Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago, where he met and married Michelle LaVaughn Robinson in Their two daughters, Malia Ann and Natasha Sasha , were born in and , respectively. Obama was elected to the Illinois state senate in and served there for eight years. In , he was elected by a record majority to the US Senate from Illinois and, in February , announced his candidacy for president. He is the author of multiple books on American politics and government. The photograph was taken by Pete Souza, the newly announced official White House photographer.
It was the first time that an official presidential portrait was taken with a digital camera. Senator Barack Obama speaks with the crowd at a campaign stop during the presidential election of Obama was often on the campaign trial in casual clothes and frequently spoke directly to voters, two things which contributed to his appeal to everyday Americans. When President Barack Obama moved into the White House, it became livelier than it had been in decades.
This official family portrait was taken by Annie Leibovitz. On the 50th anniversary of the violent clashes between civil rights activists and police in Selma, President Obama, his family, and civil rights supporters marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. President Obama and his advisors talk with negotiators in Switzerland from the situation room. Thomas J. Grant Rutherford B. Hayes James A. Garfield Chester A. Roosevelt Harry S. With his win, Obama became only the third African-American elected to the U.
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Senate since Reconstruction. Sworn into office on January 3, , Obama partnered with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on a bill that expanded efforts to destroy weapons of mass destruction in Eastern Europe and Russia. Then, with Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, he created a website to track all federal spending.
Obama also spoke out for victims of Hurricane Katrina, pushed for alternative energy development and championed improved veterans' benefits.
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The work discussed Obama's visions for the future of America, many of which became talking points for his eventual presidential campaign. Shortly after its release, the book hit No. In February , Obama made headlines when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. He was locked in a tight battle with former first lady and then-U. On June 3, , Obama became the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee after winning a sufficient number of pledged delegates during the primaries, and Clinton delivered her full support to Obama for the duration of his campaign.
His running mate, Delaware Senator Joe Biden , became vice president.
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Obama's inauguration took place on January 20, When Obama took office, he inherited a global economic recession, two ongoing foreign wars and the lowest-ever international favorability rating for the United States. He campaigned on an ambitious agenda of financial reform, alternative energy and reinventing education and health care—all while bringing down the national debt.
Because these issues were intertwined with the economic well-being of the nation, he believed all would have to be undertaken simultaneously. During his inauguration speech, Obama summarized the situation by saying, "Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.
They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met. Between Inauguration Day and April 29, , the Obama administration took action on many fronts. Obama coaxed Congress to expand health care insurance for children and provide legal protection for women seeking equal pay. Housing and credit markets were put on life support, with a market-based plan to buy U.
Loans were made to the auto industry, and new regulations were proposed for Wall Street. Obama also cut taxes for working families, small businesses and first-time home buyers. Over his first days in office, President Obama also undertook a complete overhaul of America's foreign policy. He lobbied allies to support a global economic stimulus package.
He committed an additional 21, troops to Afghanistan and set an August date for withdrawal of nearly all U. In more dramatic incidents, he ordered an attack on pirates off the coast of Somalia and prepared the nation for a swine flu outbreak. During his oration, Obama addressed the challenges of the economy, proposed a fee for larger banks, announced a possible freeze on government spending in the following fiscal year and spoke against the Supreme Court's reversal of a law capping campaign finance spending.
He also challenged politicians to stop thinking of re-election and start making positive changes. He criticized Republicans for their refusal to support any legislation and chastised Democrats for not pushing hard enough to get legislation passed. He also insisted that, despite obstacles, he was determined to help American citizens through the nation's current domestic difficulties.
I don't quit," he said. In the second part of his first term as president, Obama faced a number of obstacles and scored some victories as well. In spite of opposition from Congressional Republicans and the populist Tea Party movement, Obama signed his health care reform plan, known as the Affordable Care Act, into law in March The new law prohibited the denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, allowed citizens under 26 years old to be insured under parental plans, provided for free health screenings for certain citizens and expanded insurance coverage and access to medical care to millions of Americans.
On the economic front, Obama worked to steer the country through difficult financial times. After drawn-out negotiations with Republicans who gained control of the U. House of Representatives in the midterm elections, he signed the Budget Control Act of in an effort to rein in government spending and prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations. The act also called for the creation of a bipartisan committee to seek solutions to the country's fiscal issues, but the group failed to reach any agreement on how to solve these problems.
Also in , Obama signed a repeal of the military policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which prevented openly gay troops from serving in the U. Armed Forces. In March , he approved U. Navy SEALs.
Obama gained a legal victory in June when the U. Voting with the majority were two associate justices appointed by Obama— Sonia Sotomayor confirmed in and Elena Kagan confirmed in As he did in , during his campaign for a second presidential term, Obama focused on grassroots initiatives.
Celebrities such as Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker aided the president's campaign by hosting fundraising events. And we'll remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth. Representative Paul Ryan. On November 6, , Obama won a second four-year term as president by receiving nearly five million more votes than Romney and capturing more than 60 percent of the Electoral College. Nearly one month after President Obama's re-election, the nation endured one of its most tragic school shootings to date when 20 children and six adults were shot to death at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, Two days after the attack, Obama delivered a speech at an interfaith vigil for the victims in Newtown and discussed a need for change in order to make schools safer while alluding to implementing stricter gun-control measures.
We can't accept events like these as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Obama achieved a major legislative victory on January 1, , when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a bipartisan agreement on tax increases and spending cuts, in an effort to avoid the looming fiscal cliff crisis the Senate voted in favor of the bill earlier that day.
Prior to the bill's passage, in late , tense negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over spending cuts and tax increases became a bitter political battle until Vice President Joe Biden managed to hammer out a deal with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Obama pledged to sign the bill into law. Barack Obama officially began his second term on January 21, , when U. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath of office. The inauguration was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and civil-rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers , gave the invocation.
In his inaugural address, Obama called the nation to action on such issues as climate change, health care and marriage equality. We must act, knowing that today's victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall," Obama told the crowd gathered in front of the U.
Capitol building. The Obamas attended two official inauguration balls, including one held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx also performed. After the inauguration, Obama led the nation through many challenges—none more difficult, perhaps, than the terrorist bombings of the Boston Marathon on April 15, , which killed three people and left more than injured. At a memorial service in Boston three days after the bombings, he told the wounded, "Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again.
Of that I have no doubt. You will run again. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion. In the same month, Obama also found his efforts for gun-control measures thwarted in Congress. He had supported legislation calling for universal background checks on all gun purchases and a ban on sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. In the wake of allegations of the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative political organizations seeking tax-exempt status and accusations of a cover-up in the terrorist killings of U. Experts also attributed the ratings slide to new revelations about the extent of the U.
Obama defended the NSA's email monitoring and telephone wiretapping during a visit to Germany that June. The event marked the first meeting between two U. Obama found himself grappling with an international crisis in late August and September when it was discovered that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians. While saying that thousands of people, including over children, had been killed in the chemical attacks, Obama called Syria's actions "a serious national security threat to the United States and to the region, and as a consequence, Assad and Syria needs to be held accountable.
The president worked to persuade Congress and the international community at large to take action against Syria, but found a majority on Capitol Hill opposed to military involvement. Obama then announced an alternative solution on September 10, , by stating that if al-Assad agreed with the stipulations outlined in a proposal made by Russia to give up its chemical weapons, then a direct strike against the nation could be avoided. Al-Assad acknowledged the possession of chemical weapons and ultimately accepted the Russian proposal.
Later that month, Obama made diplomatic strides with Iran. He spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the phone, which marked the first direct contact between the leaders of the two countries in more than 30 years. This groundbreaking move by Obama was seen by many as a sign of thawing in the relationship between the United States and Iran.
Obama found himself struggling on the domestic front in October A dispute over the federal budget and Republican desires to defund or derail the Affordable Care Act caused a day shutdown of the federal government. After a deal had been reached to end the shutdown, Obama used his weekly address to express his frustration over the situation and his desire for political reform: "The way business is done in Washington has to change. Now that these clouds of crisis and uncertainty have lifted, we need to focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do—grow the economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity, and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul.
Extra technical support was brought in to work on the troubled website, which was plagued with glitches for weeks. The health care law was also blamed for some Americans losing their existing insurance policies, despite repeated assurances from Obama that such cancellations would not occur. Under mounting pressure, Obama found himself apologizing regarding some health care changes.
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