in line with Common Core.[71] Alabama is the only state to pull away entirely from its commitment to the Common Core standards. However, others such as Pennsylvania and Indiana have chosen to halt implementation.[72][73] Louisiana chose to delay Common Core's accountability measures for two years, while Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Georgia and Michigan chose to delay or abandon Common Core testing.[74][75][76][77][78]

Additionally, both Utah and Florida withdrew from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and Smarter Balanced Assessment consortium, although both states plan to continue Common Core implementation.[79][80] In Ohio, Representative Andrew Thompson introduced House Bill 237 to the Ohio House of Representatives in order to prevent the state from implementing Common Core.[81]

Affordable Care Act

See also: Obamacare overview

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was passed in its finality on March 21, 2010, and signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010.[82]

The aim of the law was to provide an expansion of health insurance coverage to more Americans through both individual health insurance marketplaces as well as through employer-provided plans. Minimum requirements of coverage were established and both individual and employer mandates were established over a period of years in order to achieve the goal of expanded coverage. Subsidies and tax credits are provided to individual consumers based on income level and dependents, and existing programs such as medicaid and CHIP were expanded to increase reach. Small businesses receive tax credits based on the level of insurance offered to employees, as well.[83]

Ten essential benefits for coverage

The law included ten essential benefits that plans created after the law's passage needed to include. Existing plans were grandfathered in, but few of the grandfathered plans remain due to frequent changes to health insurance policies.[84] The ten essential benefits outlined by the ACA are:[85]

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health and substance abuse disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care


U.S. President


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Obama sought and won re-election as President of the United States in 2012.[1][1]

Mitt Romney ran for the Republican Party, while Gary Johnson ran as a Libertarian and Jill Stein ran for the Green Party.

U.S. presidential election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes Electoral votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBarack Obama/Joe Biden Incumbent 51.3% 65,899,660 332
     Republican Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan 47.4% 60,932,152 206
     Libertarian Gary Johnson/Jim Gray 1% 1,275,804 0
     Green Jill Stein/Cheri Honkala 0.4% 469,501 0
Total Votes 128,577,117 538
Election Results Via: FEC official election results

Other candidates that appeared on the ballot received less than 0.1% of the vote. Those candidates included: Roseanne Barr, Rocky Anderson, Thomas Hoefling, Jerry Litzel, Jeff Boss, Merlin Miller, Randall Terry, Jill Reed, Richard Duncan, Andre Barnett, Chuck Baldwin, Barbara Washer, Tom Stevens, Virgil Goode, Will Christensen, Stewart Alexander, James Harris, Jim Carlson, Sheila Tittle, Peta Lindsay, Gloria La Riva, Jerry White, Dean Morstad and Jack Fellure.[86]


In 2008, Obama defeated John McCain (R), Ralph Nader (Peace and Freedom), Bob Barr (L), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) and Cynthia McKinney (Green) in the Presidential election on November 4, 2008

U.S. presidential election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes Electoral votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBarack Obama/Joe Biden 53% 69,498,516 365
     Republican John McCain/Sarah Palin 45.7% 59,948,323 173
     Peace and Freedom Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez 0.6% 739,034 0
     Libertarian Bob Barr/Wayne Allyn Root 0.4% 523,715 0
     Constitution Chuck Baldwin/Darrell Castle 0.2% 199,750 0
     Green Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 0.1% 161,797 0
Total Votes 131,071,135 538
Election Results Via: official election results

Other candidates that appeared on the ballot received less than 0.1% of the vote. Those candidates included: Alan Keyes, Ron Paul, Gloria La Riva, Brian Moore, Roger Calero, Richard Duncan, James Harris, Charles Jay, John Joseph Polachek, Frank Edward McEnulty, Jeffrey J. Wamboldt, Thomas Robert Stevens, Gene C. Amondson, Jeffrey Jeff Boss, George Phillies, Ted Weill, Jonathan E. Allen and Bradford Lyttle.[87]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Obama is available dating back to 2004. Based on available campaign finance records, Obama raised a total of $1,475,627,500 during that time period. This information was last updated on October 14, 2013.[88][89][90]

Barack Obama's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Presidency (Incumbent) Won $715,677,692
2008 U.S. Presidency Won $744,985,624
2004 U.S. Senate (Illinois) Won $14,964,184
Grand Total Raised $1,475,627,500


Breakdown of the source of Obama's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Obama won re-election to the U.S. Presidency in 2012. During that election cycle, Obama's campaign committee raised a total of $715,677,692 and spent $683,546,548.[91]

Cost per vote

Obama spent $10.37 per vote received in 2012.

Campaign donors


Breakdown of the source of Obama's campaign funds before the 2008 election.

Obama won election to the U.S. Presidency in 2008. During that election cycle, Obama's campaign committee raised a total of $744,985,624 and spent $729,519,581.[92]

Cost per vote

Obama spent $10.50 per vote received in 2008.

Campaign donors


Breakdown of the source of Obama's campaign funds before the 2004 election.

Obama won election to the U.S. Senate in 2004. During that election cycle, Obama's campaign committee raised a total of $14,964,184 and spent $14,371,464.[93]

Cost per vote

Obama spent $3.99 per vote received in 2004.

Campaign donors

Candidate endorsements

Cultural and political image

Supporters and critics have likened Obama's popular image to a cultural Rorschach test, a neutral persona on whom people can project their personal histories and aspirations.[95] Obama's own stories about his family origins reinforce what a May 2004 New Yorker magazine article described as his "everyman" image.[96] In Dreams from My Father, he ties his maternal family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.[97] Speaking to Jewish audiences during his 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate, he linked the linguistic root of his East African first name Barack to the Hebrew word baruch, meaning "blessed."[98] In an October 2006 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family: "Michelle will tell you that when we get together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, 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. We've got it all."[99]

With his Kenyan father and American mother, his upbringing in Honolulu and Jakarta, and his Ivy League education, Obama's early life experiences differ markedly from those of African American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement.[100] In January 2007, The End of Blackness author Debra Dickerson warned against drawing favorable cultural implications from Obama's political rise: "Lumping us all together," Dickerson wrote in Salon, "erases the significance of slavery and continuing racism while giving the appearance of progress."[101] Film critic David Ehrenstein, writing in a March 2007 Los Angeles Times article, compared the cultural sources of Obama's favorable polling among whites to those of "magical Negro" roles played by black actors in Hollywood movies.[102] Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is "black enough," Obama told an August 2007 meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that the debate is not about his physical appearance or his record on issues of concern to black voters. Obama said, "we're still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong."[103]

Writing about Obama's political image in a March 2007 Washington Post opinion column, Eugene Robinson characterized him as "the personification of both-and," a messenger who rejects "either-or" political choices, and could "move the nation beyond the culture wars" of the 1960s.[104] Obama, who defines himself in The Audacity of Hope as "a Democrat, after all," has been criticized by progressive commentator David Sirota for demonstrating too much "Senate clubbiness," and was encouraged to run for the U.S. presidency by conservative columnist George Will.[105] But in a December 2006 Wall Street Journal editorial headlined "The Man from Nowhere," Ronald Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan advised Will and other "establishment" commentators to avoid becoming too quickly excited about Obama's still early political career.[106] Echoing the inaugural address of John F. Kennedy, Obama acknowledged his youthful image, saying in an October 2007 campaign speech, "I wouldn't be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation."[107]


Net Worth

See also: Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Obama's net worth as of 2011 was estimated between $2,566,014.00 and $8,265,000.00. That averages to $5,415,507.00, which ranked 8th among executive branch members. His average net worth decreased by %2.6 from 2010.[108]


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Obama's net worth as of 2010 was estimated between $2,802,012.00 and $11,830,000.00. That averages to $7,316,006.00, which ranked 9th among executive branch members.[109]

Elected office turnover

2012 elections

According to Sabato's Crystal Ball, the Democratic party gained 8 U.S. House seats and 2 Senate seats in 2012.

In state government elections, the Democratic party lost one governor's office and gained control of two state legislatures.[110]

2010 elections

According to Sabato's Crystal Ball, the Democratic party lost 63 U.S. House seats and 6 Senate seats in 2010. The House turnover was the largest differential since the 1948 general election.

In state government elections, the Democratic party lost 8 governors' offices and lost control of 10 state legislatures. The turnover in state legislature control was the largest differential since the 1974 general election.[110]


Obama grew up with his half-sister Maya Kassandra Soetoro, the daughter his mother had with her second husband. Obama also has seven other half-siblings; his father had six other sons and one daughter.[111]

Obama met his wife, Michelle Robinson, in June 1989 when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin.[112] Assigned for three months as Obama's adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at group social functions, but declined his initial offers to date.[113] They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992.[114] The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001.[115]

Applying the proceeds of a $2 million book deal, the family paid off debts in 2005 and moved from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to their current $1.6 million house in neighboring Kenwood.[116] The land adjacent to their house was simultaneously sold to the wife of developer and Obama supporter, Tony Rezko. This deal provoked media scrutiny of Obama's relationship with Rezko, who was indicted in October 2006 for fraud and extortion.[117] In December 2007, Money magazine estimated the Obama family's net worth at $1.3 million.[118] Their 2007 tax return showed a household income of $4.2 million, up from about $1 million in 2006 and $1.6 million in 2005, mostly from sales of his books.[119]

Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team.[120] Before announcing his presidential candidacy, he began a well-publicized effort to quit smoking. "I've never been a heavy smoker," Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "I've quit periodically over the last several years. I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I do not succumb. I've been chewing Nicorette strenuously."[121] Replying to an Associated Press survey of 2008 presidential candidates' personal tastes, he specified "architect" as his alternate career choice and "chili" as his favorite meal to cook.[122] Asked to name a "hidden talent," Obama answered: "I'm a pretty good poker player."[123]

In The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he "was not raised in a religious household." He describes his mother, raised by non-religious parents, as detached from religion, yet "in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I have ever known." He describes his Kenyan father as "raised a Muslim," but a "confirmed atheist" by the time his parents met, and his Indonesian stepfather as "a man who saw religion as not particularly useful." In the book, Obama explains 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."[124]

Recent news

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Cincinnati Herald, "Obama re-elected to historic second term," November 10, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4, "Barack Obama biography," accessed November 14, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 CNN, "Barack Obama Fast Facts," January 20, 2013
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