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Who is Barack Obama

by Vishul Malik

BARACK OBAMA: A Man of Caliber and A Man of Vision The 44th president of the United States needs no elaborate description. He is more a man of action than…

BARACK OBAMA: A Man of Caliber and A Man of Vision

The 44th president of the United States needs no elaborate description. He is more a man of action than a man of words and hence aptly fits the saying: ‘Action speaks louder than words.’ Barack Obama is an inspiration

Barack Obama

for the world, an example of a man who grew up with challenges thrust upon him, a man who understands the true meaning of leadership and a man who represents The People. He is not only recognized today for being the first African-American president, but for standing by his firm belief that ‘life should be lived in service to others.’

His humbleness, his stirring speeches, his decisiveness, his extraordinary efforts, and his many successful ventures make him a real hero in the eyes of his people. He inevitably deserves to be called one of the best presidents; the United States has been blessed with.


His Early Life and Education

On 4 August 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, saw the birth of its first (future) President, Barack Obama at a Kapi’olani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital. He was born to a father who hailed from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya and to a mother who was from Wichita Kansas. His mother Stanley Ann Dunham and his father Barack Obama, Sr. met in 1960 at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The couple married on 2 February 1961 in Wailuku, Maui. In late August, the couple separated with Obama’s mother moving to Seattle with her son to attend the University of Washington. Obama’s father on the other hand left to attend Harvard University. The couple finally divorced in March 1964.

When Obama Jr. was just 21 years old, Obama Sr. died in a car accident. Dunham too remarried on 15 March 1965 to Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian graduate of the University of Hawaii. The couple along with Obama returned to Indonesia where Obama attended Indonesian schools, like St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School and Besuki Public School from the age of six to ten. In the year 1971, Obama came back to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents Madelyn and Stanley Dunham. Obama continued to stay in Hawaii for the following three years from 1972 to 1975 with his mother and sister. His mother along with his sister returned to Indonesia in 1975 where she spent the next two decades.

His mother divorced Lolo in 1980. Thereafter, she earned a Ph.D. in 1992. She was undergoing treatment for uterine cancer and ovarian cancer and died in the year 1995.

Post his high school, Obama shifted to Los Angeles in the year 1979 and got himself admitted to Occidental College. In 1981, he attended Columbia College, Columbia University, New York City as a junior and it is here that he majored in political science, specializing in International Relations. By 1983, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. He then went on to work at Business International Corporation and later at the New York Public Interest Research Group. After a gap of two years, he went on to work as a community organizer from the year 1985 to 1988 and then as an instructor, and consultant for the Gamaliel Foundation. He joined the Harvard Law School in 1988. Of his days at Harvard he says, “the best education I ever had, better than anything I got at Harvard Law School.” Michelle Robinson was then an associate at the Chicago law firm, Sidley Austin. As it turned out she was appointed Obama’s adviser during a particular summer internship at the firm. It did not take long enough for the couple to start dating. In February of 1990, Obama became the first African-American editor of Harvard Law Review and subsequently went on to become the first president of the journal. The following year he graduated from Harvard with a J.D. magna cum laude. He, thereafter, returned to Chicago.

Once in Chicago, he joined the Miner, Barnhill & Galland firm and started his practice as a civil rights lawyer. He also got into teaching and did part-time teaching at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He joined as a lecturer and eventually went on to become a professor. During the 1992 Bill Clinton presidential campaign, Obama organized the voter registration drives.


Obama’s Entry into Politics

Obama launched his political career in the year 1996 by getting elected to the Illinois State Senate, running as a Democrat from the South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park. He edged out a place for himself and garnered support from both the Democrats and Republicans in drafting the legislation on ethics and in reforming health care systems. He was instrumental in creating a state earned-income tax credit that aimed to benefit the working class. He also played a key role in promoting subsidies for early education programs. Obama eventually became the chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee. Following a situation whereby some prisoners on death row were found to be innocent, he formulated with the law enforcement officials and put forward the videotaping needs of all interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

He was reelected to Illinois State Senate in 1998 and again in the year 2002. In the year 2000, he unsuccessfully ran a Democratic primary race for first congressional district of Illinois in the United States House of Representatives losing to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush with a very narrow margin. The lost did not dampen his spirit rather he went on to build a campaign committee in 2002. He also simultaneously began generating funds in order to run for a seat in the 2004 US Senate.


US Senate

Encouraged by the good response from poll numbers Obama took the decision to run for the US Senate seat in 2004 that was earlier occupied by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. Winning 52 percent of the votes in the Democratic Primary, he defeated both Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes and multimillionaire businessman Blair Hull. In July of the same year, Obama delivered his stirring and well-remembered speech in support of John Kerry at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. The speech emphasized the call for unity between the Republican and Democratic states. He shared his views that there should be the United States of America instead of an America divided into Republican and Democrat states.

In November of 2004, he became the third African-American appointed to the US Senate ever since the Reconstruction. Illinois gave 70 percent of its vote to Obama as against 27 percent to Keyes. It became the biggest electoral victory in the history of Illinois. He was sworn into office on 4 January 2005.

During his tenure as the US Senate Obama worked on various issues that plagued the nation. He joined hands with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana to work on a bill that sought to maximize efforts in destructing mass weapons in Russia and Eastern Europe. He also created a website to make a recording of all federal spending and in this venture he partnered with Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. He also stressed on issues concerning nuclear non-proliferation, on the possible health hazard inflicted by avian flu, and on creating more alternatives for energy development.

Moving forward he released his second book “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream,” in October 2006. The book bears his vision of future America. It went on to occupy the number one position in both Amazon.com and New York Times best seller lists.


2008 Presidential Election and First Term

In February 2007, Obama declared that he would stand for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He went on to defeat the Republican presidential nominee John McCain in November 2008 and made history securing 52.9 percent of the votes as against McCain’s 45.7 percent. This win made him the 44th president of the United States and the first African-American to do so. Delaware Senator Joe Biden his running mate was appointed vice-president. Obama was sworn in on 20 January 2009. It was a period of Great Depression, a period when the economy was losing 800,000 jobs every month. In addition to it, there were two ongoing wars along with the fact that United States had the lowest international favorability ranking.

The first 100 days saw the Obama Administration working on various arenas. Obama got into immediate action to bring the economy of the nation back on track. He worked on various agendas that centered on alternative energy, financial reform, improving health care system, and reinventing the education system. Attempts were initiated to encourage short-term economic growth. Taxes were cut for small businesses, working families, and first time home buyers. The historic Wall Street reform was issued with new regulations. The Affordable Care Act was passed to put forth reasonable and better health care facility within the reach of all Americans.

He was also instrumental in ending the Iraq war. He became the first sitting president to stand by equality in marriage. College education went on to become more affordable for the masses of Americans. He also fought for equal pay. He sought to strengthen ties with countries like China, Europe, and Russia. He took care of numerous military and security issues. It was he who gave the green signal to the 2011 operation in Pakistan, leading to the killing of the world famous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Nine months into his first term, Obama was crowned the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.


2012 Re-Election and Second Term

Obama announced his re-election campaign for 2012 on 4 April 2011. In a campaign event he stated “I guarantee you, we will move this country forward. We will finish what we started. And we’ll remind the world just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.” He went on to win 332 electoral votes becoming the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win the majority of the popular vote twice. He officially resumed his office on 21 January 2013.

During the second term too he led the nation facing many new challenges. In respond to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, he created policies for gun control. He has also worked on complete equality for LGBT Americans. He took up various challenges in the area of foreign relations and even on the home front. He led the attack against Islamic State or what is also commonly referred to as the ISIS or ISIL. The United States joined hands with several Arab countries to launch airstrikes on the militant group.


Personal Life

Obama met Michelle Robinson in June of 1989. While Obama was employed at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin as a summer associate, Robinson was appointed to be his adviser for three months. Though Robinson accompanied him to several social gatherings, she rejected his initials proposals to date. The couple began dating late that summer and eventually got engaged in 1991. They got married on 3 October 1992. On 4 July 1998, the couple was blessed with a daughter and named her Malia Ann. They were blessed with a second daughter on 10 June 2001 and named her Natasha. The Obama’s also has two Portuguese Water Dogs.


Facts and Information

Full Name Barack Hussein Obama II
Born on 08/04/61
Place of Birth Honolulu, Hawaii, US
Nationality American
Spouse Michelle Robinson
Mother Ann Dunham
Father Barack Obama, Sr.
Children Malia Ann Obama (b. 1998) Natasha Obama (b. 2001)
Alma Mater Occidental College
Columbia University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Profession Lawyer
Author Community Organizer
Religion Christianity
Political Party Democratic
Residence White House (official) Chicago, Illinois (Private)
Member of the Illinois Senate from the 13th District In office 8 January 1997 – 4 November 2004
United States Senator from Illinois In office 3 January 2005 – 16 November 2008
44th President of the United States Assumed office 20 January 2009
Awards Nobel Peace Prize
Author Dreams from My Father
The Audacity of Hope
Of thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

US Govt. Site


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