Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Obama served three terms representing the 13th district in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid against the Democratic incumbent for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 2000, he ran for United States Senate in 2004. Several events brought him to national attention during the campaign, including his victory in the March 2004 Democratic primary and his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He won election to the U.S. Senate in Illinois in November 2004. His presidential campaign began in February 2007, and after a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party’s nomination. In the 2008 presidential election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain, and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. In October 2009, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
As president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 in December 2010. Other domestic policy initiatives include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010.
In foreign policy, Obama gradually withdrew combat troops from Iraq, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia, and ordered enforcement of the United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya in early 2011. On May 1, 2011, Obama announced that a small team of American military forces, acting on his direct order, had killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
In April 2011, Obama declared his intention to seek re-election in the 2012 presidential election.
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