Barack Hussein Obama II (b. 4 August 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is an American politician and served as the 44th President of the United States from 20 January 2009 until 20 January 2017. The first mixed race president, often described as Black, he was extremely popular among politically correct supporters before being elected, and was quickly given the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, after being president for only nine months.
- 1 Early life and family
- 2 College
- 3 Employment
- 4 Chicago
- 5 Harvard Law School
- 6 Political activism
- 7 2008 Presidential election
- 8 Presidency (2009–2017)
- 9 Post-presidency
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
Early life and family
Barack Hussein Obama II was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to a Muslim, African father from Kenya, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., and a Caucasian American mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who is of Anglo-Saxon and German descent. According to divorce records they were married on February 2, 1961 in Maui. However, no guests attended the "ceremony" and there were no witnesses to the alleged marriage. Also no marriage certificate has yet to appear. Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, said Obama's mother was “very young and very single when she had him.” Barack Obama himself has questions about the alleged marriage. In his memoir, Dreams From My Father he states, “How and when the marriage occurred remains a bit murky, a bill of particulars that I have never quite had the courage to explore.” There is no evidence Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham ever lived together or shared a common residence. Barack Obama Sr. never financially supported his ‘wife’ or his son.
Fifteen days after Barack Obama’s birth, Ann leaves Hawaii and moves with him to Washington state where she enrolls in extension classes at the University of Washington in Seattle on August 19, 1961. By April 1963 Ann returns to Hawaii--after Barack Obama Sr. departed to study at Harvard-- where she enrolls again at the University of Hawaii. Barack Obama Sr. would see his son and Ann only once in 1971. From Harvard, Obama Sr. returned to Kenya and went on to engage in numerous relationships, fathering several children. In 1982 he died in a drunk driving accident.
In January 1964, Ann Dunham filed for divorce citing "grievous mental suffering."
Indonesia and the influence of Islam
While in Indonesia Obama attended two different grade schools. The first one was the Franciscan Asisi Primary School where he claimed he became fluent in the Indonesian language in just six months. His first grade teacher however disputes this and said he struggled with the language and his studies. Although the school was Catholic, Barry Soetoro as he was known then, was registered at the school as an Indonesian citizen born in Honolulu, Hawaii and whose religion was listed as Islam.
Barry attended this school for three years until the family moved and he was enrolled in Besuki Primary School which was predominately Muslim. It has mistakenly been described as a Madrassa, however the school did teach the usual subjects including the Quran.
Private schooling and communist mentor
Ann, Barack and his sister Maya moved back to Hawaii and enrolled him in Punahou School an elite private high school. His mother returned to Indonesia leaving Obama to be raised by his white grandparents. In high school Obama played basketball and admits in his memoir that he drank alcohol and used marijuana and cocaine. He made poor grades in his final high school years due to his drug use. He found part-time employment working at a burger chain and at Baskin-Robbins.
At the time one of Obama’s acquaintances and close friend of his grandfather was Frank Marshall Davis, a communist party member. Davis and Obama had something of a father-son relationship.
After graduation from Punahou, Obama attended Occidental College (September 1979 - June 1981) a small liberal arts college in Los Angeles, California where he continued his drug use and played basketball. Several of his close friends and roommates were Pakistani Muslims. At Occidental, Obama became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and divestment in white South Africa.
In the summer of 1981 after graduating from Occidental, Obama and a Pakistani roommate traveled to Asia. They first visited Obama’s mother and sister in Indonesia. From there, Obama and his companion traveled to Karachi, Pakistan and stayed with a friend’s family for three weeks. They later visited Hyderabad in Southern India.
Later Obama moved to New York City to attend Columbia College, claiming to have studied political science and international relations. The Obama campaign declined media requests to release his transcript at Columbia or name anyone he knew who could give an interview concerning his college days. Few seem to have remembered him at Columbia which has led to speculation he rarely attended classes. One person Obama knew in New York was Sohale Siddiqi, a drug addict and illegal immigrant from Pakistan. Obama and Siddiqi would become roommates, living several blocks from the university.
Questions concerning Obama’s "thesis" at Columbia have remained as much of a mystery as his transcripts. On professor during his senior year claims the "thesis" or a paper written by Obama exists but has been lost. Michael Baron a former professor at Columbia’s political science department and an Obama supporter remembers the paper to have been on the topic of Soviet nuclear disarmament. A New York Times article claims his "thesis" was on the North-South debate concerning international trade. The university has said at the time no thesis was necessary for graduation.
Directly after graduating Columbia, Obama joined the corporate world and worked for one year at Business International Corporation as an editor in their business information division. Business International (BI) was a newsletter publishing company assisting businesses operating abroad. Obama discussed his time at Business International in his memoir in which he exaggerates his position at the firm. Co-workers found him to be condescending.
In January, 1984 he joined the New York Public Interest Research Group a government reform organization started by Ralph Nader. Obama became an organizer for City College in Harlem working with student volunteers. He was a campus organizer focused on waste management working to promote recycling instead of incineration of solid materials. He worked for three months in Harlem and moved on to Chicago as an organizer for the Industrial Areas Foundation.
In Chicago he worked as director for the Developing Communities Project, a church-based social action group.
Harvard Law School
After four years in Chicago as a community organizer, Obama entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988. At Harvard he was elected the first Black president of the Harvard Law Review and received his first national recognition. Until the 1970s, the choice of president of Harvard Law Review was based upon grades and achievement. The selection process was changed and entered the arena of politics and popularity to ensure minority participation.
Even for a liberal university like Harvard the choice of Obama was controversial. The student editors of the Review deliberated behind closed doors from 8:30 a.m. until early the next day. Eventually they chose their first Black president of Harvard Law Review making their political statement. They were continuing an affirmative action tradition; Obama as president would be replacing Peter Yu the first Chinese-American president of Harvard Law Review.
Barack Obama never contributed an article to the publication he supposedly edited. Also he failed to become a Federal Appeals Court clerk which would have been routine for any Harvard Law Review president.
From New York, Obama went to Chicago and became a community organizer. Politically he moved in black militant and leftist circles. He joined Trinity United Church of Christ, a radical black power church.
He became a state legislator for Illinois from 1997 to 2004, an office held by former radical Alice Palmer. He won the office with no opposition having his supporters to disqualify others who were on the ballot.
Many of Obama’s successes as a state legislator were pushed by Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. a powerful African-American member of the Illinois Senate who added Obama’s name to proposed legislation. Jones became the “king maker” and prepared Obama for a run at the United States Senate. A record 26 bills were passed giving Obama credit for progressive legislation he would later use to propel himself to higher office. Many of the bills were passed in the final year of Obama’s term as Illinois state legislator.
Later Barack Obama ran for US Congress against former Black Panther Rep. Bobby Rush. Rush would claim Obama was an elitist and not black enough to represent the district. Rush won with a 30 percentage point vote margin.
Barack Obama ran for the U.S. Senate and won the election after several Republican candidates dropped out of the election due to scandals. Obama’s final Republican opponent was Alan Keyes, a Black religious conservative who once suggested Jesus Christ himself would vote against Obama.
Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention while still an Illinois state legislator. He went on to win election to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 with a landslide 70% of the vote in an election year marked by Republican gains.
As a member of the Democratic minority in the 109th Congress, Obama co-sponsored the enactment of conventional weapons control and transparency legislation, and made official trips to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
2008 Presidential election
On February 10, 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States in front of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois. Throughout the campaign, Obama emphasized the issues of rapidly ending the Iraq War, increasing energy independence, and providing universal health care.
During both the primary process and the general election, Obama's campaign set numerous fundraising records, particularly in the quantity of small donations. On June 19, Obama became the first major-party presidential candidate to turn down public financing in the general election since the system was created in 1976.
A large number of candidates initially entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries. After a few initial contests, the field narrowed to a contest between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton, with each winning some states and with the race remaining nearly tied throughout the primary process. On June 3, with all states counted, Obama passed the threshold to become the presumptive nominee. On that day, he gave a victory speech in St. Paul, Minnesota. Clinton suspended her campaign and endorsed him on June 7. From that point on, he campaigned for the general election race against Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee.
On August 23, 2008, Obama selected Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate. At the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, Obama's former rival Hillary Clinton gave a speech in support of Obama's candidacy and later called for Obama to be nominated by acclamation as the Democratic presidential candidate. On August 28, Obama delivered a speech to the 84,000 supporters in Denver. During the speech, which was viewed by over 38 million people worldwide, he accepted his party's nomination and presented his policy goals.
After McCain was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, there were three presidential debates between Obama and McCain in September and October 2008. In November, Obama won the presidency with 53% of the popular vote and a wide electoral college margin.
He was given the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, after being president for only nine months.
Obama ordered military involvement in Libya in opposition to Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by NATO-assisted forces, contributing to the civil war in Libya and mass immigration from and through Libya to Europe. He withdrew American forces from Iraq, but supported the uprising in Syria, contributing to the Syrian Civil War, the rise of ISIS, the invasion of Iraq by ISIS from Syria, and mass immigration from and through Syria and Iraq to Europe.
On May 9, 2012, shortly after the official launch of his campaign for re-election as president, Obama said his views had evolved, and he publicly affirmed his personal support for the legalization of same-sex marriage, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so.
During his second inaugural address on January 21, 2013, Obama became the first U.S. president in office to call for full equality for gays in USA, and the first to mention gay rights or the word "gay" in an inaugural address.
Obama's presidency ended on January 20, 2017, upon the inauguration of his successor, Donald Trump.
He spent much time with celebrities, such as in 2017 on a $300 million yacht with celebrities such as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, and Oprah Winfrey, and in Italy in 2019 with George Clooney.
In 2017 Obama accepted a $400,000 speech backed by Wall Street, something that stunned even many liberals. Despite the criticism over the speech, Obama gave another $400,000 speech shortly afterward.
- Barack Obama birth controversy
- List of Barack Obama's friends and associates
- Barack Obama’s Communist connections
- Frank Marshall Davis
- Sohale Siddiqi
- Dreams from My Father
- Hillary Clinton
- Saul Alinsky
- The Real Obama Legacy, Part 1: Foreign Policy
- Obama’s Fundraising Triumph: Thank The Jews
- The Black Kennedy: But does anyone know the real Barack Obama?
- Obama’s Communist Mentor
- Family photos
- Obama as law professor
- The Obama/Weather Underground connection
- Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States
- The Story of Barack Obama's Mother
- Michelle: barry’s mom was “very young and very single when she had him”
- Secrets of Obama Family Unlocked
- Old photos, new questions about Obama nativity
- Old photos, new questions about Obama nativity
- New doubts revealed in Obama's nativity story
- Tracking Down Obama in Indonesia - Part 3
- The not-so-simple story of Barack Obama's youth
- Punahou left lasting impression on Obama
- Oxy Remembers "Barry" Obama '83
- Did Barack Obama go to Columbia?
- Is (His) Biography (Our) Destiny?
- Barack Obama Embellishes His Resume
- Obama’s Account of New York Years Often Differs From What Others Say
- Becoming Obama: "Frighteningly Coherent" in New York
- Barack Obama's Law Personality
- Obama's women reveal his secret
- First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review
- Obama knows his way around a ballot
- Obama the Screamer
- Obama the Screamer
- The Opportunistic Rise of Barack Obama
- Hobnobbing Obama raking in the cash post-presidency -- while still dabbling in politics
- Barack Obama is probably lying on a beach in a deserted paradise right now
- Good Friday: Obamas Join Winfrey, Springsteen, Hanks on David Geffen’s Yacht
- Jet Setting Obamas Seen Hobnobbing with the Clooneys on Ritzy Lake Como
- Obama spokesman defends reported $400,000 Wall Street-backed speech
- Obama's $400G Wall Street speech leaves liberal base stunned
- Obama reportedly pulls in another $400G for speech