Profile Barack Obama


Profile: Barack Obama, incumbent Democratic president

Barack Obama
Barack Obama made history in 2008, when he became the first African-American president of the United States. Shortly after arriving at the White House, Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a $787 billion stimulus package. Upon signing the legislation, Obama said, "We have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time." A cornerstone of Obama's election campaign was his pledge to revamp the nation's health care system; a promise he delivered on in 2010 when the expansive overhaul was signed into law. In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld that landmark legislation. The president also oversaw the end of combat operations in Iraq and announced that by 2014 , the Afghans will be responsible for the security of their own country. Obama gave the order to deploy a team of U.S. Navy SEALS to Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden in May 2011. "Justice has been done," Obama declared after the firefight.
The president also appointed Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court and signed a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.

Age: 51
Education: B.A., Columbia University, 1983; J.D., Harvard University, 1991
Elected office: Illinois State Senate, 1997-2004; U.S. senator for Illinois, 2005-2008
Professional career: Community organizer, attorney
Religion: Christian
Marital status: Married to Michelle Robinson Obama
Children: Malia and Sas

Profile: Barack Obama on the issues

  • Jobs Obama has proposed the $447 billion "American Jobs Act," which failed in Congress. Congress is now attempting to approve elements of the package on a piece-by-piece basis.

  • Taxes Obama signed an extension of the expiring Bush tax cuts through 2013, but wishes to let those tax cuts expire for top earners after that point. He's currently seeking a short-term extension of the payroll tax cut he signed in 2010.

  • Budget Obama most recently proposed a budget plan in September that would reduce the deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years through cuts to discretionary spending and entitlement programs, savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and increased taxes on the wealthiest households.

  • Regulations Not available

  • Entitlement programs Obama has said he's open to reform ideas, but is fundamentally committed to preserving Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

  • Health care reform Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a central legislative initiative of his administration. It seeks to limit the growth of health care costs and create an exchange for individuals to pick a health insurance plan. It requires individuals to have insurance, and guarantees coverage to all despite pre-existing conditions.

  • Foreign policy Obama ended the war in Iraq, and intends to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan eventually, as well. He's called for a two-state solution in the Middle East, and has sought to strengthen relationships with traditional allies.

  • Immigration Obama pushed unsuccessfully for the DREAM Act, which provides a conditional pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were bought to the U.S. as children. He has indicated support for a plan that would offer illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they go through a process in which they learn English, pay a penalty, and undergo the traditional citizenship process.

  • Energy/Environment Obama proposed a clean energy standard requiring that 80% of U.S. energy come from clean sources by 2035. He supports the development of nuclear power and renewable technologies. He's raised fuel efficiency standards and provided subsidies for hybrid vehicles.

  • Abortion Obama supports abortion rights.

  • Same-sex marriage Obama has said he opposes same-sex marriage, but has acknowledged his opinion is "evolving."

  • Climate change He had supported a cap-and-trade system to regulate emissions, which failed in Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency under Obama has taken some action unilaterally to regulate emissions, though those regulations are locked up in litigation.


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