Difference between revisions of "Barack Obama"

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|Project =
 
|Project =
 
|Name = Barack Hussein Obama
 
|Name = Barack Hussein Obama
|Profile picture =Barack Obama.jpg
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|Profile picture =Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg
 
|Position = 44th President of the United States
 
|Position = 44th President of the United States
 
|Status = Incumbent
 
|Status = Incumbent
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|Personal website =
 
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{{tnr}}'''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.<ref name="reelect">[http://www.thecincinnatiherald.com/news/2012-11-10/Front_Page/Obama_reelected_to_historic_second_term.html ''The Cincinnati Herald,'' "Obama re-elected to historic second term," November 10, 2012]</ref>
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{{TOCnestright|limit=3}}'''Barack Hussein Obama II''' (b. August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, [[Hawaii|HI]]) 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.<ref name="reelect">[http://www.thecincinnatiherald.com/news/2012-11-10/Front_Page/Obama_reelected_to_historic_second_term.html ''The Cincinnati Herald,'' "Obama re-elected to historic second term," November 10, 2012]</ref>
  
 
Previously, he served as the junior [[United States]] Senator from [[Illinois]] and was the nominee of the [[Democratic Party|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]].  
 
Previously, he served as the junior [[United States]] Senator from [[Illinois]] and was the nominee of the [[Democratic Party|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]].  
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==Biography==
 
==Biography==
  
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.<ref name="biobio"/> 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.<ref name="fastfacts"/>
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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.<ref name="biobio"/> 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.<ref name="fastfacts"/>
  
Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983 and earned his law degree from Harvard University in 1991.<ref name="fastfacts"/> While interning with Sidley & Austin in 1989, he met Michelle Robinson the two began dating.<ref name="biobio"/> 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.<ref name="fastfacts"/>
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Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983 and earned his law degree from Harvard University in 1991.<ref name="fastfacts"/> While interning with Sidley & Austin in 1989, he met [[Michelle Obama|Michelle Robinson]] the two began dating.<ref name="biobio"/> 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.<ref name="fastfacts"/>
  
He was elected to the [[Illinois Legislature|Illinois Senate]] in 1997 and served until 2004.<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/08/AR2007020802262.html ''Washington Post'', "Obama Forged Political Mettle In Illinois Capitol," February 9, 2007]</ref>  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.<ref name="biobio"/>
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He was elected to the [[Illinois Legislature|Illinois Senate]] in 1997 and served until 2004.<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/08/AR2007020802262.html ''Washington Post'', "Obama Forged Political Mettle In Illinois Capitol," February 9, 2007]</ref>  Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the [[United States House of Representatives|U.S. House of Representatives]] in 2000, he announced his campaign for [[United States Senate|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 Committee|Democratic National Convention]] in July 2004. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote.<ref name="biobio"/>
  
 
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.<ref name="biobio"/>
 
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.<ref name="biobio"/>
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*1989: Interned at Sidley & Austin law firm
 
*1989: Interned at Sidley & Austin law firm
 
*1991: Earned law degree magna cum laude from Harvard University
 
*1991: Earned law degree magna cum laude from Harvard University
*1992: Organized voter registration drives for Clinton campaign
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*1992: Organized [[Voter registration|voter registration]] drives for [[Bill Clinton|Clinton]] campaign
 
*1992-1996: Attorney for Miner, Barnhill & Galland
 
*1992-1996: Attorney for Miner, Barnhill & Galland
 
*1992-2004: Part-time Lecturer and Professor at University of Chicago Law School
 
*1992-2004: Part-time Lecturer and Professor at University of Chicago Law School
*1997-2005: Illinois state Senator
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*1997-2005: [[Illinois State Senate|Illinois state Senator]]
*2005-2009: United States Senator from Illinois
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*2005-2009: [[United States Senate|United States Senator]] from [[Illinois]]
 
*2009-Present: President of the United States of America
 
*2009-Present: President of the United States of America
  
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==Issues==
 
==Issues==
===U.S. Senator===
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===Presidential administration===
Consistent with his interests in conservation, Obama voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
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====2014 illegal immigration surge====
Obama took an active role in the Senate's drive for improved border security and immigration reform. In 2005, he cosponsored the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" introduced by Republican [[John McCain]] of [[Arizona]].<ref>{{cite web | first=109th Congress, 1st Session | last=U.S. Senate | title=S. 1033, Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act | date=May 12 2005 | url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SN01033: | publisher=Thomas | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> He later added three amendments to the "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act," which passed the Senate in May 2006, but failed to gain majority support in the House of Representatives.<ref>{{cite news | title=Immigration Bill Divides House, Senate | date=September 22 2006 | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-09-22-immigration_x.htm | work=USA Today | accessdate=2008-04-27}} See also: {{cite web | url=http://obama.senate.gov/press/060525-obama_statement_on_senate_passage_of_immigration_reform_bill/index.html | title=Obama Statement on Senate Passage of Immigration Reform Bill | date=May 25 2006 | publisher=Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> In September 2006, Obama supported a related bill, the Secure Fence Act, authorizing construction of fencing and other security improvements along the United States–Mexico border.<ref>{{cite news | title=Latinos Upset Obama Voted for Border Fence | date=November 20 2006 | url=http://cbs2chicago.com/local/local_story_324192245.html | work=CBS 2 (Chicago) | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act into law in October 2006, calling it "an important step toward immigration reform."<ref>{{cite web | title=President Bush Signs Secure Fence Act | date=October 26 2006 | url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061026.html | publisher=White House | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref>
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::''See also: [[2014 illegal immigration surge]]''
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The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act delayed the deportation of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in order to protect them from traffickers.<ref name="2008lawpolitico"/> Other factors argued by lawmakers included increased gang violence in Central America, as well as claims that the administration has been enforced immigration laws too lightly.<ref name="whitehousefirstplan">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/john-boehner-immigration-border-national-guard-obama-108122_Page2.html ''Politico'', "White House unveils new plan to address immigration crisis," June 20, 2014]</ref> As of June 2014, it was estimated that 52,000 unaccompanied minors have entered into the program since October 2013. The process can take months or even years for the children to be given asylum or be reunited with their families.<ref name="2008lawpolitico">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/what-to-know-08-immigration-law-108774.html ''Politico'', "What to know: ‘08 immigration law," July 10, 2014]</ref>
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=====Detention center increase=====
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[[File:Border Mexico USA.jpg|215px|thumb|right|link=2014 illegal immigration surge|U.S.-Mexico border]]On June 20, 2014, Obama released a plan to increase the amount of detention centers, use more ankle bracelets to track immigrants waiting for hearings and shift more immigration judges to southern [[Texas]] in order to speed up the hearings process.<ref name="whitehousefirstplan"/> The same day, Vice President [[Joe Biden]] met with the leaders of Central American countries to discuss plans to slow the surge. While the White House announced it would provide Guatemala with $40 million to mitigate gang violence and $25 million to El Salvador to start youth programs for those pressured by gang violence, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina suggested, "I proposed to the Vice-President the possibility of considering temporary work programs, which would allow (Guatemalans) to go for a time and return." An unnamed U.S. official claimed that the administration's message to those seeking entry into the U.S. legally was increasing, "'Don't come.' And if you think you're coming and once you're here you won't be returned, that's not the case. You're not going to be able to stay."<ref name="bidendiplomats">[http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/20/us-usa-immigration-children-guatemala-idUSKBN0EV0C920140620 ''Reuters'', "Central America presses Biden on migrant rights as U.S. vows aid," June 20, 2014]</ref>
  
Partnering with Republican Senators [[Richard Lugar]] of [[Indiana]] and then [[Tom Coburn]] of [[Oklahoma]], Obama successfully introduced two initiatives bearing his name. "Lugar–Obama" expanded the Nunn–Lugar cooperative threat reduction concept to conventional weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and anti-personnel mines.<ref>{{cite web | url=http://obama.senate.gov/press/070111-lugar-obama_non/ | title=Lugar–Obama Nonproliferation Legislation Signed into Law by the President | date=January 11 2007 | publisher=Richard Lugar U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-04-27}} See also: {{cite news | first=Richard G | last=Lugar | coauthors=Barack Obama | title=Junkyard Dogs of War | date=December 3 2005 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/02/AR2005120201509.html | work=Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-27}} The Lugar–Obama initiative subsequently received $48 million in funding. {{cite web | url=http://lugar.senate.gov/press/record.cfm?id=278019 | title=Obama, Lugar Secure Funding for Implementation of Nonproliferation Law | publisher=Richard Lugar U.S. Senate Office | date=June 28 2007 | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> The "Coburn–Obama Transparency Act" authorized the establishment of ''USAspending.gov'', a web search engine launched in December 2007 and run by the Office of Management and Budget.<ref>{{cite news | first=John | last=McCormack | title=Google Government Gone Viral | date=December 21 2007 | url=http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/502njiqx.asp | work=Weekly Standard | accessdate=2008-04-27}} See also: {{cite web | title=President Bush Signs Coburn–Obama Transparency Act | date=September 26 2006 | url=http://coburn.senate.gov/ffm/index.cfm?FuseAction=LegislativeFloorAction.Home&ContentRecord_id=eb582f19-802a-23ad-41db-7a7cb464cfdb | publisher=Tom Coburn U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-04-27}} The site provides the name and location of each entity receiving a Federal award, the funding agency, and the amount of the grant or contract. {{cite web | title=About This Site | url=http://www.usaspending.gov/aboutthissite.php | publisher=USAspending.gov | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> After Illinois residents complained of waste water contamination by a neighboring nuclear plant, Obama sponsored legislation requiring plant owners to notify state and local authorities of radioactive leaks.<ref>{{cite news |last=McIntire |first=Mike | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/us/politics/03exelon.html | title=Nuclear Leaks and Response Tested Obama in Senate | date=February 3 2008 |
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Democratic lawmakers showed concern over the administration's response to what Obama called a "humanitarian crisis." A spokesperson for Rep. [[Luis Gutierrez]] (D-IL) insisted Gutierrez, "does not support the idea of putting children and families fleeing violence in detention while they await our courts to catch up to the current crisis."<ref name="whitehousefirstplan"/> On the other hand, [[Speaker of the House]] [[John Boehner]] (R-OH) argued in a letter to Obama that the National Guard could assume the duty of handling undocumented children crossing the border freeing up Border Patrol to focus on guarding the boundary. He stated in his letter, "While we understand that many of these individuals are coming to this country to escape violence and hardship in their home country, the current climate along the border and our enforcement policies are only encouraging them to risk their lives and those of their children."<ref name="whitehousefirstplan"/>
work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> A compromise version of the bill was subsequently blocked by partisan disputes and later reintroduced.<ref>{{cite news | first=Michael | last=Dobbs | title=Obama's 'Backroom Deal'? | date=February 14 2008 | url=http://blog.washingtonpost.com/fact-checker/2008/02/obamas_backroom_deal.html | work=Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> 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.<ref>{{cite web | title=Democratic Republic of the Congo | date=April 2006 | url=http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/international/drc0406.shtml | publisher=United States Conference of Catholic Bishops | accessdate=2008-04-27}} {{cite web | title=The IRC Welcomes New U.S. Law on Congo | date=January 5 2007 | url=http://www.theirc.org/news/the-irc-welcomes-new-us-law.html | publisher=International Rescue Committee | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref>
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In January 2007, Obama worked with Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to eliminate gifts of travel on corporate jets by lobbyists to members of Congress and require disclosure of bundled campaign contributions under the "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act," which was signed into law in September 2007.<ref>{{cite news | first=Nathaniel | last=Weixel | title=Feingold, Obama Go After Corporate Jet Travel | date=November 15 2007 | url=http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/feingold-obama-go-after-corporate-jet-travel-2007-11-15.html | work=The Hill | accessdate=2008-04-27}} {{cite news | first=Nathaniel | last=Weixel | title=Lawmakers Press FEC on Bundling Regulation | date=December 5 2007 | url=http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/lawmakers-press-fec-on-bundling-regulation-2007-12-05.html | work=The Hill | accessdate=2008-04-27}} See also: {{cite news | title=Federal Election Commission Announces Plans to Issue New Regulations to Implement the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 | date=September 24 2007 | publisher=Federal Election Commission | url=http://www.fec.gov/press/press2007/20070924travel.shtml | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> He introduced Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act (S. 453), a bill to criminalize deceptive practices in federal elections, including fraudulent flyers and automated phone calls, as witnessed in the 2006 midterm elections.<ref>{{cite news | first=Seth | last=Stern | title=Obama–Schumer Bill Proposal Would Criminalize Voter Intimidation | date=January 31 2007 | publisher=The New York Times | url=http://www.nytimes.com/cq/2007/01/31/cq_2213.html | work=CQPolitics.com | accessdate=2008-04-27}} {{cite web | first=110th Congress, 1st Session | last=U.S. Senate | title=S. 453, Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2007 | date=January 31 2007 | url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:SN00453: | publisher=Thomas | accessdate=2008-04-27}} See also: {{cite news | title=Honesty in Elections | date=January 31 2007 | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/31/opinion/31wed1.html | work=The New York Times | format=editorial | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> Obama's energy initiatives scored pluses and minuses with environmentalists, who welcomed his sponsorship with McCain of a climate change bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds by 2050, but were skeptical of his support for a bill promoting liquefied coal production.<ref>{{cite news | first=Hebert | last=H. Josef | title=Congress Begins Tackling Climate Issues | date=January 29 2007 | publisher=CBS News | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/01/29/ap/politics/mainD8MV8LBG0.shtml| work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-27}} {{cite news | first=Elizabeth | last=Williamson | title=The Green Gripe With Obama: Liquefied Coal Is Still… Coal | date=January 10 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/09/AR2007010901503.html | work=Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> Obama also introduced the "Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007," a bill to cap troop levels in Iraq, begin phased redeployment, and remove all combat brigades from Iraq before April 2008.<ref>{{cite news | first=E. Kasak | last=Krystin | title=Obama Introduces Measure to Bring Troops Home |date=February 7 2007 | publisher=The Times (Munster, Indiana) | url =http://nwitimes.com/articles/2007/02/07/news/illiana/doc65cc98d8dc6506b28625727b0011edb5.txt | work=Medill News Service | accessdate=2008-04-27}} "Latest Major Action: 1/30/2007 Referred to Senate committee." {{cite web | first=110th Congress, 1st Session | last=U.S. Senate | title=S. 433, Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 | date=January 30 2007 | url=http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:SN00433: | publisher=Thomas | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref>
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=====Executive order=====
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Having failed to get legislation through Congress, Obama stated on June 30, 2014, that he would use the power of the executive order to achieve his intended goals on immigration if action were not taken. He insisted, "While I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act — and I hope their constituents will, too — America cannot wait forever for them to act."<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/us/obama-to-use-executive-action-to-bolster-border-enforcement.html?_r=0 ''New York Times'', "Obama Says He’ll Order Action to Aid Immigrants," June 30, 2014]</ref> On July 19, 2014, Rep. Gutierrez announced at a speech in [[Los Angeles, California]], that he believed Obama would sign an executive order in the coming months that would grant legal status to millions of immigrants.<ref>[http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-0720-la-raza-convention-20140720-story.html ''L.A. Times'', "Congressman optimistic Obama will grant immigrants legal status," July 19, 2014]</ref>
  
Later in 2007, Obama sponsored an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act adding safeguards for personality disorder military discharges, and calling for an official review following reports that the procedure had been used inappropriately to reduce government costs.<ref>{{cite web | title=Obama, Bond Hail New Safeguards on Military Personality Disorder Discharges, Urge Further Action | date=October 1 2007 | url=http://bond.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=5C1EBFEB-1321-0E36-BA7D-04630AEFAD31 | publisher=Kit Bond U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-04-27}} See also: {{cite news | first=Philip | last=Dine | title=Bond Calls for Review of Military Discharges | date=December 23 2007 | url=http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/special/srlinks.nsf/story/2E7CC823AD55667B862573A7007D12A2?OpenDocument | work=St. Louis Post-Dispatch | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> He sponsored the "Iran Sanctions Enabling Act" supporting divestment of state pension funds from Iran's oil and gas industry, and joined Republican Chuck Hagel of Nebraska in introducing legislation to reduce risks of nuclear terrorism.<ref>{{cite news | first=Adam | last=Graham-Silverman | title=Despite Flurry of Action in House, Congress Unlikely to Act Against Iran | date=September 12 2007 | url =http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002583189.html | work=CQ Today | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref><ref name=ObamaSchiff>{{cite web | title=Obama, Schiff Provision to Create Nuclear Threat Reduction Plan Approved | date=December 20 2007 | url=http://obama.senate.gov/press/071220-obama_schiff_pr/ | publisher=Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref> A provision from the Obama–Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill.<ref name=ObamaSchiff /> 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.<ref>{{cite web | title=Senate Passes Obama, McCaskill Legislation to Provide Safety Net for Families of Wounded Service Members | date=August 2 2007 | url=http://obama.senate.gov/press/070802-senate_passes_o_1/ | publisher=Barack Obama U.S. Senate Office | accessdate=2008-04-27}}</ref>
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Due to the House's continued failure to pass a bill, President Obama was expected to issue an executive order in August 2014. Possible order that would be issued included granting working visas to many illegal immigrants, easing the pressure on immigration courts, expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or reordering the deportation priority list.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/barack-obama-immigration-legal-questions-109467.html?hp=l12 ''Politico'', "Barack Obama's immigration moves could be unstoppable," July 30, 2014]</ref>
  
==Elections==
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On July 31, 2014, [[Speaker of the House]] [[John Boehner]] (R-OH) claimed that if President Obama used an executive order to carry out immigration reform, he would set his "legacy of lawlessness" in stone. Boehner stated, "He’ll be sacrificing the integrity of our laws on the altar of political opportunity, and I can guarantee you the American people would hold him to account,” he told reporters. “The actions he’s threatening to take are not about policy. They’re about politics."<ref>[http://thehill.com/homenews/house/213931-boehner-obama-will-cement-legacy-of-lawlessness#ixzz396uuMEwM ''The Hill'', "Boehner: Obama will cement ‘legacy of lawlessness’ with immigration order," July 31, 2014]</ref>
===U.S. President===
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====2012====
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:: ''See also: [[Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election]]''
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Obama sought and won re-election as President of the United States in 2012.<ref name="reelect">[http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/04/04/obama.re.election.launch/index.html ''CNN,'' "With short video, Obama launches bid for re-election," April 5, 2011]</ref><ref name="reelect"/>
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=====Funding increase request=====
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On July 9, 2014, Obama requested a $3.7 billion budget increase in order to carry out the administration's plan to create new detention centers and speed up the hearings process. A spokesman for Boehner suggested, "The speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas — which this proposal does not address."<ref>[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/08/obama-border-immigration-congress-funding-request/12352771/ ''USA Today'', "Obama seeks $3.7B to stem tide of kids crossing border," July 9, 2014]</ref> However, in a closed meeting with House Republicans, Boehner urged action on the bill prior to the August recess.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/john-boehner-urges-house-border-bill-108705.html ''Politico'', "John Boehner urges action on border bill," July 9, 2014]</ref>
  
[[Mitt Romney]] ran for the Republican Party, while [[Gary Johnson]] ran as a [[Libertarian]] and [[Jill Stein]] ran for the [[Green Party]].
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=====Refugee status extension=====
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The White House announced the consideration of a proposal allowing for citizens of Honduras, where many unaccompanied minors are illegally migrating from due to gang violence, to file for refugee status on July 24, 2014. The ability to file as a refugee would prevent migrants from having to make the dangerous journey from Honduras with an unknown outcome and would allow them to apply for refugee status prior to leaving the country. While supporters of the idea believe offering refugee status would greatly cut down the flow of immigrants crossing the border, a Federation for American Immigration Reform spokesperson warned, "Once you stretch the definition of refugee to include people in countries where there is violence or widespread poverty, you are going to create the expectation that people will be granted asylum, based on the same claim, if they get to the United States." The White House acknowledged the proposal was being considered, but a spokesperson clarified, "It doesn't mean we're going to do it."<ref>[http://online.wsj.com/articles/proposal-would-alter-process-for-migrating-1406253821 ''Wall Street Journal'', "Proposal Would Alter Process for Migrating," July 24, 2014]</ref>
  
{{2012PresResults}}
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====ISIS insurgency====
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::''See also: [[ISIS insurgency in Iraq]]''
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[[File:Iraq map.png|left|125px|thumb|link=ISIS insurgency in Iraq|Map of Iraq]]Iraqi security forces were not well-trained or well-equipped enough following the American withdrawal of troops to stave off the al-Qaeda off-shoot, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which had grown in power due to their actions in the civil war in neighboring Syria. On June 12, 2014, while reviewing options in dealing with increasing violence in Iraq by ISIS, Obama stated, "What we’ve seen over the last couple of days indicates Iraq’s going to need more help," however, the administration pointed out they would not send ground troops into Iraq. Obama authorized airstrikes in Iraq if necessary, on August 7, 2014.<ref>[http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/07/40000-iraqis-stranded-mountain-isis-death-threat ''The Guardian'', "40,000 Iraqis stranded on mountain as Isis jihadists threaten death," August 6, 2014]</ref><ref name=abc>[http://abcnews.go.com/International/us-carries-airstrike-isis-iraq/story?id=24897334 ''ABC News'', "Airstrikes in Iraq," August 8, 2014]</ref> Several airstrikes took place in the following days, as well as humanitarian drops to those battling ISIS troops.<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/10/world/meast/iraq-crisis/ ''CNN'', "Iraq crisis: Troops swell in Baghdad amid ISIS threat, humanitarian nightmare," August 11, 2014]</ref><ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/09/world/meast/iraq-crisis/ ''CNN'', "Officials: U.S. airstrikes pound ISIS militants firing at Iraq's Yazidis," August 10, 2014]</ref>
  
====2008====
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Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was ousted by the president of Iraq on August 11, 2014, a move that brought support from Obama and other heads of state around the world. Haider al-Abadi, of the same political party as Maliki, was nominated to replace Maliki in hopes of forming a more inclusive government to the region.<ref>[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/11027087/Tanks-on-Baghdads-streets-but-Iraqi-prime-minister-Nouri-al-Maliki-finally-ousted.html ''The Telegraph'', "Tanks on Baghdad's streets, but Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki finally ousted," August 11, 2014]</ref>
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
+
{{2008PresResults}}
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In February 2007, standing before the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election.<ref name=BBC20070210>{{cite news | title=Obama Launches Presidential Bid | date=February 10 2007 | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6349081.stm | work=BBC News | accessdate=2008-01-14}} [http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=494649996&channel=353512430 Video] at Brightcove.TV.</ref> Describing his working life in Illinois, and symbolically linking his presidential campaign to Abraham Lincoln's 1858 Lincoln's House Divided Speech|House Divided speech, Obama said: "That is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America."<ref>{{cite news | title=Presidential Campaign Announcement | format=video | date=February 10 2007 | publisher=Brightcove.TV | url=http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=494649996&channel=353512430 | work=Obama for America | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Speaking at a [[Democratic National Committee]] (DNC) meeting one week before the February announcement, Obama called for putting an end to negative campaigning.<ref>{{cite news | url=http://www.democrats.org/a/2007/02/barack_obama.php |title=Barack Obama at the DNC Winter 2007 Meeting | format=video | date=February 2 2007 | work=Democratic National Committee | accessdate=2008-01-14}} Full text from [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/05/AR2007020500753_pf.html CQ Transcripts Wire]. Retrieved on 2008-01-14. See also: {{cite news | first=Paul | last=Harris | title=The Obama Revolution | date=February 4 2007 | url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2005508,00.html | work=Guardian Unlimited | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> After announcing his presidential campaign Obama has emphasized ending the Iraq War, energy independence, and providing universal health care as his top three priorities.<ref>{{cite news | title=Barack Obama on the Issues: What Would Be Your Top Three Overall Priorities If Elected? | url=http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008-presidential-candidates/issues/candidates/barack-obama/#top-priorities | work=Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-14}} See also: {{cite news | first=Michael | last=Falcone | title=Obama's 'One Thing' | date=December 21 2007 | url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/obamas-one-thing/ | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-14}}</ref>
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====Boehner lawsuit====
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::''See also: [[Boehner's lawsuit against the Obama administration]]''
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[[File:Barack Obama and John Boehner enjoying Saint Patrick's Day 2014.jpg|right|175px|thumb|link=Boehner's lawsuit against the Obama administration|[[Speaker of the House|House Speaker]] [[John Boehner]]]] [[Speaker of the House]] [[John Boehner]] (R-OH) announced in June 2014 that he was filing a lawsuit against Obama focusing on Obama's failure to enforce the [[Obamacare overview|Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act]]'s employer mandate. House [[United States House Committee on Rules|Rules Committee]] Chairman [[Pete Sessions]] (R-TX) released a draft resolution July 10 that could be considered by the committee as early as next week and the House floor the following week. Boehner argued that Obama "changed the healthcare law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it."<ref name="latimesdelay">[http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-house-lawsuit-obamacare-20140710-story.html ''L.A. Times'', "House lawsuit over Obamacare to focus on employer mandate delay," July 10, 2014]</ref>
  
Obama's campaign raised $58 million during the first half of 2007, topping all other candidates and exceeding previous records for the first six months of any year before an election year.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jim | last=Malone | title=Obama Fundraising Suggests Close Race for Party Nomination | date=July 2 2007 | url=http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-07-02-voa52.cfm | work=Voice of America | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Small donors, those contributing in increments of less than $200, accounted for $16.4 million of Obama's record-breaking total, more than any other Democratic candidate.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jeanne | last=Cummings | title=Small Donors Rewrite Fundraising Handbook | date=September 26 2007 | url=http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=3ECB3515-3048-5C12-004D622CB6F4E214 | work=Politico | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> In the first month of 2008, his campaign brought in $36.8 million, the most ever raised in one month by a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries.<ref>{{cite news | first=Emily | last=Cadei | title=Obama Outshines Other Candidates in January Fundraising | date=February 21 2008 | url=http://www.cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000002674309 | work=CQ Politics | accessdate=2008-02-24}}</ref>
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Obama was asked in 2013 about the legality of the delay, to which he responded, "If Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don't have some folks in Congress who say that I'm usurping my authority."<ref name="hilldelay"/> The administration called the move a political stunt and a waste of time.<ref name="politicodelay">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/gop-obama-lawsuit-employer-mandate-108778.html?hp=f1 ''Politico'', "GOP’s Obama lawsuit to focus on employer mandate," July 10, 2014]</ref>
  
Obama was placed under Secret Service protection on May 3, 2007, the earliest ever for a U.S. presidential candidate.<ref>{{cite news | title=Secret Service Guards Obama | date=May 4 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/03/AR2007050302509.html | work=CQ Politics | accessdate=2008-06-03}}</ref> With two months remaining before the first electoral contests in [[Iowa]] and [[New Hampshire]], and national opinion polls showing him trailing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama began directly charging his top rival with failing to clearly state her political positions.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jay | last=Newton-Small | title=Obama (Sort of) Takes the Gloves Off | date=October 28 2007 | url=http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1677121,00.html | work=Time | accessdate=2008-01-14}}<br />{{cite news | first=Adam | last=Nagourney | coauthors=Jeff Zeleny | title=Obama Rolls Out Aggressive Approach to Clinton's Campaign | date=October 28 2007 | url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/28/america/obama.php | work =International Herald Tribune | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Campaigning in Iowa, he told ''The Washington Post'' that as the Democratic nominee he would draw more support than Clinton from independent and Republican voters in the general election.<ref>{{cite news | first=Dan | last=Balz | coauthors=Shailagh Murray | title=On Campaign Bus, Obama Opens Up About Challengers | date=November 9 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/08/AR2007110802459.html | work=The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
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====Bergdahl exchange====
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The Obama administration exchanged five Guantanamo Bay prisoners for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on May 31, 2014. Bergdahl was captured by Taliban forces in Afghanistan in 2009 and held captive just across the border in Pakistan.<ref>[http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bowe-bergdahl-a-taliban-captive-since-2009-has-been-freed/ ''CBS News'', "Bowe Bergdahl, a Taliban captive since 2009, has been freed," May 31, 2014]</ref> Bergdahl has been accused of deserting his unit before being captured, leading to more controversy over whether or not the administration should have made a deal with the Taliban. Critics claimed the action showed American weakness by setting the precedent that the United States would make deals with terrorists. The [[United States House Committee on Armed Services|House Armed Services committee]] chair Rep. [[Buck McKeon]] (R-CA) went further and insisted President Obama violated the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act by not giving [[United States Congress|Congress]] at least 30 days notice before engaging in talks to get Bergdahl back.<ref name="bergdahlbasics">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/bowe-bergdahl-deal-criticized-afghanistan-barack-obama-107312.html?hp=l1 ''Politico'', "Criticism of Bergdahl deal mounts," June 6, 2014]</ref>
  
Among the first four DNC-sanctioned state contests, Obama won more delegates than Clinton in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina while winning an equal number in New Hampshire. On Super Tuesday, he emerged with 20 more delegates than Clinton.<ref>{{cite web | url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/democratic_delegate_count.html | title=2008 Democratic Delegates | work=RealClearPolitics | accessdate=2008-03-25}}</ref> He broke fundraising records in the first two months of 2008, raising over $90 million for his primary campaign while Clinton raised $45 million in the same period.<ref>{{cite news | url=http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-money7mar07,1,5383518.story | title=Obama sets fundraising record with $55 million | work=Los Angeles Times | author=Dan Morain | date=March 7 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18}}</ref> After Super Tuesday, Obama won the eleven remaining February primaries and caucuses.<ref>{{cite news | url=http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/make-that-11-for-obama/ |title=Make That 11 for Obama | author=Brian Knowlton | work=The New York Times | date=February 21 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18}}</ref> Obama and Clinton split delegates and states nearly equally in Vermont, Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island.<ref>{{cite news | url=http://edition.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/dates/index.html#val=20080304 | title=Results: March 4 - Multi-State Events | publisher=CNN | date=2008-03-04 | accessdate=2008-03-04}}</ref>
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[[File:USA PFC BoweBergdahl ACU Cropped.png|125px|thumb|left|Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl|link=Bowe Bergdahl exchange]][[White House Press Secretary]] [[Jay Carney]] claimed the exchange was rushed due to Bergdahl's "deteriorating" health. Secretary of Defense [[Chuck Hagel]] also defended the exchange and hoped it would create "a new opening" in future talks with the Taliban.<ref name="bergdahlbasics"/> When asked the reasoning behind the negotiations on June 3, 2014, President Obama explained, "Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that." He also stated that the administration had been consulting with Congress prior to the swap, a statement [[United States House Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select)|House Intelligence committee]] chair [[Mike Rogers]] (R-MI) disputed, stating, "In 2011, they did come up and present a plan that included a prisoner transfer that was, in a bipartisan way, pushed back. We hadn't heard anything since on any details of any prisoner exchange." Senate Majority Leader [[Harry Reid]] (D-NV) reported that he was told of the exchange but only "the day before or the day of."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/barack-obama-defends-bowe-bergdahl-deal-107359.html#ixzz33axOYpVO ''Politico'', "President Obama defends Bowe Bergdahl deal," June 3, 2014]</ref>
  
In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama's 23-year relationship to his former pastor Jeremiah Wright.<ref name="Obama's Pastor">{{cite news | url=http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=4443788 | title=Obama's Pastor: God Damn America, U.S. to Blame for 9/11 | author=Brian Ross | coauthors=Rehab el-Buri|publisher=''ABC News'' | date=March 13 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-17}} See also: {{cite news | url=http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/03/for-the-record.html | title=For The Record | work=The Daily Dish | publisher=''The Atlantic'' |date=March 16 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18 | last=Sullivan | first=Andrew}}</ref> After ABC News broadcast racially and politically charged Media clip|clips from sermons by Rev. Wright,<ref name="Obama's Pastor" /><ref>{{cite news |url=http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/03/14/obamas-spiritual-adviser-questioned-us-role-in-spread-of-hiv-sept-11-attacks/ | title=Obama’s Pastor’s Sermon: ‘God Damn America’ | publisher=FOXNews | author=Jeff Goldblatt | date=March 14 2008 | accessdate=2008-04-04}}</ref> Obama responded by condemning Wright's remarks and ending Wright's relationship with the campaign.<ref>{{cite news |url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23634881/ |title=Controversial minister leaves Obama campaign | publisher=MSNBC|date=2008-03-14|accessdate=2008-04-28|first=Alex|last=Johnson}}</ref> Obama delivered a speech, during the controversy, entitled "A More Perfect Union"<ref>{{cite news | url=http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0319/p25s01-uspo.html | title=Remarks by Barack Obama: 'A More Perfect Union' | author=Barack Obama | work=The Christian Science Monitor | date=March 18 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18}}</ref> that addressed issues of race. After Wright reiterated some of his remarks in a speech at the National Press Club,<ref>{{cite news | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/us/politics/28text-wright.html | title=Reverend Wright at the National Press Club | publisher=The New York Times | work=CQ Transcriptions | date=April 28, 2008 | accessdate=2008-05-14}}</ref> Obama strongly denounced Wright, who he said "[presented] a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for."<ref>{{cite web | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24371827 | title=Obama denounces former pastor | publisher=MSNBC.com | accessdate=2008-05-14 | date=April 29, 2008 | work=The Associated Press}}</ref> Obama's association with Bill Ayers was also questioned in an ABC debate. Ayers, whose radical activism had taken the form of planting bombs in the early 1970's,<ref>http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/taking_liberties_in_philadelphia.html</ref> hosted the announcement of Obama's 1996 State Senate campaign and had joined the board of the Woods Foundation, where Obama was already a member, in 1999.<ref name="woods"/><ref>{{cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24196396/ | title=Ex-radical Ayers in eye of campaign storm | publisher=MSNBC | accessdate=2008-05-05 | last=Curry | first=Tom | date=April 18, 2008}}</ref> On May 31, 2008 Barack Obama resigned from the Chicago Trinity Church in a further public speech, Obama said he made the decision after racially charged comments by visiting Catholic priest Michael Pfleger were made towards Hillary Clinton.<ref> {{cite news | url=http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/05/31/obama-resigns-from-controversial-church/ | title =Obama resigns from controversial church | publisher=CNN | accessdate=2008-05-31 | |date=May 31 2008}}</ref>
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====VA hospital waiting lines====
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::''See also: [[Veterans Affairs' secret waiting lists]]''
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According to reports by ''CNN'', veterans hospitals across the country were delaying care of veteran patients, at times to the point that some veterans conditions deteriorated vastly or died due to the wait times. To cover for the long delays, some hospitals resorted to "secret lists" for patients awaiting care in order to keep their official wait times down. The following reports were released by ''CNN'':<ref name="secretlist">[http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/23/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/index.html ''CNN'', "A fatal wait: Veterans languish and die on a VA hospital's secret list," April 24, 2014]</ref>
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*On November 20, 2013, it was reported that at Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Medical Center in Columbia, [[South Carolina]], patients were not receiving routine gastrointestinal procedures until up to a year after requesting an appointment, at times even longer. A review of 280 gastrointestinal patients showed that 52 of the patients showed complications due to the delay in care and early detection. The VA confirmed six deaths resulted from delayed care at the hospital, but ''CNN'''s sources suggested the number could be as high as 20.<ref name="dorn">[http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/19/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/index.html ''CNN'', "Hospital delays are killing America's war veterans," November 20, 2013]</ref>
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:The Dorn hospital also received an addition $1 million in federal funding in 2011 in order to treat the patients on long waiting lists. However, according to documents, only one-third of the federal funds went to the intended destination.<ref name="dorn"/>
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*The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, [[Georgia]], experienced the deaths of three patients due to long delays in treatment and had a waiting list of over 4,500 patients.<ref name="dorn"/>
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*Between 2010 and 2011, VA internal documents indicated 82 veterans died or were dying in part due to delayed care from VA hospitals in the United States.<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/30/health/veterans-dying-health-care-delays/ ''CNN'', "Veterans dying because of health care delays," January 30, 2014]</ref>
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*In the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system in Phoenix, [[Arizona]], at least 40 veterans died waiting for care. The VA system in Phoenix used a secret waiting list. The secret list was used as a placeholder for patients whose care would be delayed for months. VA guidelines require care be given in a timely manner, usually within three weeks, but the Phoenix system used the secret list to hold names between the times appointments were made until the appointment could be made within the required VA timeline.<ref name="secretlist"/>
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Members of the [[United States House of Representatives Committee on Veterans' Affairs|House Veterans Affairs Committee]] began investigating the VA hospital delays in November 2013.<ref name="dorn"/> In April 2014, Rep. [[Jeff Miller (Florida)|Jeff Miller]] (R-FL) ordered all records be preserved and intended to make the issue a congressional investigation.<ref name="secretlist"/>
  
Obama lost six out of the next nine contests. During April and May 2008 Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon held primaries. Obama won North Carolina and Oregon, and Clinton won the rest, with an aggregate result of Obama remaining ahead in pledged delegates after these contests; during the same period, Obama received endorsements from more superdelegates than Clinton.<ref>{{cite news | url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24583678/ | title=Superdelegates put Obama within reach | publisher=MSNBC.com | work=The Associated Press | date=May 12, 2008 | accessdate=2008-05-13}}</ref> On May 31, the Democratic National Committee agreed to seat half of the [[Michigan]] and [[Florida]] delegates at the national convention, narrowing the delegate gap between Clinton and Obama, and increasing the number of delegates needed to win the nomination; but Obama retained a lead even after Clinton won the Puerto Rico primary on June 1.<ref>{{cite news | url=http://freeinternetpress.com/story.php?sid=16916/ | title=Clinton Wins Puerto Rico Primary | publisher=Free Internet Press | work=The Associated Press | date=June 1, 2008 | accessdate=2008-06-01}}</ref> On June 3, Clinton won the [[South Dakota]] primary while Obama won [[Montana]].<ref>s[http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSWAT00958520080604 ''Reuters'', "Clinton wins South Dakota Democratic contest: media," June 3, 2008]</ref><ref>[http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/06/03/1105572.aspx ''MSNBC.com'', "Obama wins Montana, gains 9 supers," June 4, 2008]</ref> On June 3, with all states counted, Obama passed the 2118 delegate mark and became the Democratic presumptive nominee.<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/03/election.democrats/index.html ''CNN.com'', "Obama: I will be the Democratic nominee," June 4, 2008]</ref> Obama is the first African American to be the presumptive nominee of a major political party,<ref>[http://web.archive.org/web/20090226163525/http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23809081-23109,00.html ''Herald Sun'', "Obama clinches nomination," June 4, 2008]</ref> and the first to be born in Hawaii.<ref>[http://www.khon2.com/home/ticker/19516119.html]</ref>
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The VA hospitals in Nashville and Murfreesboro, [[Tennessee]], had 4,752 new patients go through their facilities during a 6 month period ending March 31, 2014. Of those, only 29.6 percent saw treatment in the 14-day window goal set by the Veterans Affairs Department, representing the lowest score nationwide excluding those with the secret lists. The facilities with the highest percentage of new patients seen were located in Clarksburg, [[West Virginia]], where 93.7% were seen in the 14-day window.<ref>[http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/politics/2014/06/02/wait-times-midstate-va-hospitals-longest-nation/9889595/ ''Tennessean'', "Wait times at Midstate VA hospitals longest in nation," June 3, 2014]</ref>
  
In his victory speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, Obama said: "After 54 hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end. Tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another, a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Because of you tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States of America." Paying tribute to his rival Hillary Clinton, he said she had made him a "better candidate."He congratulated her on the race she had run "throughout this contest" and also praised former President [[Bill Clinton]]'s economic policies. In her own speech in New York, Clinton showed no sign of suspending her presidential campaign. She told cheering supporters: "Now the question is, 'Where do we go from here?' And given how far we've come, and where we need to go as a party, it's a question I don't take lightly. This has been a long campaign and I will be making no decisions tonight." Earlier, she had signaled her interest in joining Obama's ticket as a potential vice-president.<ref>{{cite news | first = Jeff and Michael Luo | last = Zeleny | title = Obama Clinches Nomination | url = http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/us/politics/04cnd-campaign.html | publisher = New York Times | date = 2008-06-04 | accessdate = 2008-06-04}}</ref>
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A VA internal report showed that staff at nearly two-thirds of the nation's 216 facilities were instructed to falsify wait time information on reports. In an editorial in ''Time'', Rep. Jeff Miller, chair of the House Veterans Affairs committee, stated, "Any VA administrator who ordered subordinates to purposely manipulate appointment data should be fired immediately."<ref>[http://time.com/2809158/veterans-affairs-scandal-eric-shinseki/ ''Time'', "Why Veterans Affairs Can’t Root Out Its Corruption," June 2, 2014]</ref>
===Full history===
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{{Collapsible history section
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|Type = electoral
+
|Name = Barack Obama
+
|Content =
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<big>'''2004'''</big>
+
  
{{Ilsengenelecbox04}}
+
=====Calls for Shinseki resignation=====
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On May 5, 2014, the American Legion, the largest veteran organization in the U.S., and Concerned Veterans for America called for the resignation of Secretary [[Eric Shinseki|Shinseki]].<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/05/politics/veterans-groups-seek-shinseki-resignation/ ''CNN'', "Two key veterans groups call for VA chief Eric Shinseki to resign," May 5, 2014]</ref> American Legion's director stated, "At least let us know that the problems exist and they have a plan to take care of it," when asked about the lack of communication from the VA. Shinseki responded to the calls for resignation, saying, "I serve at the pleasure of the president. I signed on to make some changes, I have work to do."<ref>[http://online.wsj.com/news/article_email/SB10001424052702303417104579546390034288748-lMyQjAxMTA0MDAwNjEwNDYyWj ''Wall Street Journal'', "Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki Says He Won't Resign," May 6, 2014]</ref>
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======Shinseki resignation======
 +
President Obama accepted Shinseki's resignation on May 30, 2014.<ref name="resignation">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/barack-obama-to-talk-eric-shinseki-veterans-affairs-va-scandal-live-kelly-ripa-michael-strahan-107245.html?hp=t1 ''Politico'', "President Barack Obama accepts Eric Shinseki’s resignation," May 30, 2014]</ref> Sloan Gibson, who was confirmed in February 2014 to be Shinseki's deputy secretary, was named acting secretary of veterans affairs until a replacement could be nominated and confirmed.<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/31/us/sloan-gibson-veterans-affair.html ''New York Times'', "V.A.’s Acting Chief: West Point Graduate and Ex-Leader of U.S.O.," May 30, 2014]</ref>
 +
=====Actions taken=====
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Shinseki testified before the [[United States Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs|Senate Veterans Affairs committee]] on May 15, 2014, stating, "I’m committed to take all actions necessary to identify exactly what the issues are, to fix them and to strengthen veterans’ trust in VA health care. If any allegations are substantiated by the inspector general, we will act." Sen. [[Richard Burr]] (R-NC) questioned the leadership ability of the secretary and others in the department, claiming, "VA senior leadership, including the secretary, should have been aware that VA was facing a national scheduling crisis. VA leadership either failed to connect the dots or failed to address this ongoing crisis, which has resulted in patient harm and patient deaths."
  
In mid-2002, Obama began considering a run for the U.S. Senate, enlisting political strategist David Axelrod that fall and formally announcing his candidacy in January 2003.<ref>{{cite news | first=Scott | last=Helman | title=Early Defeat Launched a Rapid Political Climb | date=October 12 2007 | url=http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/10/12/early_defeat_launched_a_rapid_political_climb/ | work=Boston Globe | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> Decisions by Republican incumbent Peter Fitzgerald and his Democratic predecessor Carol Moseley Braun not to contest the race launched wide-open Democratic and Republican primary contests involving fifteen candidates.<ref>{{cite news | last=Davey | first=Monica | title=Closely Watched Illinois Senate Race Attracts 7 Candidates in Millionaire Range | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/07/politics/campaign/07ILLI.html | work=The New York Times | date=March 7 2004 | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> Obama's candidacy was boosted by Axelrod's advertising campaign featuring images of the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and an endorsement by the daughter of the late Paul Simon, former U.S. Senator for Illinois.<ref>{{cite news | first=Ben | last=Wallace-Wells | title=Obama's Narrator | date=April 1 2007 | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/magazine/01axelrod.t.html | work=The New York Times Magazine | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> He received over 52% of the vote in the March 2004 primary, emerging 29% ahead of his nearest Democratic rival.<ref>{{cite news | first=Monica | last=Davey | title=From Crowded Field, Democrats Choose State Legislator to Seek Senate Seat | date=May 17 2004 | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9400E4D61431F934A25750C0A9629C8B63 | work =New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-13}} See also: {{cite news | first=John S | last=Jackson | title=The Making of a Senator: Barack Obama and the 2004 Illinois Senate Race | date=August 2006 | publisher=Southern Illinois University | url=http://www.siu.edu/~ppi/PDF/papers/Obama.pdf | work=Occasional Paper of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref>
+
Prior to the hearing, President Obama announced that Deputy [[White House Chief of Staff]] Rob Nabors would lead a review of the VA's scheduling process and patient safety rules.<ref name="politicohearing">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/eric-shinseki-senate-scandal-veterans-affairs-treatment-delays-106715.html#ixzz32CY89Lnk ''Politico'', "Eric Shinseki ‘mad as hell’ over VA scandal," May 15, 2014]</ref> Two organizations, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), also launched a whistle-blower website for those who were affected by the controversial secret waiting lists. The head of POGO stated, "Whistle-blowers shouldn’t have to go it alone. We can help whistle-blowers hold the VA accountable, and keep the focus on solutions rather than attempts to hunt down those who voiced concerns."<ref name="foxwhistleblower">[http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/05/18/whistleblower-website-launched-to-expose-va-wrongdoing/ ''Fox News'', "Whistle-blower website launched to expose VA wrongdoing," May 19, 2014]</ref>
  
Obama's expected opponent in the general election, Republican primary winner Jack Ryan, withdrew from the race in June 2004.<ref>{{cite news | title=Ryan Drops Out of Senate Race in Illinois | date=June 25 2004 | url=http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/06/25/il.ryan/ | work=CNN | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> In August 2004, with less than three months to go before election day, Alan Keyes accepted the Illinois Republican Party's nomination to replace Ryan.<ref>{{cite news | first=Maura Kelly | last=Lannan | title=Alan Keyes Enters U.S. Senate Race in Illinois Against Rising Democratic Star | date=August 9, 2004 | publisher=Union-Tribune (San Diego) | url=http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20040809-0849-illinoissenate.html | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> A long-time resident of Maryland, Keyes established legal residency in Illinois with the nomination.<ref>{{cite news | first=Ford | last=Liam | coauthors= David Mendell | title=Keyes Sets Up House in Cal City | date=August 13, 2004 | url =http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/specials/elections/chi-0408130201aug13,1,7640082.story | work =Chicago Tribune | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> Through three televised debates, Obama and Keyes expressed opposing views on stem cell research, abortion, gun control, school vouchers, and tax cuts.<ref>For debate transcripts and video, see ''Alan Keyes Archives'': {{cite web | url=http://www.keyesarchives.com/transcript.php?id=367 | title=Alan Keyes and Barack Obama Debate, Hosted by Illinois Radio Network | date=October 12 2004}} {{cite web | url=http://www.keyesarchives.com/transcript.php?id=370 |title=U.S. Senate Debate Sponsored by the League of Women Voters in Illinois | date=October 21 2004}} {{cite web | url=http://www.keyesarchives.com/transcript.php?id=373 | title=Debate Sponsored by WTTW and the City Club of Chicago |accessdate=2008-04-13 |date=October 26 2004}}</ref> In the November 2004 general election, Obama received 70% of the vote to Keyes's 27%, the largest victory margin for a statewide race in Illinois history.<ref>{{cite news | title=America Votes 2004: U.S. Senate / Illinois | url =http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/IL/S/01/index.html | publisher=CNN | accessdate=2008-04-13}} {{cite news | first=Peter | last=Slevin | title=For Obama, a Handsome Payoff in Political Gambles | date=November 13 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/12/AR2007111201945.html | work=The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref>
+
====Obamacare====
 +
=====Healthcare.gov rollout=====
 +
:: ''See also: [[Healthcare.gov website rollout]]''
 +
{{youtube|title=mQf_c7SNv-U|size=200|caption=[[Pat Roberts]] calls for [[Kathleen Sebelius|Sebelius]]' resignation.}}
 +
The launch of the Healthcare.gov 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.<ref>[http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-01/business/chi-obamacare-affordable-care-act-20131001_1_state-exchange-tuesday-morning-call-center ''Chicago Tribune'', "Computer glitches, overloads hit health care exchanges," October 1, 2013]</ref><ref name="bloombergdata">[http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-08/insurers-getting-faulty-data-from-u-s-health-exchanges.html ''Bloomberg'', "Insurers Getting Faulty Data From U.S. Health Exchanges," October 8, 2013]</ref><ref name="politicoenrollment">[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/another-obstacle-to-signing-up-for-aca-crops-up-98573.html ''Politico'', "Another obstacle to signing up for ACA crops up," October 21, 2013]</ref> At an October 10, 2013, promotional event for the website, [[U.S. Department of Health and Human Services|Health and Human Services Secretary]] [[Kathleen Sebelius]] stated, "Believe me, we had some early glitches, but it's getting better every day."<ref>[http://triblive.com/business/headlines/4855077-74/website-sebelius-health#axzz2hPkERiqj ''Pittsburgh Tribune-Review'', "Sebelius visit fails to reassure as health care website glitches persist," October 10, 2013]</ref>  Sebelius testified before the [[United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce|House Energy and Commerce committee]] on October 30, 2013. During testimony, Sebelius stated: "In these early weeks, access to HealthCare.gov 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."<ref name="CNNSebelius">[http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/30/politics/obamacare-sebelius/ ''CNN'', "Sebelius: 'I apologize, I'm accountable' for Obamacare website flaws," October 30, 2013]</ref><ref name="sebeliushearing">[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/kathleen-sebelius-testify-obamacare-98612.html ''Politico'', "Kathleen Sebelius offers to testify on Obamacare," October 22, 2013]</ref> Officials have not released an estimated timeframe for fixes.<ref name="politicosurge">[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/obamacare-website-fixes-hhs-98569.html?hp=f1 ''Politico'', "Tech 'surge' to tackle Obamacare websites," October 20, 2013]</ref>
  
In July 2004, he wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts.<ref>For details about the speech's genesis and delivery, see: {{cite news | first=Shira | last=Boss-Bicak | title=Barack Obama ’83: Is He the New Face of The Democratic Party? | date=January 2005 | url =http://www.college.columbia.edu/cct/jan05/cover.php | work =Columbia College Today| accessdate=2008-04-13}} See also: {{cite news | first=David | last=Bernstein| title=The Speech | date=June 2007| url=http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/June-2007/The-Speech/ | work=Chicago Magazine| accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> After describing his maternal grandfather's experiences as a World War II veteran and a beneficiary of the New Deal's Federal Housing Administration and G.I. Bill programs, Obama spoke about changing the U.S. government's economic and social priorities. He questioned the Bush administration's management of the Iraq War and highlighted America's obligations to its soldiers. Drawing examples from U.S. history, he criticized heavily partisan views of the electorate and asked Americans to find unity in diversity, saying, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America."<ref>{{cite web | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention | format=text or [http://www.barackobama.com/tv/speeches.php?bcpid=900718856&bclid=900554575&bctid=791793079 video] | date=July 27 2004 | url=http://www.barackobama.com/2004/07/27/keynote_address_at_the_2004_de.php | publisher=BarackObama.com | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref> Broadcasts of the speech by major news organizations launched Obama's status as a national political figure and boosted his campaign for U.S. Senate.<ref>{{cite news | first=Randal C | last=Archibold | title=The Illinois Candidate; Day After, Keynote Speaker Finds Admirers Everywhere | date=July 29 2004 | url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A03E7DB103DF93AA15754C0A9629C8B63 | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-13}} {{cite news | first=Ronald | last=Roach | title=Obama Rising | date=October 7 2004 | publisher=DiverseEducation.com | url=http://www.diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_4041.shtml | work=Black Issues In Higher Education | accessdate=2008-04-13}}</ref>
+
=====Health insurance policy cancellations=====
 +
::''See also: [[Health insurance policy cancellations since Obamacare]]''
 +
Leading up to the passage of Obamacare into law, one statement made repeatedly by the President, administration and Congressional supporters, was some form of the line Obama gave in an August 22, 2009, internet address, claiming, "If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period."<ref>[http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2009/08/obama_slams_out.html ''Boston Globe'', "Obama slams 'outrageous myths' on health care; Republicans say president 'plays fast and loose' with facts," August 22, 2009]</ref>
  
<big>'''1998-2002'''</big>
+
However, when the law was enacted on October 1, 2013, many individually insured people began receiving letters from their insurance carriers notifying them that their current plans would be canceled at the end of the policy term.  The plans were canceled because they did not meet new minimum coverage requirements set by the law.<ref name="NYTcancellationsnotsite">[http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/30/us/politics/cancellation-of-health-care-plans-replaces-website-problems-as-prime-target.html?_r=0 ''New York Times'', "Cancellation of Health Care Plans Replaces Website Problems as Prime Target," October 29, 2013]</ref>
  
Obama was re-elected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, and again in 2002.<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.senatedem.state.il.us/obama/index.html |title=13th District: Barack Obama | format=archive | accessdate=2008-04-20 | date=August 24 2000 | publisher=Illinois State Senate Democrats | archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20000824102110/http://www.senatedem.state.il.us/obama/index.html |archivedate=2000-04-12 }} {{cite web | url=http://www.senatedem.state.il.us/obama/index.html | title=13th District: Barack Obama | format=archive | accessdate=2008-04-20 |date=October 9 2004 | publisher=Illinois State Senate Democrats | archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20040802233730/http://www.senatedem.state.il.us/obama/index.html | archivedate=2004-08-02}}</ref> In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent [[Bobby Rush]] by a margin of two to one.<ref>{{cite web | url=http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2000/ilh.htm | title=Federal Elections 2000: U.S. House Results - Illinois | publisher=Federal Election Commission | accessdate=2008-04-24}}. See also: {{cite web|url=http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14502364|title=Obama's Loss May Have Aided White House Bid}} and {{cite news | first=Janny | last=Scott | title=A Streetwise Veteran Schooled Young Obama | date=September 9 2007 | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/us/politics/09obama.html | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref><ref name=McClelland20070212> {{cite news | first=Edward | last=McClelland | title=How Obama Learned to Be a Natural | date=February 12 2007 | url=http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/02/12/obama_natural/ | work =Salon | accessdate=2008-04-20}} See also: {{cite news | first=Richard | last=Wolffe | coauthors= Daren Briscoe | title=Across the Divide | date=July 16 2007 | publisher=MSNBC | url=http://www.newsweek.com/id/33156 | work=Newsweek | accessdate=2008-04-20}} {{cite news | first=Scott | last=Helman | title=Early Defeat Launched a Rapid Political Climb | date=October 12 2007 | url=http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/10/12/early_defeat_launched_a_rapid_political_climb/ | work=Boston Globe | accessdate=2008-04-20}} and {{cite web|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2007-10-24-3157940059_x.htm|title=Obama learned from failed Congress run}}</ref>
+
=====Cost overruns=====
 +
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated the costs of the ''Healthcare.gov'' federal exchange website, estimating that the total cost, as of March 2014, was $840 million.<ref>[http://online.wsj.com/articles/poorly-managed-healthcare-gov-construction-cost-840-million-watchdog-finds-1406751529 ''Wall Street Journal'', "Poorly Managed HealthCare.gov Construction Cost $840 Million, Watchdog Finds," July 30, 2014]</ref> GAO Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management William Woods claimed that the overrun was due to inconsistent oversight and constantly changing requirements, which were noted by contractors when asked to testify during the [[Healthcare.gov website rollout|website rollout]]. Woods stated in his written testimony, "We found that CMS undertook the development of HealthCare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices, despite facing a number of challenges that increased both the level of risk and the need for effective oversight. According to [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services] program and contracting officials, the task of developing a first-of-its-kind federal marketplace was a complex effort that was exacerbated by compressed time frames and changing requirements."<ref name="CBSoverrun">[http://www.cbsnews.com/news/healthcare-gov-has-already-cost-840-million-report/ ''CBS News'', "HealthCare.gov has already cost $840 million," July 30, 2014]</ref> According to [[Kathleen Sebelius]]' House testimony on October 30, 2013, the website had a cost of $118 million plus another $56 million for IT support.<ref name="USATSebelius">[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/10/30/sebelius-health-care-house-hearing/3308771/ ''USA Today'', "Health chief Sebelius apologizes for botched website," October 30, 2013]</ref>
  
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.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jackie | last=Calmes | title=Statehouse Yields Clues to Obama | date=February 23 2007 | url=http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB117219748197216894-Sn6oV_4KLQHp_xz7CjYLuyjv3Jg_20070324.html | work=Wall Street Journal | accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref> 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.<ref>{{cite news | first=Sam | last=Youngman | coauthors=Aaron Blake | title=Obama's Crime Votes Are Fodder for Rivals | date=March 14 2007 | url=http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/obamas-crime-votes-are-fodder-for-rivals-2007-03-13.html | work=The Hill | accessdate=2008-04-20}} See also: {{cite news | title=US Presidential Candidate Obama Cites Work on State Death Penalty Reforms | date=November 12 2007 | publisher=International Herald Tribune | url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/11/12/america/NA-POL-US-Obama-Death-Penalty.php | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref> Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the US Senate.<ref>{{cite news | first=Melanie | last=Coffee | title=Attorney Chosen to Fill Obama's State Senate Seat | date=November 6 2004 | publisher=HPKCC | url=http://www.hydepark.org/hpkccnews/raoul.htm#ap | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref>
+
=====Sebelius resignation=====
 +
[[File:Kathleen Sebelius official HHS portrait.PNG|right|150px|thumb|link=Kathleen Sebelius|Sebelius resigned on April 10, 2014.]]On April 10, 2014, [[U.S. Department of Health and Human Services|Secretary of Health and Human Services]] [[Kathleen Sebelius]] resigned from her position following the troubled rollout of Obamacare. She and President Obama determined that the end of the open enrollment period provided a chance for change.
  
<big>'''1996'''</big>
+
====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."<ref name="prism"/>
  
Obama was elected to the [[Illinois State Senate]] in 1996, succeeding State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from the 13th District, which then spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park-Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn.<ref>{{cite news | first=David | last=Jackson | coauthors= Ray Long | title=Obama Knows His Way Around a Ballot | date=April 3 2007 | url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070403obama-ballot,1,57567.story | work=Chicago Tribune | accessdate=2008-01-14}}
+
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 [[George W. Bush|Bush]] administration and then renewed under the Obama administration in 2012 under the Patriot Act.<ref>[http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/10/nsa-spying-scandal-what-we-have-learned ''The Guardian'', "NSA spying scandal: what we have learned," June 10, 2013]</ref> According to a September 17, 2013 release by the FISA court, no telecommunications companies have challenged the demand of the NSA to disclose records.<ref>[http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/sep/17/fisa-court-bulk-phone-records-collection ''The Guardian'', "Fisa court:no telecoms company has ever challenged phone records orders," September 17, 2013]</ref>
{{cite book |author=White, Jesse |year=2001 |chapter=Legislative Districts of Cook County, 1991 Reapportionment |chapterurl=http://www.sos.state.il.us/publications/02bluebook/legislative_branch/legdistrictmaps.pdf |title=Illinois Blue Book 2001–2002 |location=Springfield |publisher=[[Illinois Secretary of State|Illinois Secretary of State]] |pages=p. 65}}State Sen. District 13 = State Rep. Districts 25 & 26.</ref> Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation reforming ethics and health care laws.<ref>{{cite news | first=Peter | last=Slevin | title=Obama Forged Political Mettle in Illinois Capitol | date=February 9 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/08/AR2007020802262.html | work=Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-20}} {{cite news | first=Scott | last=Helman | title=In Illinois, Obama Dealt with Lobbyists | date=September 23 2007 | url=http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/09/23/in_illinois_obama_dealt_with_lobbyists/ | work=Boston Globe | accessdate=2008-04-20}} See also: {{cite news | title=Obama Record May Be Gold Mine for Critics | date=January 17 2007 | publisher=CBS News | url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/01/17/politics/main2369157.shtml | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-20}} {{cite news | title=In-Depth Look at Obama's Political Career | date=February 9, 2007 | publisher=Chicago Tribune | url=http://video.chicagotribune.com/global/video/popup/pop_player.asp?clipid1=1226539 | work=CLTV | format=video | accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref> He sponsored a law increasing tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare.<ref name=Scott20070730>{{cite news | first=Janny | last=Scott | title=In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd | date=July 30 2007 | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/30/us/politics/30obama.html | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-20}} See also: {{cite news | first=Rick | last=Pearson | coauthors=Ray Long | title=Careful Steps, Looking Ahead | date=May 3 2007 | url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-0705030101may03,1,7439904.story | work=Chicago Tribune | accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref> 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,<ref>{{cite news |author=Allison, Melissa |date=December 15, 2000 |title=State takes on predatory lending; Rules would halt single-premium life insurance financing |url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/65214450.html?dids=65214450:65214450&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |type=paid archive |work=Chicago Tribune |page=1 (Business) |accessdate=2008-06-01}} {{cite news |author=Long, Ray; Allison, Melissa |date=April 18, 2001 |title=Illinois OKs predatory loan curbs; State aims to avert home foreclosures |url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/71459393.html?dids=71459393:71459393&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |type=paid archive |work=Chicago Tribune |page=1 |accessdate=2008-06-01}}</ref> and in 2003, Obama 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.<ref name=Scott20070730 /><ref>{{cite news |author=Tavella, Anne Marie |date=April 14, 2003 |title=Profiling, taping plans pass Senate |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=ADHB&p_theme=adhb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_text_search-0=Profiling,%20AND%20taping%20AND%20plans%20AND%20pass%20AND%20Senate&s_dispstring=Profiling,%20taping%20plans%20pass%20Senate%20AND%20date(4/4/2003%20to%204/4/2003)&p_field_date-0=YMD_date&p_params_date-0=date:B,E&p_text_date-0=4/4/2003%20to%204/4/2003)&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no |type=paid archive |work=Daily Herald |page=17 |accessdate=2008-06-01}} {{cite news |author=Haynes, V. Dion |date=June 29, 2003 |title=Fight racial profiling at local level, lawmaker says; U.S. guidelines get mixed review |url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/352884461.html?dids=352884461:352884461&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |type=paid archive |work=Chicago Tribune |page=8 |accessdate=2008-06-01}} {{cite news |author=Pearson, Rick |date=July 17, 2003 |title=Taped confessions to be law; State will be 1st to pass legislation |url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/370136121.html?dids=370136121:370136121&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |type=paid archive |work=Chicago Tribune |page=1 (Metro) |accessdate=2008-06-01}}</ref>
+
 
}}
+
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.<ref name="snowdencharges"/><ref name="snowdenindicted"/><ref name="snowdenasylum"/>
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 +
====Wiretapping journalists====
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Over a two month period, federal prosecutors obtained phone records of Associated Press journalists, their headquarters and offices in [[New York]], Hartford, [[Washington, D.C.]], and the [[United States House of Representatives|U.S. House]] 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.<ref>[http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/ap-files-complaint-over-federal-wiretaps-1.5256171 ''News Day'', "AP files complaint over federal wiretaps," May 13, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
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 [[U.S. Department of State|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.<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-rare-peek-into-a-justice-department-leak-probe/2013/05/19/0bc473de-be5e-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html ''Washington Post'', "A rare peek into a Justice Department leak probe," May 19, 2013]</ref>  In the affidavit, an [[Federal Bureau of Investigation|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 [[U.S. Department of Justice|Justice Department]] seized several phone records, including one listed as Rosen's parents.<ref>[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/21/correspondents-association-concerned-government-too-aggressive-in-tracking/ ''Fox News'', "DOJ seized phone records for Fox News numbers, reporter's parents," May 23, 2013]</ref> 
 +
 
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The [[Judgepedia:United States Attorney|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.<ref>[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-calderone/doj-wiretap-reporters_b_3322254.html ''Huffington Post'', "DOJ: We Did Not Wiretap Reporters' Phones," May 22, 2013]</ref>
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 +
====IRS targeting====
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::''See also: [[IRS targeting allegations]]''
 +
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 [[United States Constitution|Constitution]] and the [[Bill of Rights, United States Constitution|Bill of Rights]].<ref>[http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/05/11/irs-tea-party-investigation-timeline/2153007/ ''USA Today'', "IRS knew of Tea Party profiling in 2011, report shows," accessed May 16, 2013]</ref> 
 +
 
 +
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.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/the-irs-wants-you-to-share-everything-91378.html ''Politico'', "The IRS wants YOU- to share everything," accessed May 16, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-denounces-reported-irs-targeting-of-conservative-groups/2013/05/13/a0185644-bbdf-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html ''Washington Post'', "IRS officials in Washington were involved in targeting of conservative groups," accessed May 16, 2013]</ref> President Obama said he learned about the targeting through news reports and stated, "If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it."<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/13/politics/irs-conservative-targeting/ ''CNN'', "Obama: Alleged IRS political targeting 'outrageous'," May 14, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
Testifying on May 15, 2013, [[U.S. Department of Justice|U.S. Attorney General]] [[Eric Holder]] promised a criminal investigation spearheaded by the [[Federal Bureau of Investigation]] (FBI) and federal prosecutors into the [[Cincinnati, Ohio|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.<ref>[http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-holder-pledges-irs-probe-20130515,0,4347322.story ''Los Angeles Times'', "Holder pledges to probe IRS handling of conservative groups," May 15, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
On May 16, 2013, IRS Commissioner Steven Miller announced his resignation. He still testified at the hearings the next day.<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/15/politics/irs-conservative-targeting/index.html ''CNN'', "'Angry' Obama announces IRS leader's ouster after conservatives targeted," accessed May 16, 2013]</ref> 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."<ref>[http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304713704579093461064758006?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304713704579093461064758006.html ''Wall Street Journal'', "Lois Lerner, at Center of IRS Investigation, Retires," September 23, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
In January 2014, the FBI announced no criminal charges would be filed over the IRS targeting scandal unless new evidence came to light.<ref>[http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/14/us-usa-tax-teaparty-idUSBREA0D03420140114 ''Reuters'', "FBI doesn't plan charges over IRS scrutiny of Tea Party: WSJ," January 13, 2014]</ref> 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 [[United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means|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."<ref>[http://time.com/56760/irs-lois-lerner-crossroads/ ''Time'', "Emails Point to IRS Official’s Role in Targeting Conservative Groups," April 9, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
On May 7, 2014, the [[United States House of Representatives|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.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/lois-lerner-irs-contempt-white-house-106452.html ''Politico'', "Republicans dare White House to ignore Lerner contempt," May 7, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
The [[United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform|House Oversight and Government Reform Committee]] received information from the Justice Department that the IRS provided the FBI with a 1.1 million page database of information on tax-exempt organizations. The files, announced by the committee on June 9, 2014, were to be used by the FBI to investigate the political activity of the tax-exempt organizations. In a letter to IRS Commissioner [[John Koskinen]], Reps. [[Darrell Issa]] (R-CA) and [[Jim Jordan]] (R-OH) wrote, "We were extremely troubled by this new information, and by the fact that the IRS has withheld it from the committee for over a year. We were astonished to learn days ago from the Justice Department that these 21 disks contained confidential taxpayer information protected by federal law." The IRS claimed most of the information was publicly available with the exception of 33 organizations for which it accidentally released non-public information to the FBI. Republican representatives are looking into whether any wrongdoing occurred.<ref>[http://online.wsj.com/articles/irs-sent-fbi-database-on-nonprofit-groups-in-2010-gop-lawmakers-say-1402339311 ''Wall Street Journal'', "IRS Sent FBI Database on Nonprofit Groups in 2010, GOP Lawmakers Say," June 9, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
The House Ways and Means Committee announced on June 13, 2014, that emails from Lerner between January 2009 and April 2011 to those outside of the IRS were lost due to a computer crash. Koskinen promised all documentation from Lerner would be handed over for investigation, but it was revealed in a letter that emails from that period could not be found. Chairman [[Dave Camp]] (R-MI) released a response, stating, "The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials.  It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights." Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee [[Charles Boustany Jr.]], (D-LA) questioned the administration's transparency claiming, "This is not the transparency promised to the American people.  If there is no smidgeon of corruption what is the Administration hiding?"<ref>[http://waysandmeans.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=384506 ''Ways and Means Committee'', "IRS Claims to Have Lost Over 2 Years of Lerner Emails," June 13, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
====Benghazi====
 +
::''See also: [[2012 Benghazi attack overview]]''
 +
On October 15, 2012, [[U.S. Department of State|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.<ref name="CNNoct">[http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/15/us/clinton-benghazi/index.html ''CNN'', "Clinton: I'm responsible for diplomats' security," October 16, 2012]</ref> A [[U.S. Department of State|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.<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/10/politics/congress-libya-attack/index.html ''CNN'', "U.S. official says superiors worked against effort to boost Benghazi," October 11, 2012]</ref>  Clinton was also under fire because of the initial classification of the attack by then-[[U.S. Mission to the United Nations|United States Ambassador to the United Nations]] [[Susan Rice]] as a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim video instead of a planned terrorist attack.<ref name="CNNoct"/>  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."<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/us/politics/3-state-dept-officials-resign-following-benghazi-report.html ''New York Times'', "4 Are Out at State Dept. After Scathing Report on Benghazi Attack," December 19, 2012]</ref> 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."<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/23/politics/clinton-benghazi/index.html ''CNN'', "Clinton takes on Benghazi critics, warns of more security threats," January 24, 2012]</ref> 
 +
 
 +
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."<ref>[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/state-officials-benghazi_n_3786706.html ''Huffington Post'', "State Department Officials Reassigned After Leave Related To Benghazi Attacks," August 20, 2013]</ref>  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."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/darrell-issa-hillary-clinton-benghazi-96974.html ''Politico'', "Darrell Issa: I can call Hillary Clinton back," September 18, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
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."<ref>[http://politicalwire.com/archives/2014/01/27/clinton_calls_benghazi_attack_her_biggest_regret.html ''Political Wire'', "Clinton Calls Benghazi Attack Her Biggest Regret," accessed January  28, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
=====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."<ref name="benghazispotlight">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/benghazi-is-back-106233.html#ixzz318N0DrfQ ''Politico'', "Benghazi returns to the spotlight," May 1, 2014]</ref> 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."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/charles-krauthammer-on-benghazi-emails-106188.html#ixzz318qLvTfm ''Politico'', "Charles Krauthammer on Benghazi emails," April 30, 2014]</ref> 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."<ref name="benghazispotlight"/>
 +
 
 +
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."<ref name="benghazispotlight"/> 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."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/john-mccain-jay-carney-benghazi-106386.html#ixzz318uSsupH ''Politico'', "John McCain: Jay Carney at an 'all-time low'," May 5, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
=====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 was made up of seven Republicans and five democrats.<ref>[http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/republicans-benghazi-panel-appointments-likely-friday/?dcz= ''Roll Call'', "Republicans’ Benghazi Panel Appointments Likely Friday," May 8, 2014]</ref> 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."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/benghazi-john-kerry-106405.html#ixzz318wqMYmS ''Politico'', "John Kerry: I’ll comply with House GOP’s Benghazi request," May 6, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
The twelve members named to the Gowdy committee were:<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/05/21/democrats-leaning-toward-participating-in-benghazi-select-committee/ ''The Washington Post'', "Democrats appoint 5 members to Benghazi select committee," May 21, 2014]</ref><ref>[http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/the-7-republicans-on-benghazi-committee ''Talking Points Memo'', "These 7 Republicans Will Serve On The Benghazi Select Committee," May 9, 2014]</ref>
 +
{{col-begin|width=75%}}
 +
{{col-break}}
 +
*{{reddot}} Rep. [[Trey Gowdy]] (R-SC), ''Chairman''
 +
*{{reddot}} Rep. [[Susan Brooks]] (R-IN)
 +
*{{reddot}} Rep. [[Jim Jordan]] (R-OH)
 +
*{{reddot}} Rep. [[Mike Pompeo]] (R-KS)
 +
*{{reddot}} Rep. [[Martha Roby]] (R-AL)
 +
*{{reddot}} Rep. [[Peter Roskam]] (R-IL)
 +
*{{reddot}} Rep. [[Lynn Westmoreland]] (R-GA)
 +
{{col-break}}
 +
*{{bluedot}} Rep. [[Elijah Cummings]] (D-MD), ''Ranking Minority Member''
 +
*{{bluedot}} Rep. [[Adam Smith]] (D-WA)
 +
*{{bluedot}} Rep. [[Adam Schiff]] (D-CA)
 +
*{{bluedot}} Rep. [[Linda Sanchez]] (D-CA)
 +
*{{bluedot}} Rep. [[Tammy Duckworth]] (D-IL)
 +
{{col-end}}
 +
 
 +
====Operation Fast and Furious====
 +
From 2009-2011, the [[U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives|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.<ref name="fastandfurious">[http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/world/americas/operation-fast-and-furious-fast-facts/ ''CNN'', "Operation Fast and Furious Fast Facts," August 27, 2013]</ref> 
 +
 
 +
Attorney General [[Eric Holder]] testified before [[United States Congress|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 [[U.S. Department of Justice|Justice Department]] on October 12, 2011, in order to secure documents between the White House and the Department regarding Operation Fast and Furious.<ref>[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/12/issa-issues-subpoena-to-holder-in-fast-and-furious-investigation/ ''Fox News'', "Issa Issues Subpoena to Holder in Fast and Furious Investigation," October 12, 2011]</ref>
 +
 
 +
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 [[United States House of Representatives|House]] voted to hold Holder in contempt for failure to disclose the documents.<ref name="fastandfurious"/> It was the first time in U.S. history a sitting cabinet member was held in contempt by Congress.<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/us/politics/fast-and-furious-holder-contempt-citation-battle.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 ''New York Times'', "House Finds Holder in Contempt Over Inquiry on Guns," June 28, 2012]</ref>
 +
 
 +
The [[United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform|House Oversight Committee]] filed a civil lawsuit over the documents on August 13, 2012.<ref name="fastandfurious"/> Holder asked [[Judgepedia:United States District Court for the District of Columbia|U.S. District Court]] Judge [[judgepedia:Amy B. Jackson|Amy Berman 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.<ref>[http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2013/11/judge-wont-allow-holder-appeal-now-in-contempt-case-177796.html ''Politico'', "Judge won't allow Holder appeal now in contempt case," November 18, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
==Key legislation==
 +
=Education=
 +
===Race to the Top===
 +
{{Education gen nav sm}}[[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|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.<ref name="Chicago">[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/02/emanuel-villaraigosa-race-to-the-top-chicago-los-angeles_n_1316832.html ''Huffington Post'', "Race To The Top For Districts Piques Interest Of Chicago And Los Angeles Mayors," March 3, 2012]</ref>
 +
 
 +
===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."<ref>[http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards ''Common Core State Standards Initiative'', "About the Standards," accessed December 10, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
====Grant criteria====
 +
Grants are rewarded based on these scores and subsequent rankings:<ref name="goals">[http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/executive-summary.pdf ''ED.gov'', "Race to the Top Executive Summary," accessed December 10, 2013]</ref>
 +
*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)
 +
 
 +
====Goals====
 +
The goals of the Race to the Top reforms were:<ref name="goals"/>
 +
*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.<ref>[http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128843021 ''NPR'', "The New Republic: Defending Obama's Education Plan," July 29, 2010]</ref>
 +
 
 +
*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.”<ref>[http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/common-core-a-tocquevillean-education-or-cartel-federalism#axzz2n5ihNt8D ''FEE'', "Common Core: A Tocquevillean Education or Cartel Federalism?" May 14, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
====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:
 +
{{Quote|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.|author=American Federation of Teachers|source=<ref>[http://www.aft.org/newspubs/news/2013/043013commoncore.cfm ''AFT'', "AFT calls for moratorium on Common Core consequences," May 1, 2013]</ref>}}
 +
 
 +
*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.<ref>[http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2010/0727/As-Race-to-the-Top-competition-intensifies-so-do-education-reforms ''Christian Science Monitor'', "As Race to the Top competition intensifies, so do education reforms," July 27, 2010]</ref>
 +
 
 +
====Results====
 +
Race to the Top grants recipients were announced in three initial rounds.<ref>[http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2010/03/03292010.html ''ED.gov'', "Delaware and Tennessee Win First Race to The Top Grants," accessed December 10, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/nine-states-and-district-columbia-win-second-round-race-top-grants ''ED.gov'', "Nine States and the District of Columbia Win Second Round Race to the Top Grants," August 24, 2010]</ref>
 +
<ref>[http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/department-education-awards-200-million-seven-states-advance-k-12-reform ''ED.gov'', "Department of Education Awards $200 Million to Seven States to Advance K-12 Reform," December 23, 2011]</ref> 
 +
*'''Round 1''' (March 29, 2010): [[Delaware]], [[Tennessee]]
 +
*'''Round 2''' (August 24, 2010): [[Florida]], [[Georgia]], [[Hawaii]], [[Maryland]], [[Massachusetts]], [[New York]], [[North Carolina]], [[Ohio]], [[Rhode Island]], [[District of Columbia]]
 +
*'''Round 3''' (December 23, 2011): [[Arizona]], [[Colorado]], [[Illinois]], [[Kentucky]], [[Louisiana]], [[New Jersey]], [[Pennsylvania]] 
 +
 
 +
Race to the Top grant allocations slowed significantly after the first three rounds as many states faced delayed implementation of promised reforms.<ref>[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/10/states-face-delays-in-imp_0_n_1196528.html ''Huffington Post'', "Race To The Top State Reports: New York, Florida, Hawaii Backtracked On Reform Commitments," Jauary 10, 2012]</ref> 
 +
 
 +
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.<ref>[http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/awards.html ''ED.gov'', "2012 Race to the Top—District Awards, Grantee Applications, Peer Reviewer Scores and Comments," accessed December 10, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-district/index.html ''ED.gov'', "Race to the Top- District," December 23, 2011]</ref>
 +
 
 +
===Controversy===
 +
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.<ref>[http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2013/sep/19/stringers-chula-vista-parents-protest-switch-/ Susan Luzarro, ''San Diego Reader'', "Chula Vista parents protest switch to Common Core State Standards," September 19, 2013]</ref> 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.<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/11/16/arne-duncan-white-surburban-moms-upset-that-common-core-shows-their-kids-arent-brilliant/ Valerie Strauss, ''Washington Post'', "Arne Duncan: ‘White suburban moms’ upset that Common Core shows their kids aren’t ‘brilliant’," November 16, 2013]</ref> 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.<ref>[http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/18/south-carolina-parents-remove-children-from-school-to-protest-common-core Allie Bidwell, ''U.S. News,'' "South Carolina Parents Remove Children From School to Protest Common Core," November 18, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/11/post_617.html Diane C. Lore, ''Staten Island Advance'', "Some Staten Island parents planning to keep their children home from school Monday for National Common Core Protest Day," November 15, 2013]</ref> 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.<ref>[http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/schools/btf-parents-picket-regents-home-in-protest-over-state-standards-tests-20131209 Denise Jewell Gee, ''The Buffalo News'', "BTF, parents picket Regent’s home in protest over state standards, tests," December 8, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
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.<ref>[http://blog.al.com/wire/2013/11/common_core.html ''AL.com'', "Common Core: Alabama votes to distance itself from controversial standards (week in review)," November 16, 2013]</ref> 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.<ref>[http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/05/corbett_orders_delay_in_common.html ''The Patriot-News'', "Corbett orders delay in Common Core academic standards' implementation," May 21, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/tag/hb-1427/ ''Indiana Public Media'', "House Bill 1427: What 'Pausing' The Common Core Means For Indiana Schools," accessed December 10, 2013]</ref> 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.<ref>[http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/11/louisiana_common_core_parcc_de.html ''The Times Picayune'', "Louisiana announces major changes to how students, schools held accountable under Common Core," November 21, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2013/11/two-year_transition_to_common-core_tests_approved_in_massachusetts.html ''Education Week'', "Two-Year Transition to Common-Core Tests Approved in Massachusetts," November 19, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2013/07/tech_challenges_lead_oklahoma_.html ''Education Week'', "Tech Challenges Lead Oklahoma to Opt Out of PARCC Exams," July 3, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/07/22/common-core-testing-costs-increase-georgia-withdraws ''Heartland'', "Common Core Testing Costs Increase; Georgia Withdraws," July 22, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2013/11/02/michigan-gives-final-ok-to-common-core-standards/ ''CBS Detroit'', "Michigan Gives Final OK To Common Core Standards," November 2, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
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.<ref>[http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54627081-78/utah-state-standards-common.html.csp?page=1 ''The Salt Lake Tribune'', "Utah drops out of consortium developing Common Core tests," August 4, 2013]</ref><ref>[http://members.jacksonville.com/news/metro/2013-10-17/story/common-core-still-moving-ahead-florida#ixzz2mL66PT5a Khristopher J. Brooks, ''The Florida-Times Union'', "Common Core still moving ahead in Florida," October 16, 2013]</ref> 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.<ref>[http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/article/20131128/NEWS01/311280018/Ohio-Republicans-target-Common-Core?nclick_check=1 ''Lancaster Eagle Gazette'', "Ohio Republicans target Common Core," November 29, 2013]</ref>
 +
 
 +
=Healthcare=
 +
===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.<ref name="nytbecomeslaw">[http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/health/policy/24health.html?_r=0 ''New York Times'', "Obama Signs Health Care Overhaul Bill, With a Flourish," March 23, 2010]</ref>
 +
 
 +
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.<ref>[http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/8061-021.pdf ''Kaiser Family Foundation'', "Summary of the Affordable Care Act," March 12, 2014]</ref>
 +
====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.<ref name="wapowhycancelled">[http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/29/this-is-why-obamacare-is-cancelling-some-peoples-insurance-plans/ ''Washington Post'', "This is why Obamacare is canceling some people's insurance plans," October 29, 2013]</ref> The ten essential benefits outlined by the ACA are:<ref>[http://www.naic.org/documents/committees_b_Exchanges.pdf ''National Association of Insurance Commissioners'', "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009: Health Insurance Exchanges," April 20, 2010]</ref>
 +
*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
 +
 
 +
====Contraception mandate in the Supreme Court====
 +
::''See also: [[Obamacare lawsuits]]''
 +
On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard the case put forward by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. The case argued that mandated coverage of birth control violated religious freedoms. Both companies' appeals were heard together during a one-hour public session.<ref>[http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/21/politics/scotus-obamacare-contraception-mandate/ ''CNN'', "Justices to hear 'Hobby Lobby' case on Obamacare birth control rule," March 23, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
The Supreme Court [http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby] in ''Burwell v. Hobby Lobby'' on June 30, 2014. The 5-4 decision allowed companies to opt out of offering contraceptives on the basis of religious beliefs. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court's opinion, stating, "We doubt that the Congress that enacted RFRA — or, for that matter, ACA–would have believed it a tolerable result to put family-run businesses to the choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or making all of their employees lose their existing healthcare plans."<ref name="hobbylobbyruling"/>
 +
 
 +
The dissenting justices claimed the ruling would allow companies to "opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs." Likewise, the Obama administration argued that companies that did not wish to provide the contraceptive coverage or other areas of coverage due to religious beliefs could decide not to provide any company-wide options.<ref name="hobbylobbyruling">[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/supreme-court-hobby-lobby-decision-contraception-mandate-108429.html#ixzz3691yuF2B ''Politico'', "Supreme Court sides with Hobby Lobby on contraception mandate," June 30, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
Although the decision expanded the notion of corporate personhood to include religious rights "to provide protection for human beings," members of the public found it highly divisive in nature as it reaffirmed the Court's "pro-business" stance.<ref>[http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/01/us-usa-court-business-analysis-idUSKBN0F640220140701 ''Reuters'', "U.S. birth control ruling fuels battle over corporate rights," July 1, 2014]</ref> Senate Majority Leader [[Harry Reid]] (D-NV) pledged to restore the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage, stating, "If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will. We will continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room."<ref>[http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/supreme-court-hobby-lobby-decision-contraception-mandate-108429.html ''Politico'', "SCOTUS sides with Hobby Lobby on birth control," June 30, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
=Energy=
 +
===Carbon cap executive order===
 +
{{Energy general nav box sm}}On June 2, 2014, President Obama signed an executive order intended to cut carbon pollution in the United States by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030. The order allowed states to individually determine which policies would be more effective for them to reach their goals. A similar bill was debated by [[United States Congress|Congress]] during Obama's first term in office, but it failed to pass. Obama used powers established by the 1970 Clean Air Act to sign the executive order.<ref name="nyteo">[http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/02/us/politics/epa-to-seek-30-percent-cut-in-carbon-emissions.html?_r=0 ''New York Times'', "Obama to Take Action to Slash Coal Pollution," June 1, 2014]</ref> Legal challenges were expected to arise over the 645 page order. [[U.S. Environmental Protection Agency|EPA Administrator]] [[Gina McCarthy]] said of the rule, "This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps. This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs."<ref name="usacap">[http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/06/02/epa-proposes-sharp-cuts-power-plant-emissions/9859913/ ''USA Today'', "EPA seeks 30% cut in power plant carbon emissions by 2030," June 2, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
President Obama gave the EPA until June 2015 to finalize the rule and states have until June 2016 to submit their plans, but the EPA pushed the deadline for states back to 2017 for those working individually and 2018 for those working together on plans.<ref name="usacap"/>
 +
 
 +
====Possible ramifications====
 +
Coal plants were most likely to be hit the hardest with estimates in the hundreds of the nation's 6,000 plants that would be shut down by 2030. The Chamber of Commerce estimated that the new rule could result in a lowering of the gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as $50 billion annually.<ref name="nyteo"/>
 +
 
 +
The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) president spoke out against the action, suggesting 75,000 jobs could be lost by 2020. He stated, "The proposed rule … will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions."<ref>[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/03/unions-slam-obama-epa-rule/ ''Fox News'', "Unions slam Obama EPA rule," June 3, 2014]</ref> Additionally, Democratic lawmakers and candidates in coal-driven states have come out in opposition to the president's plan. Those lawmakers include: [[Alison Lundergan Grimes]], [[Natalie Tennant]] and Rep. [[Nick Rahall]] (D-WV).<ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/03/us/carbon-plan-puts-democrats-in-coal-states-on-the-defensive.html ''New York Times'', "Democrats in Coal Country Run From E.P.A.," June 2, 2014]</ref>
 +
<headertabs/>
 +
 
 +
==Elections==
 +
===U.S. President===
 +
====2012====
 +
:: ''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.<ref name="reelect">[http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/04/04/obama.re.election.launch/index.html ''CNN,'' "With short video, Obama launches bid for re-election," April 5, 2011]</ref><ref name="reelect"/>
 +
 
 +
[[Mitt Romney]] ran for the Republican Party, while [[Gary Johnson]] ran as a [[Libertarian]] and [[Jill Stein]] ran for the [[Green Party]].
 +
 
 +
{{2012PresResults}}
 +
 
 +
====2008====
 +
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.
 +
{{2008PresResults}}
  
 
==Campaign donors==
 
==Campaign donors==
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|result2012=Won
 
|result2012=Won
 
|office2012=U.S. Presidency (Incumbent)
 
|office2012=U.S. Presidency (Incumbent)
|totalraised2010=744985624
+
|totalraised2008=744985624
|result2010=Won
+
|office2010=U.S. Presidency
+
|totalraised2008=14964184
+
 
|result2008=Won
 
|result2008=Won
|office2008=U.S. Senate (Illinois)
+
|office2008=U.S. Presidency
 +
|totalraised2004=14964184
 +
|result2004=Won
 +
|office2004=U.S. Senate (Illinois)
 
}}
 
}}
 
===2012===
 
===2012===
Line 304: Line 523:
  
 
==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>[http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/03/31/obama_endorses_schatz_in_hawaii_senate_race_122121.html ''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>[http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/03/31/obama_endorses_schatz_in_hawaii_senate_race_122121.html ''Real Clear Politics'', "Obama Endorses Schatz in Hawaii Senate Race," March 31, 2014]</ref>
==Political positions==
+
===Defense===
+
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=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o84PE871BE |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=http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20050601obama_1.cfm | 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=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0509120140sep12,1,5984193.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=http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20070125-1240-democrats-healthcare.html | 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=http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1626105,00.html | work=Time | accessdate=2008-01-14}} See also: {{cite web | url=http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/ | title=Creating a Healthcare System that Works | accessdate=2008-01-14 | publisher=BarackObama.com }}</ref>
+
 
+
===Education===
+
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=http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071121/NEWS01/711210347/1043 | 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=http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=3894699 | publisher=ABC News | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
+
 
+
===Iraq===
+
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=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-220062931.html |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=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-7.html |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=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/203569641.html?dids=203569641:203569641&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |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=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/203569621.html?dids=203569621:203569621&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |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=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-220379051.html |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=http://mesh.medill.northwestern.edu/mnschicago/archives/2002/10/300_protesters.html |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=http://www.noiraqwar-chicago.org/?p=127 |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=http://www.barackobama.com/2002/10/02/remarks_of_illinois_state_sen.php |publisher=BarackObama.com |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=http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030316-3.html |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=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=CSTB&p_theme=cstb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&s_dispstring=headline(Moment%20of%20truth%20for%20the%20world)%20AND%20date(all)&p_field_advanced-0=title&p_text_advanced-0=(Moment%20of%20truth%20for%20the%20world)&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no |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=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=CSTB&p_theme=cstb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&s_dispstring=headline(Anti-war%20rally%20here%20draws%20thousands)%20AND%20date(all)&p_field_advanced-0=title&p_text_advanced-0=(Anti-war%20rally%20here%20draws%20thousands)&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no |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=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/358199331.html?dids=358199331:358199331&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |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=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/528231411.html?dids=528231411:528231411&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |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=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/1351610621.html?dids=1351610621:1351610621&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT |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=http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/hottopics_details.php?hottopics_id=52 | 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=http://obama.senate.gov/speech/070302-aipac_policy_fo/index.php | 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=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/699578571.html?dids=699578571:699578571&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref> Obama has indicated that he would engage in "direct presidential diplomacy" with Iran without preconditions.<ref>[http://www.barackobama.com/issues/foreignpolicy/ Official Obama campaign's official website] Accessed 11 May 2008 </ref><ref>[http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/02/us/politics/01cnd-obama.html?_r=2&ei=5088&en=6e53bced62b78a88&ex=1351656000&oref=slogin&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin New York Times Interview] 2 November 2007 </ref><ref> [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/24/us/politics/24transcript.html?pagewanted=13&_r=2 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=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6926663.stm | 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=http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=events.event&event_id=269510 | 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=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/08/news/qaeda.php | work=International Herald Tribune | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
+
 
+
===Religion===
+
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=http://www.tikkun.org/rabbi_lerner/news_item.2006-07-02.3949597607 | work=Tikkun Magazine | accessdate=2008-01-14}} {{cite web|url=http://www.beliefnet.com/story/194/story_19473_1.html | 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=http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/HIVAIDSCommunity/StartingAMinistry/churches_challenged_to_take_the_lead.htm | work=PurposeDriven.com | 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=http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/africa/08/26/kenya.obama/index.html | 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 =http://obama.senate.gov/speech/061201-race_against_time_-_world_aids_day_speech/index.html | 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=http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/791771591.html | 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=http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1565076,00.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=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/24/politics/main2971556.shtml | 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=http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/204016.aspx | work=Christian Broadcasting Network | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
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===Sudan===
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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=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/26/AR2005122600547.html | 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=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/05/01/MNGFBIIFOA1.DTL | 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 | publisher=SFGate.com | url=http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/05/17/politics/p171906D95.DTL | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-01-14}} {{cite news | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=Hit Iran Where It Hurts | date=August 30 2007 | url=http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/08/30/2007-08-30_hit_iran_where_it_hurts.html | 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=http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20070701faessay86401/barack-obama/renewing-american-leadership.html | work=Foreign Affairs | accessdate=2008-01-14}}</ref>
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===Taxes===
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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=http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/events/obama.cfm | 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=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/08/16/politics/main636398.shtml | 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=http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/18/obama.taxplan/ | 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=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/09/us/politics/09obama.html | 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=http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaBlueprintForChange.pdf|title=The Blueprint for Change: Barack Obama's plan for America|author=Barack Obama|accessdate=2008-04-20}}</ref>
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===Transparency===
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:''Main article: [[Barack Obama|Barack Obama transparency on Sunshine Review]]''
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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 [http://usaspending.gov/ usaspending.gov] a resource on federal spending.
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===Books===
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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 =http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E1DE163EF93AA1575BC0A9629C8B63 | 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 | publisher=KVOA.com | url=http://kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=7850708&nav=HMO6HMaY | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-06}}</ref>
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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=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/09/books/09obam.html | 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=http://www.nytimes.com/pages/books/bestseller/index.html |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=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-obama_senate_recordjun12,1,48733.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 =http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D02E1D61531F937A15751C1A9609C8B63 | 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=http://web.archive.org/web/20070401154934/http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19651 | 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=http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_civ_1_27/03/2008_94776 | 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=http://libreriarizzoli.corriere.it/libro/obama_barack-audacia_della_speranza_l.aspx?ean=9788817016582 | 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=http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/2005/aprile/30/politico_prevale_sull_amministratore_co_10_050430003.shtml | 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=http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-eurobama25feb25,1,5411037.story?track=rss | title=Obama's European counterparts | work=Los Angeles Times | author=Tracy Wilkinson | date=February 25 2008 | accessdate=2008-03-18}}</ref>
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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=http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-money17-2008may17,0,3496427.story | work=Los Angeles Times | accessdate=2008-05-17 }}</ref>
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==Cultural and political image==
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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 =http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=10828 | 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 =http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/mediapolitics/1836.html | work =Washingtonian | accessdate = 2008-04-07}} {{cite news | first=John | last=Podhoretz | title=Obama: Rorschach Candidate | date=December 12 2006 | url =http://www.nypost.com/seven/12122006/postopinion/opedcolumnists/obama__rorschach_candidate_opedcolumnists_john_podhoretz.htm?page=0 | 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=http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/040531fa_fact1 |accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | first=Jonathan | last=Tilove | title=In Obama Candidacy, America Examines Itself | date=February 8 2007 | url=http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-7/1170922945129720.xml&coll=1&thispage=1 | 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 =http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/politics/bal-te.obama02mar02,0,3453027.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=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/12/AR2007051201551.html | 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 =http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/Barack.Obama.family.2.339709.html | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-07}}
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</ref> 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."<ref>{{cite news | first=Harold | last=Brackman | title=Obama and the Jews | date=March 9 2007 | url=http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=17348 | work=Jewish Journal | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> 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."<ref> {{cite web|url=http://www.oprah.com/tows/slide/200610/20061018/slide_20061018_284_110.jhtml |title=Keeping Hope Alive: Barack Obama Puts Family First | date=October 18 2006 | work=The Oprah Winfrey Show | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref>
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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.<ref>{{cite news | last=Wallace-Wells | first=Benjamin | title=The Great Black Hope: What's Riding on Barack Obama? | date=November 2004 | work =Washington Monthly | url=http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0411.wallace-wells.html |accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | first=Janny | last=Scott | title=A Member of a New Generation, Obama Walks a Fine Line | date=December 28, 2007 | url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/28/america/obama.php | work=International Herald Tribune | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> 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."<ref>{{cite news | first=Debra J | last=Dickerson | title=Colorblind | date= January 22 2007 | url=http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/01/22/obama/index_np.html | work=Salon | accessdate=2008-01-14}} For a sampling of views by other black commentators see: {{cite news | first=Gary | last=Younge | title=Obama: Black Like Me | date=posted October 27 2006 (November 13 2006 issue) | url =http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061113/younge | work=The Nation | accessdate=2008-04-07}} {{cite news | first=Stanley | last=Crouch | title=What Obama Isn't: Black Like Me | date=November 2 2006 | url=http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/story/467300p-393261c.html | work=New York Daily News | accessdate=2008-04-07 | archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20070308142850/www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/story/467300p-393261c.html | archivedate=2007-03-08}} {{cite news | first=Laura | last=Washington | title=Whites May Embrace Obama, But Do 'Regular Black Folks'? | date=January 1 2007 | url=http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obamacommentary/193216,CST-EDT-LAURA01.article | work =Chicago Sun-Times | accessdate=2008-04-07}} {{cite news | first=Clarence | last=Page | title=Is Barack Black Enough? Now That's a Silly Question | date=February 25 2007 | url=http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/4580864.html | work=Houston Chronicle | accessdate=2008-04-07 | archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20070308133020/www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/4580864.html | archivedate=2007-03-08}}</ref> 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.<ref>Ehrenstein, David. "[http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-ehrenstein19mar19,0,5335087.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail Obama the 'Magic Negro']," ''Los Angeles Times'', March 19 2007. Retrieved on 2008-04-07.</ref> 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."<ref>{{cite news | first=Les | last=Payne | title=In One Country, a Dual Audience | format=paid archive | date=August 19 2007 | url =http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/newsday/access/1322008241.html?dids=1322008241:1322008241&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT | work=Newsday | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref>
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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.<ref>{{cite news | first=Eugene | last=Robinson | title=The Moment for This Messenger? | date=March 13 2007 | url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/12/AR2007031200983.html | work =The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | last=Senior | first=Jennifer | title=Dreaming of Obama | date=October 2 2006 | work=New York Magazine| url=http://www.newyorkmetro.com/news/politics/21681/index.html |accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> 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.<ref>Obama (2006), p. 10. Sirota wrote that Obama's confirmation of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State and his reluctant support of a Senate [[filibuster]] opposing President Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court may disappoint "those who see him as a bold challenger of the system."{{cite news | first=David | last=Sirota | title=Mr. Obama Goes to Washington | date=June 26 2006 | url=http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060626/sirota | work=The Nation | accessdate=2008-04-07}}{{cite news | first=George F | last=Will | title=Run Now, Obama | date=December 14 2006 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/13/AR2006121301901.html | work=The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-07}} Other praise by conservative media:{{cite web|url=http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/01/bainbridge-asks.html|title=The Daily Dish}} conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan defends his praise for Obama, theatlantic.com, January 2008 [http://www.insightmag.com/Media/MediaManager/washwatch_4.htm Washington Watch: Obama's fund-raising record reveals weakness of Hillary's campaign] Conservative editor Jeffrey T. Kuhner praises Obama.</ref> 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.<ref>{{cite news | first=Peggy | last=Noonan | title=The Man From Nowhere|date=December 15 2006 | url=http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110009388 | work=OpinionJournal (Wall Street Journal) | accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: Obama (2006), pp. 122–124. For Noonan's comments on Obama winning the January 2008 Iowa Caucus, see: {{cite news | first=Peggy | last=Noonan | title=Out With the Old, In With the New | date=January 4 2008 | url=http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/?id=110011083 | work=OpinionJournal (Wall Street Journal) | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref> 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."<ref>{{cite news | first=Mike | last=Dorning | title=Obama Reaches Across Decades to JFK | format=paid archive | date=October 4 2007 | url=http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/1353513781.html?dids=1353513781:1353513781&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Oct+4%2C+2007&author=Mike+Dorning | work=Chicago Tribune | accessdate=2008-04-07}} See also: {{cite news | first=Toby | last=Harnden | title=Barack Obama is JFK Heir, Says Kennedy Aide | date=October 15 2007 | url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/12/wobama112.xml | work=Daily Telegraph | accessdate=2008-04-07}}</ref>
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==Analysis==
 
==Analysis==
 
===Net Worth===
 
===Net Worth===
:: ''See also: [[Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives]]''
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:: ''See also: [[Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index)]] and [[Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives]]''
 
====2011====
 
====2011====
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by ''OpenSecrets.org'', 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.<ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/CIDsummary.php?CID=N00009638&year=2011 ''OpenSecrets'', "Barack Obama (D), 2011"]</ref>
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Based on [[Household net worth (Member of Congress)|congressional financial disclosure forms]] and calculations made available by ''OpenSecrets.org'', 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 calculated net worth<ref>This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).</ref> decreased by %2.6 from 2010.<ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/CIDsummary.php?CID=N00009638&year=2011 ''OpenSecrets'', "Barack Obama (D), 2011"]</ref>
 
====2010====
 
====2010====
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by ''OpenSecrets.org'', 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.<ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/CIDsummary.php?CID=N00009638&year=2010 ''OpenSecrets'', "Barack Obama (D), 2010"]</ref>
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Based on [[Household net worth (Member of Congress)|congressional financial disclosure forms]] and calculations made available by ''OpenSecrets.org'', 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.<ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/CIDsummary.php?CID=N00009638&year=2010 ''OpenSecrets'', "Barack Obama (D), 2010"]</ref>
 
===Elected office turnover===
 
===Elected office turnover===
 
====2012 elections====
 
====2012 elections====
Line 375: Line 540:
 
According to ''[http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball Sabato's Crystal Ball]'', the Democratic party lost 63 [[United States House of Representatives|U.S. House]] seats and 6 [[United States Senate|Senate]] seats in 2010.  The House turnover was the largest differential since the 1948 general election.
 
According to ''[http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball Sabato's Crystal Ball]'', the Democratic party lost 63 [[United States House of Representatives|U.S. House]] seats and 6 [[United States Senate|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.<ref name="crystal ball">[http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/the-presidencys-political-price/ ''Sabato's Crystal Ball'', "The Presidency's Political Price," August 1, 2013]</ref>
+
In state government elections, the Democratic party lost 8 [[Portal:State Executive Officials|governors]]' offices and lost control of 10 [[Portal:State Legislatures|state legislatures]].  The turnover in state legislature control was the largest differential since the 1974 general election.<ref name="crystal ball">[http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/the-presidencys-political-price/ ''Sabato's Crystal Ball'', "The Presidency's Political Price," August 1, 2013]</ref>
  
 
==Personal==
 
==Personal==
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.<ref name="Auma">{{cite news | url=http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/familytree/545465,BSX-News-wotreew09.article | title=AUMA OBAMA:Her restlessness, her independence | author=Scott Fornek | publisher=''Chicago Sun Times'' | date=2007-09-09|accessdate=2008-03-23}}</ref>
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{{youtube|title=iGZ2nlkTuEE|right|size=200|caption=Introducing Bo and Sunny, the first family's dogs.}}Obama and his wife Michelle have two girls, Malia and Sasha. They also share the White House with their two Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny. Obama won a Grammy Award in 2006 for the reading of his memoir ''The Dreams From My Father'', and is an avid reader and sports fan.<ref name="funfacts">[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/3401168/Barack-Obama-The-50-facts-you-might-not-know.html ''The Telegraph'', "Barack Obama: The 50 facts you might not know," November 7, 2008]</ref> Obama was nominated, along with actor Zack Galifianakis for an Emmy award on July 10, 2014, in the  Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program category for his interview on Galifianakis' ''Between Two Ferns''.<ref>[http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/10/obama-galifianakis-interview-nominated-for-emmy/ ''CNN'', "Obama-Galifianakis interview nominated for Emmy," July 10, 2014]</ref> He had the White House tennis court adapted to create a full sized basketball court shortly after taking office.<ref>[http://www.whitehouse.gov/interactive-tour/basketball-court ''The White House'', "The Basketball Court," accessed May 9, 2014]</ref>
 
+
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.<ref>Obama (2006), pp. 327–332. See also: {{cite news | first=Sarah | last=Brown | title=Obama '85 Masters Balancing Act | date=December 7 2005 | work=Daily Princetonian | url=http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2005/12/07/news/14049.shtml | accessdate=2008-04-28}} {{cite news | first=Eric | last=Tucker | title=Family Ties: Brown Coach, Barack Obama | date=March 1 2007 | publisher=ABC News | url =http://www.abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=2916437 | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref> 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.<ref>Obama (2006), p. 329.</ref> They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992.<ref>{{cite news | first=Scott | last=Fornek | title=Michelle Obama: 'He Swept Me Off My Feet' | date=October 3 2007 | url=http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/585261,CST-NWS-wedding03.stng | work=Chicago Sun-Times | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref> The couple's first daughter, Malia Ann, was born in 1998, followed by a second daughter, Natasha ("Sasha"), in 2001.<ref>Obama (1995), p. 440, and Obama (2006), pp. 339–340. See also: {{cite web | title=Election 2008 Information Center: Barack Obama | url=http://www.gannettnewsservice.com/?cat=153 | work=Gannett News Service | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref>
+
 
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Applying the proceeds of a $2&nbsp;million book deal, the family paid off debts in 2005 and moved from a Hyde Park, Chicago condominium to their current $1.6&nbsp;million house in neighboring Kenwood.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jeff | last=Zeleny | title=The First Time Around: Sen. Obama's Freshman Year | date=December 24 2005 | url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-051224obama,1,1815354.story | work=Chicago Tribune | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref> 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.<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.chicagobusiness.com/downloads/rezkoindict.pdf|title=Indictment - U.S. vs. Levine and Rezko|format=PDF publisher=Chicago Business | accessdate=2008-05-30}}</ref> In December 2007, ''Money'' magazine estimated the Obama family's net worth at $1.3 million.<ref>{{cite news | title=Obama's Money | date=December 7 2007 | url=http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2007/moneymag/0712/gallery.candidates.moneymag/5.html | publisher=CNNMoney.com | accessdate=2008-04-28}} See also:
+
{{cite news | first=Zachary A | last=Goldfarb | title=Measuring Wealth of the '08 Candidates | date=March 24 2007 | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/24/AR2007032400305.html | work=The Washington Post | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref> 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.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jeff | last=Zelany | title=Book Sales Lifted Obamas' Income in 2007 to a Total of $4.2 Million | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/17/us/politics/17obama.html | date=April 17 2008 | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref>
+
 
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Obama plays basketball, a sport he participated in as a member of his high school's varsity team.<ref>{{cite news | first=Jodi | last=Kantor | title=One Place Where Obama Goes Elbow to Elbow | date=June 1 2007 | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/01/us/politics/01hoops.html | work=The New York Times | accessdate=2008-04-28}} See also: {{cite news | title=The Love of the Game | format=video | date=April 15 2008 | publisher=YouTube (BarackObama.com) | url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1Lqm5emQl4 | work=[http://www.hbo.com/realsports/stories/2008/episode.133.s1.html HBO: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel] | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref> 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."<ref> {{cite news | first=Christi | last=Parsons | title=Obama Launches an '07 Campaign—To Quit Smoking | date=February 6 2007 | url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-0702060167feb06,0,373462.story | work=Chicago Tribune | accessdate=2008-04-28}} </ref> 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.<ref>{{cite news | title=Questions for the Candidates | date=May 15 2007 | publisher=USA Today | url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/2007-05-17-2380332271_x.htm | work =Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref> Asked to name a "hidden talent," Obama answered: "I'm a pretty good poker player."<ref>{{cite news | title=Gambling Buddies: Obama Flush with Poker Prowess | date=September 24 2007 | publisher=CNN | url =http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/24/obama.poker.ap/index.html | work=Associated Press | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref>
+
  
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."<ref>Obama (2006), pp. 202–208. Portions excerpted in: {{cite news | first=Barack | last=Obama | title=My Spiritual Journey | date=October 23 2006 | url =http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1546579,00.html | work=Time | accessdate=2008-04-28}}</ref>
 
 
==Recent news==
 
==Recent news==
 
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term '''Barack + Obama'''.
 
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term '''Barack + Obama'''.
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*[http://www.whitehouse.gov Official White House website]  
 
*[http://www.whitehouse.gov Official White House website]  
 
*[http://www.barackobama.com/ Official campaign website]
 
*[http://www.barackobama.com/ Official campaign website]
*[http://www.facebook.com/barackobama Barack Obama on Facebook]
 
*[https://twitter.com/#!/BARACKOBAMA Barack Obama on Twitter]
 
*[http://www.youtube.com/user/BarackObamadotcom Barack Obama on YouTube]
 
 
*[http://www.myspace.com/barackobama Barack Obama on MySpace]
 
*[http://www.myspace.com/barackobama Barack Obama on MySpace]
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{{CongLinks |congbio=O000167 |votesmart=9490 |washpo=Barack_Obama |govtrack= |opencong= |cspan= |ontheissuespath=Barack_Obama.htm | |surge= |legistorm= |fec= |opensecrets= |followthemoney= |nyt=o/barack_obama |findagrave= | fb = barackobama | twitter = BARACKOBAMA | wikipedia = Barack_Obama | youtube = BarackObamadotcom | myspace=barackobama }}
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}
  
<small>Parts of this article were taken and modified from [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama Wikipedia], the free encyclopedia under the GNU license.</small>
 
 
{{Illinois}}
 
{{Illinois}}
 
[[Category:U.S. presidents]]
 
[[Category:U.S. presidents]]

Latest revision as of 08:30, 18 August 2014

Barack Hussein Obama
Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg
44th President of the United States
Incumbent
In office
January 20, 2009 - Present
Term ends
2017
Years in position 5
PartyDemocratic
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Term limits2 (4 year terms)
Prior offices
United States Senator
2005–2008
Illinois state Senator
1997-2005
Education
High schoolPunahou Academy
Bachelor'sColumbia University
J.D.Harvard University Law School
Personal
BirthdayAugust 4, 1961
Place of birthHonolulu, HI
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer
Websites
Office website
Campaign website

Contents

Barack Hussein Obama II (b. August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, HI) 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.

Biography

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]

Career

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

2007-08

Obama served on the following committees:[6]

2005-06

Obama served on the following committees:[7]

Issues

Presidential administration

2014 illegal immigration surge

See also: 2014 illegal immigration surge

The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act delayed the deportation of unaccompanied minors crossing the border in order to protect them from traffickers.[8] Other factors argued by lawmakers included increased gang violence in Central America, as well as claims that the administration has been enforced immigration laws too lightly.[9] As of June 2014, it was estimated that 52,000 unaccompanied minors have entered into the program since October 2013. The process can take months or even years for the children to be given asylum or be reunited with their families.[8]

Detention center increase
U.S.-Mexico border
On June 20, 2014, Obama released a plan to increase the amount of detention centers, use more ankle bracelets to track immigrants waiting for hearings and shift more immigration judges to southern Texas in order to speed up the hearings process.[9] The same day, Vice President Joe Biden met with the leaders of Central American countries to discuss plans to slow the surge. While the White House announced it would provide Guatemala with $40 million to mitigate gang violence and $25 million to El Salvador to start youth programs for those pressured by gang violence, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina suggested, "I proposed to the Vice-President the possibility of considering temporary work programs, which would allow (Guatemalans) to go for a time and return." An unnamed U.S. official claimed that the administration's message to those seeking entry into the U.S. legally was increasing, "'Don't come.' And if you think you're coming and once you're here you won't be returned, that's not the case. You're not going to be able to stay."[10]

Democratic lawmakers showed concern over the administration's response to what Obama called a "humanitarian crisis." A spokesperson for Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) insisted Gutierrez, "does not support the idea of putting children and families fleeing violence in detention while they await our courts to catch up to the current crisis."[9] On the other hand, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) argued in a letter to Obama that the National Guard could assume the duty of handling undocumented children crossing the border freeing up Border Patrol to focus on guarding the boundary. He stated in his letter, "While we understand that many of these individuals are coming to this country to escape violence and hardship in their home country, the current climate along the border and our enforcement policies are only encouraging them to risk their lives and those of their children."[9]

Executive order

Having failed to get legislation through Congress, Obama stated on June 30, 2014, that he would use the power of the executive order to achieve his intended goals on immigration if action were not taken. He insisted, "While I will continue to push House Republicans to drop the excuses and act — and I hope their constituents will, too — America cannot wait forever for them to act."[11] On July 19, 2014, Rep. Gutierrez announced at a speech in Los Angeles, California, that he believed Obama would sign an executive order in the coming months that would grant legal status to millions of immigrants.[12]

Due to the House's continued failure to pass a bill, President Obama was expected to issue an executive order in August 2014. Possible order that would be issued included granting working visas to many illegal immigrants, easing the pressure on immigration courts, expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or reordering the deportation priority list.[13]

On July 31, 2014, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) claimed that if President Obama used an executive order to carry out immigration reform, he would set his "legacy of lawlessness" in stone. Boehner stated, "He’ll be sacrificing the integrity of our laws on the altar of political opportunity, and I can guarantee you the American people would hold him to account,” he told reporters. “The actions he’s threatening to take are not about policy. They’re about politics."[14]

Funding increase request

On July 9, 2014, Obama requested a $3.7 billion budget increase in order to carry out the administration's plan to create new detention centers and speed up the hearings process. A spokesman for Boehner suggested, "The speaker still supports deploying the National Guard to provide humanitarian support in the affected areas — which this proposal does not address."[15] However, in a closed meeting with House Republicans, Boehner urged action on the bill prior to the August recess.[16]

Refugee status extension

The White House announced the consideration of a proposal allowing for citizens of Honduras, where many unaccompanied minors are illegally migrating from due to gang violence, to file for refugee status on July 24, 2014. The ability to file as a refugee would prevent migrants from having to make the dangerous journey from Honduras with an unknown outcome and would allow them to apply for refugee status prior to leaving the country. While supporters of the idea believe offering refugee status would greatly cut down the flow of immigrants crossing the border, a Federation for American Immigration Reform spokesperson warned, "Once you stretch the definition of refugee to include people in countries where there is violence or widespread poverty, you are going to create the expectation that people will be granted asylum, based on the same claim, if they get to the United States." The White House acknowledged the proposal was being considered, but a spokesperson clarified, "It doesn't mean we're going to do it."[17]

ISIS insurgency

See also: ISIS insurgency in Iraq
Map of Iraq
Iraqi security forces were not well-trained or well-equipped enough following the American withdrawal of troops to stave off the al-Qaeda off-shoot, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which had grown in power due to their actions in the civil war in neighboring Syria. On June 12, 2014, while reviewing options in dealing with increasing violence in Iraq by ISIS, Obama stated, "What we’ve seen over the last couple of days indicates Iraq’s going to need more help," however, the administration pointed out they would not send ground troops into Iraq. Obama authorized airstrikes in Iraq if necessary, on August 7, 2014.[18][19] Several airstrikes took place in the following days, as well as humanitarian drops to those battling ISIS troops.[20][21]

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was ousted by the president of Iraq on August 11, 2014, a move that brought support from Obama and other heads of state around the world. Haider al-Abadi, of the same political party as Maliki, was nominated to replace Maliki in hopes of forming a more inclusive government to the region.[22]

Boehner lawsuit

See also: Boehner's lawsuit against the Obama administration
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced in June 2014 that he was filing a lawsuit against Obama focusing on Obama's failure to enforce the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's employer mandate. House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) released a draft resolution July 10 that could be considered by the committee as early as next week and the House floor the following week. Boehner argued that Obama "changed the healthcare law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law by literally waiving the employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it."[23]

Obama was asked in 2013 about the legality of the delay, to which he responded, "If Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don't have some folks in Congress who say that I'm usurping my authority."[24] The administration called the move a political stunt and a waste of time.[25]

Bergdahl exchange

The Obama administration exchanged five Guantanamo Bay prisoners for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on May 31, 2014. Bergdahl was captured by Taliban forces in Afghanistan in 2009 and held captive just across the border in Pakistan.[26] Bergdahl has been accused of deserting his unit before being captured, leading to more controversy over whether or not the administration should have made a deal with the Taliban. Critics claimed the action showed American weakness by setting the precedent that the United States would make deals with terrorists. The House Armed Services committee chair Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) went further and insisted President Obama violated the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act by not giving Congress at least 30 days notice before engaging in talks to get Bergdahl back.[27]

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed the exchange was rushed due to Bergdahl's "deteriorating" health. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also defended the exchange and hoped it would create "a new opening" in future talks with the Taliban.[27] When asked the reasoning behind the negotiations on June 3, 2014, President Obama explained, "Regardless of the circumstances, whatever those circumstances may turn out to be, we still get an American soldier back if he’s held in captivity. Period. Full stop. We don’t condition that." He also stated that the administration had been consulting with Congress prior to the swap, a statement House Intelligence committee chair Mike Rogers (R-MI) disputed, stating, "In 2011, they did come up and present a plan that included a prisoner transfer that was, in a bipartisan way, pushed back. We hadn't heard anything since on any details of any prisoner exchange." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reported that he was told of the exchange but only "the day before or the day of."[28]

VA hospital waiting lines

See also: Veterans Affairs' secret waiting lists

According to reports by CNN, veterans hospitals across the country were delaying care of veteran patients, at times to the point that some veterans conditions deteriorated vastly or died due to the wait times. To cover for the long delays, some hospitals resorted to "secret lists" for patients awaiting care in order to keep their official wait times down. The following reports were released by CNN:[29]

  • On November 20, 2013, it was reported that at Williams Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, patients were not receiving routine gastrointestinal procedures until up to a year after requesting an appointment, at times even longer. A review of 280 gastrointestinal patients showed that 52 of the patients showed complications due to the delay in care and early detection. The VA confirmed six deaths resulted from delayed care at the hospital, but CNN's sources suggested the number could be as high as 20.[30]
The Dorn hospital also received an addition $1 million in federal funding in 2011 in order to treat the patients on long waiting lists. However, according to documents, only one-third of the federal funds went to the intended destination.[30]
  • The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, experienced the deaths of three patients due to long delays in treatment and had a waiting list of over 4,500 patients.[30]
  • Between 2010 and 2011, VA internal documents indicated 82 veterans died or were dying in part due to delayed care from VA hospitals in the United States.[31]
  • In the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system in Phoenix, Arizona, at least 40 veterans died waiting for care. The VA system in Phoenix used a secret waiting list. The secret list was used as a placeholder for patients whose care would be delayed for months. VA guidelines require care be given in a timely manner, usually within three weeks, but the Phoenix system used the secret list to hold names between the times appointments were made until the appointment could be made within the required VA timeline.[29]

Members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee began investigating the VA hospital delays in November 2013.[30] In April 2014, Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) ordered all records be preserved and intended to make the issue a congressional investigation.[29]

The VA hospitals in Nashville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, had 4,752 new patients go through their facilities during a 6 month period ending March 31, 2014. Of those, only 29.6 percent saw treatment in the 14-day window goal set by the Veterans Affairs Department, representing the lowest score nationwide excluding those with the secret lists. The facilities with the highest percentage of new patients seen were located in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where 93.7% were seen in the 14-day window.[32]

A VA internal report showed that staff at nearly two-thirds of the nation's 216 facilities were instructed to falsify wait time information on reports. In an editorial in Time, Rep. Jeff Miller, chair of the House Veterans Affairs committee, stated, "Any VA administrator who ordered subordinates to purposely manipulate appointment data should be fired immediately."[33]

Calls for Shinseki resignation

On May 5, 2014, the American Legion, the largest veteran organization in the U.S., and Concerned Veterans for America called for the resignation of Secretary Shinseki.[34] American Legion's director stated, "At least let us know that the problems exist and they have a plan to take care of it," when asked about the lack of communication from the VA. Shinseki responded to the calls for resignation, saying, "I serve at the pleasure of the president. I signed on to make some changes, I have work to do."[35]

Shinseki resignation

President Obama accepted Shinseki's resignation on May 30, 2014.[36] Sloan Gibson, who was confirmed in February 2014 to be Shinseki's deputy secretary, was named acting secretary of veterans affairs until a replacement could be nominated and confirmed.[37]

Actions taken

Shinseki testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs committee on May 15, 2014, stating, "I’m committed to take all actions necessary to identify exactly what the issues are, to fix them and to strengthen veterans’ trust in VA health care. If any allegations are substantiated by the inspector general, we will act." Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) questioned the leadership ability of the secretary and others in the department, claiming, "VA senior leadership, including the secretary, should have been aware that VA was facing a national scheduling crisis. VA leadership either failed to connect the dots or failed to address this ongoing crisis, which has resulted in patient harm and patient deaths."

Prior to the hearing, President Obama announced that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Rob Nabors would lead a review of the VA's scheduling process and patient safety rules.[38] Two organizations, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), also launched a whistle-blower website for those who were affected by the controversial secret waiting lists. The head of POGO stated, "Whistle-blowers shouldn’t have to go it alone. We can help whistle-blowers hold the VA accountable, and keep the focus on solutions rather than attempts to hunt down those who voiced concerns."[39]

Obamacare

Healthcare.gov rollout
See also: Healthcare.gov website rollout

Pat Roberts calls for Sebelius' resignation.

The launch of the Healthcare.gov 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.[40][41][42] 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."[43] Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce committee on October 30, 2013. During testimony, Sebelius stated: "In these early weeks, access to HealthCare.gov 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."[44][45] Officials have not released an estimated timeframe for fixes.[46]

Health insurance policy cancellations
See also: Health insurance policy cancellations since Obamacare

Leading up to the passage of Obamacare into law, one statement made repeatedly by the President, administration and Congressional supporters, was some form of the line Obama gave in an August 22, 2009, internet address, claiming, "If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep your plan. Period."[47]

However, when the law was enacted on October 1, 2013, many individually insured people began receiving letters from their insurance carriers notifying them that their current plans would be canceled at the end of the policy term. The plans were canceled because they did not meet new minimum coverage requirements set by the law.[48]

Cost overruns

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated the costs of the Healthcare.gov federal exchange website, estimating that the total cost, as of March 2014, was $840 million.[49] GAO Director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management William Woods claimed that the overrun was due to inconsistent oversight and constantly changing requirements, which were noted by contractors when asked to testify during the website rollout. Woods stated in his written testimony, "We found that CMS undertook the development of HealthCare.gov and its related systems without effective planning or oversight practices, despite facing a number of challenges that increased both the level of risk and the need for effective oversight. According to [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services] program and contracting officials, the task of developing a first-of-its-kind federal marketplace was a complex effort that was exacerbated by compressed time frames and changing requirements."[50] According to Kathleen Sebelius' House testimony on October 30, 2013, the website had a cost of $118 million plus another $56 million for IT support.[51]

Sebelius resignation
Sebelius resigned on April 10, 2014.
On April 10, 2014, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius resigned from her position following the troubled rollout of Obamacare. She and President Obama determined that the end of the open enrollment period provided a chance for change.

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."[52]

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.[53] According to a September 17, 2013 release by the FISA court, no telecommunications companies have challenged the demand of the NSA to disclose records.[54]

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.[55][56][57]

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, D.C., and the U.S. House 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.[58]

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.[59] 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.[60]

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.[61]

IRS targeting

See also: IRS targeting allegations

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.[62]

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.[63][64] President Obama said he learned about the targeting through news reports and stated, "If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it."[65]

Testifying on May 15, 2013, 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.[66]

On May 16, 2013, IRS Commissioner Steven Miller announced his resignation. He still testified at the hearings the next day.[67] 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."[68]

In January 2014, the FBI announced no criminal charges would be filed over the IRS targeting scandal unless new evidence came to light.[69] 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."[70]

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.[71]

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee received information from the Justice Department that the IRS provided the FBI with a 1.1 million page database of information on tax-exempt organizations. The files, announced by the committee on June 9, 2014, were to be used by the FBI to investigate the political activity of the tax-exempt organizations. In a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) wrote, "We were extremely troubled by this new information, and by the fact that the IRS has withheld it from the committee for over a year. We were astonished to learn days ago from the Justice Department that these 21 disks contained confidential taxpayer information protected by federal law." The IRS claimed most of the information was publicly available with the exception of 33 organizations for which it accidentally released non-public information to the FBI. Republican representatives are looking into whether any wrongdoing occurred.[72]

The House Ways and Means Committee announced on June 13, 2014, that emails from Lerner between January 2009 and April 2011 to those outside of the IRS were lost due to a computer crash. Koskinen promised all documentation from Lerner would be handed over for investigation, but it was revealed in a letter that emails from that period could not be found. Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released a response, stating, "The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials. It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights." Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee Charles Boustany Jr., (D-LA) questioned the administration's transparency claiming, "This is not the transparency promised to the American people. If there is no smidgeon of corruption what is the Administration hiding?"[73]

Benghazi

See also: 2012 Benghazi attack overview

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.[74] 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.[75] 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.[74] 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."[76] 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."[77]

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."[78] 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."[79]

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."[80]

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."[81] 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."[82] 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."[81]

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."[81] 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."[83]

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 was made up of seven Republicans and five democrats.[84] 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."[85]

The twelve members named to the Gowdy committee were:[86][87]

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.[88]

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.[89]

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.[88] It was the first time in U.S. history a sitting cabinet member was held in contempt by Congress.[90]

The House Oversight Committee filed a civil lawsuit over the documents on August 13, 2012.[88] Holder asked U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman 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.[91]

Key legislation

[edit]

Race to the Top

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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.[92]

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."[93]

Grant criteria

Grants are rewarded based on these scores and subsequent rankings:[94]

  • 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)

Goals

The goals of the Race to the Top reforms were:[94]

  • 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.[95]
  • 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.”[96]

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.[97]

—American Federation of Teachers, [98]

  • 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.[99]

Results

Race to the Top grants recipients were announced in three initial rounds.[100][101] [102]

Race to the Top grant allocations slowed significantly after the first three rounds as many states faced delayed implementation of promised reforms.[103]

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.[104][105]

Controversy

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.[106] 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.[107] 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.[108][109] 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.[110]


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.[111] 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.[112][113] 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.[114][115][116][117][118]


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.[119][120] 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.[121]

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.[122]

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.[123]

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.[124] The ten essential benefits outlined by the ACA are:[125]

  • 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

Contraception mandate in the Supreme Court

See also: Obamacare lawsuits

On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard the case put forward by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. The case argued that mandated coverage of birth control violated religious freedoms. Both companies' appeals were heard together during a one-hour public session.[126]

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on June 30, 2014. The 5-4 decision allowed companies to opt out of offering contraceptives on the basis of religious beliefs. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court's opinion, stating, "We doubt that the Congress that enacted RFRA — or, for that matter, ACA–would have believed it a tolerable result to put family-run businesses to the choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or making all of their employees lose their existing healthcare plans."[127]

The dissenting justices claimed the ruling would allow companies to "opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs." Likewise, the Obama administration argued that companies that did not wish to provide the contraceptive coverage or other areas of coverage due to religious beliefs could decide not to provide any company-wide options.[127]

Although the decision expanded the notion of corporate personhood to include religious rights "to provide protection for human beings," members of the public found it highly divisive in nature as it reaffirmed the Court's "pro-business" stance.[128] Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pledged to restore the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage, stating, "If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will. We will continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room."[129]

Carbon cap executive order

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On June 2, 2014, President Obama signed an executive order intended to cut carbon pollution in the United States by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030. The order allowed states to individually determine which policies would be more effective for them to reach their goals. A similar bill was debated by Congress during Obama's first term in office, but it failed to pass. Obama used powers established by the 1970 Clean Air Act to sign the executive order.[130] Legal challenges were expected to arise over the 645 page order. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said of the rule, "This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps. This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs."[131]

President Obama gave the EPA until June 2015 to finalize the rule and states have until June 2016 to submit their plans, but the EPA pushed the deadline for states back to 2017 for those working individually and 2018 for those working together on plans.[131]

Possible ramifications

Coal plants were most likely to be hit the hardest with estimates in the hundreds of the nation's 6,000 plants that would be shut down by 2030. The Chamber of Commerce estimated that the new rule could result in a lowering of the gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as $50 billion annually.[130]

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) president spoke out against the action, suggesting 75,000 jobs could be lost by 2020. He stated, "The proposed rule … will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions."[132] Additionally, Democratic lawmakers and candidates in coal-driven states have come out in opposition to the president's plan. Those lawmakers include: Alison Lundergan Grimes, Natalie Tennant and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV).[133]

Elections

U.S. President

2012

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.[134]

2008

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: Archives.gov 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.[135]

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.[136][137][138]

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

2012

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.[139]

Cost per vote

Obama spent $10.37 per vote received in 2012.

Campaign donors

2008

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.[140]

Cost per vote

Obama spent $10.50 per vote received in 2008.

Campaign donors

2004

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.[141]

Cost per vote

Obama spent $3.99 per vote received in 2004.

Campaign donors


Candidate endorsements

Analysis

Net Worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives

2011

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, 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 calculated net worth[143] decreased by %2.6 from 2010.[144]

2010

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, 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.[145]

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.[146]

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.[146]

Personal


Introducing Bo and Sunny, the first family's dogs.
Obama and his wife Michelle have two girls, Malia and Sasha. They also share the White House with their two Portuguese Water Dogs, Bo and Sunny. Obama won a Grammy Award in 2006 for the reading of his memoir The Dreams From My Father, and is an avid reader and sports fan.[147] Obama was nominated, along with actor Zack Galifianakis for an Emmy award on July 10, 2014, in the Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program category for his interview on Galifianakis' Between Two Ferns.[148] He had the White House tennis court adapted to create a full sized basketball court shortly after taking office.[149]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Barack + Obama.

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Barack Obama News Feed

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See also

External links


References

  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 Biography.com, "Barack Obama biography," accessed November 14, 2013
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