Nickname: Barry

Years in office: 2009–2017

Political party: Democratic

Birthday: August 4, 1961

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama

by Robert McCurdy, 2018

Washington Crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutze, 1851 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

When Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president, and the first African American president, he swore the oath of office on this bible. This is the same bible that Abraham Lincoln used when he took his oath of office.

In the election of 2008, Illinois senator Barack Obama faced off against Arizona senator John McCain. Obama campaigned on change, using a grassroots approach to encourage first time voters. McCain portrayed himself as a senator willing to push the envelope in Washington. And, he selected a woman, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, as his running mate. The economy was the hot button issue of the day with mortgage-backed securities causing a major downturn in the financial sector. Obama won with 68% of the electoral votes, becoming the first African-American president.

In 2012, the incumbent, Barack Obama, faced the former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney.  Obama entered election season with the low approval rating of 40%. Compounding this was an 8% unemployment rate. By the end of the campaign, unemployment lowered, and the president gained favor for his response to a terrible natural disaster, Hurricane Sandy. Obama used these successes to win the election, gaining 62% of the electoral votes.


Chicago, IL


Future Site, Chicago, IL


Davis, Kenneth C., and Pedro Martin. Don’t Know Much about the Presidents. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.

DeGregorio, William A., and Aaron Jaffe. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, Inc., 2017.

Kane, Joseph Nathan, and Janet Podell. Facts about the Presidents: A Compilation of Biographical and Historical Information. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2009.


Encyclopedia Britannica, britannica.com

Library of Congress, loc.gov

Miller Center, University of Virginia, millercenter.org/the-presidency

The White House, whitehouse.gov

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