Barack Obama

President Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States, in office from 2009 to 2017. Obama was preceded by George W. Bush and succeeded by Donald Trump. He and his wife, Michelle, are parents to daughters Malia and Sasha. Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4, 1961 to a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas. Obama was educated in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Hawaii, going on to continue his education at Occidental College in Los Angeles and Columbia University in New York City. 2008 presidential campaign Prior to Obama's successful 2008 presidential campaign, Obama served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997 until 2004, when he was elected to the US Senate. He served in the Senate until November 2008. On February 10, 2007, Obama announced that he would run for the presidency, running on a campaign of hope and change and featuring policies including the ending of the Iraq War, energy and independence and reforming health care. Following a duel between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination, the latter withdrew from the primaries in June 2008 and endorsed Obama. Alongside vice presidential running mate Joe Biden, Obama competed against Republican candidate John McCain for the presidency. On November 4, 2008, Obama defeated McCain by 365 electoral votes to 173 to become the first African American president in US history. Obama's first term as president Obama was sworn in as president on January 20, 2009. His first term was dominated by policies regarding the end of the Iraq War, closure of Guantanamo Bay, healthcare reform, LGBT rights and energy policy. In a key speech at Cairo University on June 4 2009, Obama called for a "New Beginning" in relations between the Islamic world and the US. During his first term, Obama increased military aid to Israel, including the funding of Israel's Iron Dome missile defense program, but also maintained a strict approach regarding settlement construction. Obama's second term as president Obama was re-elected president for a second term in November 2012, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney and becoming the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win the majority of the popular vote on two occasions. On January 20, 2013, he was sworn in to office for a second time. The start of Obama's second term was marked by a proposed overhaul of American gun control following a mass shooting in Newtown, in which 26 were killed. The attempts were blocked by the Senate. Domestically, Obama is primarily remembered for healthcare reform and LGBT rights. The key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, came into effect in 2014. By 2016, the number of uninsured Americans had been halved. Repealing the act has been a key policy of Obama's successor Donald Trump. On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court recognized the right to same-sex marriage nationwide, making it legal in all states and most U.S. territories. By June 2016, approximately 1 million Americans were in same-sex marriages, a rise of 33% following the Supreme Court decision. Foreign policy legacy Obama's foreign policy legacy soon came under attack following the accession of Donald Trump to the US presidency. In December 2014, Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced the beginning of the "Cuban thaw," a process of normalizing relations between the US and Cuba. Obama became the first US President to visit Cuba since 1928. Trump announced in June 2017 that he was "cancelling" Obama's agreements with Cuba, although he did state his willingness for a new deal to be negotiated. In the Middle East, the rise of ISIS and the failure to insist on "red lines" in the Syrian Civil War have left stains on Obama's foreign policy, but it was the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's nuclear program that was the cause of considerable tension in the region, particularly between Israel and the US. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fiercely opposed the nuclear agreement, continuing to do so until today. Critics argue that the deal, involving sanction relief for the cessation of nuclear weapon development, does not sufficiently tackle Iran's nuclear program and fails to challenge Iran's wider activity in destabilizing the Middle East. In January 2018, Trump gave European allies a 120-day deadline to "fix" the Iran nuclear deal. If left unfixed, Trump threatened US withdrawal from the Iran deal.
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