PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

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Born Barack Hussein Obama II
August 4, 1961 (age 54)
Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Michelle Robinson (m. 1992)
Children Malia
Sasha
Residence White House
Education Punahou School
Alma mater
Occidental College
Columbia University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Religion Protestantism (see details)

Barack Hussein Obama II ( born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States, and the first African American to hold the office. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School between 1992 and 2004. He served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, running unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 2000 to Bobby Rush.

In 2004, Obama received national attention during his campaign to represent Illinois in the United States Senate with his victory in the March Democratic Party primary, his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July, and his election to the Senate in November. He began his presidential campaign in 2007 and, after a close primary campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008, he won sufficient delegates in the Democratic Party primaries to receive the presidential nomination. He then defeated Republican nominee John McCain in the general election, and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. Nine months after his inauguration, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

During his first two yerican Taxpaars in office, Obama signed into law economic stimulus legislation in response to the Great Recession in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. Other major domestic initiatives in his first term included the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare”; the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010. In foreign policy, Obama ended U.S. military involvement in the Iraq War, increased U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia, ordered U.S. military involvement in Libya in opposition to Muammar Gaddafi, and ordered the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. In January 2011, the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives as the Democratic Party lost a total of 63 seats; and, after a lengthy debate over federal spending and whether or not to raise the nation’s debt limit, Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Ameyer Relief Act of 2012.

Obama was reelected president in November 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2013. During his second term, Obama has promoted domestic policies related to gun control in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and has called for greater inclusiveness for LGBT Americans, while his administration has filed briefs which urged the Supreme Court to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and state level same-sex marriage bans as unconstitutional. In foreign policy, Obama ordered U.S. military intervention in Iraq in response to gains made by the Islamic State after the 2011 withdrawal from Iraq, continued the process of ending U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, and normalized U.S. relations with Cuba.

Obama was born on August 4, 1961,  at Kapiʻolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital (now Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children) in Honolulu, Hawaii,  and would become the first President to have been born in Hawaii.  His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, born in Wichita, Kansas, was of mostly English ancestry.  His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya. Obama’s parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where his father was a foreign student on scholarship.  The couple married in Wailuku on Maui on February 2, 1961,  and separated when, in late August 1961, Obama’s mother moved with their newborn son to attend the University of Washington in Seattle for a year. During that time, Obama, Sr. completed his undergraduate economics degree in Hawaii in June 1962, then left to attend graduate school at Harvard University on a scholarship. Obama’s parents divorced in March 1964.  Obama Sr. returned to Kenya in 1964 where he remarried; he visited Barack in Hawaii only once, in 1971. He died in an automobile accident in 1982, his son being 21 years old at that time.

In 1963, Dunham met Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian East–West Center graduate student in geography at the University of Hawaii, and the couple were married on Molokai on March 15, 1965.  After two one-year extensions of his J-1 visa, Lolo returned to Indonesia in 1966, followed sixteen months later by his wife and stepson in 1967, with the family initially living in a Menteng Dalam neighborhood in the Tebet subdistrict of south Jakarta, then from 1970 in a wealthier neighborhood in the Menteng subdistrict of central Jakarta.  From ages six to ten, Obama attended local Indonesian-language schools: St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School for two years and Besuki Public School for one and a half years, supplemented by English-language Calvert School homeschooling by his mother.

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding Democratic State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from Illinois’s 13th District, which at that time spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park–Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn.  Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation that reformed ethics and health care laws.  He sponsored a law that increased tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare.  In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan’s payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures.

He was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, defeating Republican Yesse Yehudah in the general election, and was reelected again in 2002.  In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary race for Illinois’s 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one.

In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority.  He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained, and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations.  During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate

Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996, succeeding Democratic State Senator Alice Palmer as Senator from Illinois’s 13th District, which at that time spanned Chicago South Side neighborhoods from Hyde Park–Kenwood south to South Shore and west to Chicago Lawn. Once elected, Obama gained bipartisan support for legislation that reformed ethics and health care laws.  He sponsored a law that increased tax credits for low-income workers, negotiated welfare reform, and promoted increased subsidies for childcare.  In 2001, as co-chairman of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, Obama supported Republican Governor Ryan’s payday loan regulations and predatory mortgage lending regulations aimed at averting home foreclosures.

He was reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998, defeating Republican Yesse Yehudah in the general election, and was reelected again in 2002.   In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary race for Illinois’s 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one.

In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee when Democrats, after a decade in the minority, regained a majority.  He sponsored and led unanimous, bipartisan passage of legislation to monitor racial profiling by requiring police to record the race of drivers they detained, and legislation making Illinois the first state to mandate videotaping of homicide interrogations.  During his 2004 general election campaign for U.S. Senate, police representatives credited Obama for his active engagement with police organizations in enacting death penalty reforms. Obama resigned from the Illinois Senate in November 2004 following his election to the U.S. Senate

Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 3, 2005,  becoming the only Senate member of the Congressional Black Caucus.  CQ Weekly characterized him as a “loyal Democrat” based on analysis of all Senate votes from 2005 to 2007. Obama announced on November 13, 2008, that he would resign his Senate seat on November 16, 2008, before the start of the lame-duck session, to focus on his transition period for the presidency.

In a 2006 interview, Obama highlighted the diversity of his extended family: “It’s like a little mini-United Nations”, he said. “I’ve got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I’ve got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher.”  Obama has a half-sister with whom he was raised (Maya Soetoro-Ng, the daughter of his mother and her Indonesian second husband) and seven half-siblings from his Kenyan father’s family—six of them living.  Obama’s mother was survived by her Kansas-born mother, Madelyn Dunham,  until her death on November 2, 2008,  two days before his election to the Presidency. Obama also has roots in Ireland; he met with his Irish cousins in Moneygall in May 2011.  In Dreams from My Father, Obama ties his mother’s family history to possible Native American ancestors and distant relatives of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.

In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson when he was employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin.  Assigned for three months as Obama’s adviser at the firm, Robinson joined him at several group social functions, but declined his initial requests to date. They began dating later that summer, became engaged in 1991, and were married on October 3, 1992.  The couple’s first daughter, Malia Ann, was born on July 4, 1998,  followed by a second daughter, Natasha (“Sasha”), on June 10, 2001.  The Obama daughters attended the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. When they moved to Washington, D.C., in January 2009, the girls started at the private Sidwell Friends School.  The Obamas have two Portuguese Water Dogs, the first, a male named Bo, a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy.  In August 2013, Bo was joined by Sunny, a female.

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