Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th president of the United States. He was elected on Nov. 4, 2008, and sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, becoming the country’s first African-American president.
The son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas, Mr. Obama defeated more experienced candidates with a message of hope and change. The one-term US senator won the Democratic nomination after prevailing in an epic primary battle with then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He went on to defeat Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona with 52.9 percent of the popular vote to Senator McCain's 45.7 percent, and an electoral college margin of 365 to 173.
During Obama’s first year in office, the poor economy dominated much of his agenda. With Congress’s approval, he used a $789 billion stimulus package to pump money into the economy and oversaw a controversial bailout of the financial system. He has stepped up America’s military presence in Afghanistan, while tapering off military actions in Iraq. Obama also made healthcare reform a priority, but has not succeeded in moving it all the way through Congress.
Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Hawaii. He graduated from Columbia University in New York with a degree in political science, in 1983. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991. Prior to becoming president, Obama served eight years in the Illinois state Senate and four years as a US senator from Illinois.
In 2009, Obama became the third US president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
He is married to Michelle Robinson Obama, with whom he has two daughters, Sasha and Malia.
Since cellphones became widely used in Kenya five years ago, they've become the bank card du jour.
As Obama mulls sanctions over Iran's nuclear program, he meets Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House today. Ankara's rising economic ties with Tehran could undercut sanctions.
Damascus sees the move as a concrete indication that Obama is serious about improving ties. The US hopes to use Syrian leverage against Iran and Hezbollah.