On a freezing day in Washington, D.C., Barack Hussein Obama is sworn in as the 44th U.S. The son of a Black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, Obama had become the first African American to win election to the nation’s highest office the previous November.
As the junior U.S. senator from Illinois, he won a tight Democratic primary battle over Senator Hillary Clinton of New York before triumphing over Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate, in the general election. Against a backdrop of the nation’s devastating economic collapse during the start of the Great Recession, Obama’s message of hope and optimism—as embodied by his campaign slogan, “Yes We Can”—struck an inspirational chord with a nation seeking change.
As Inauguration Day dawned, crowds of people thronged the National Mall, stretching from the Capitol Building to beyond the Washington Monument. According to an official estimate made later by the District of Columbia, some 1.8 million people witnessed Obama’s inauguration, surpassing the previous record of 1.2 million, set by the inaugural crowd of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965.
The ceremonies ran behind schedule, and it wasn’t until just before noon that Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. administered the presidential oath of office to the president-elect. While being sworn in, Obama placed his hand on a Bible held by his wife, Michelle—the same Bible used by President Abraham Lincoln at his first inaugural.
Obama opened his inaugural address, which lasted some 20 minutes, by recognizing the challenges facing the nation at the outset of his administration—the worsening economic crisis, ongoing war against radical extremism and terrorism, costly health care, failing schools and a general loss of confidence in America’s promise.
In the face of these obstacles, he offered a message of cautious yet confident optimism. “The challenges we face are real,” Obama declared. “They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America, they will be met.”
Obama referred only briefly to the historic nature of his presidency in his speech, saying near the end that part of America’s greatness was the fact that “a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.”
Instead, he emphasized the theme of civic responsibility that another youthful Democratic president—John F. Kennedy—used to such great effect nearly 50 years earlier, calling on the American people to embrace the challenges they faced in such a difficult period: “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility, a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize grandly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. That is the price and promise of citizenship.”
After the inauguration, Obama attended the traditional inaugural luncheon in Statuary Hall, the original chamber of the House of Representatives. He and Michelle then traveled down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House as part of the 15,000-person inaugural parade, and would attend no fewer than 10 official inaugural balls that evening.
SEE MORE: Photos: Presidential Inaugurations Through History
Political Career of Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II graduated high school with honors in 1979 and was president of the Harvard Law Review long before he ever decided to enter politics.
When he decided he wanted to run for the Illinois Senate in 1996, he ensured his candidacy by successfully challenging the nomination petitions of his four competitors. This marked his entry into politics.
Obama is a summer associate at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin.
Obama graduates from Harvard and returns to Chicago.
In July, Obama—at age 34—publishes his first memoir, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In August, Obama files paperwork to run for incumbent Alice Palmer's Illinois Senate seat.
In January, Obama has his four competitor petitions invalidated he emerges as the only candidate. In November, he is elected to the Illinois Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
Obama begins running for Congress.
Obama loses his challenge for the congressional seat held by Rep. Bobby Rush.
In November, Democrats flipped Republican control of the Illinois Senate.
January 21, 2013
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President Obama delivers his inaugural address, January 21, 2013. (AP Photo)
Barack Obama, the president who publicly swore his second oath of office on the Bibles of Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., used his inaugural address to chart an arc of history from the liberation movements of the sixteenth president&rsquos time through the civil rights movements of a century later to the day on which hundreds of thousands of Americans packed the National Mall to cheer for the promise of an emboldened presidency.
Obama charted that arc in a remarkable soliloquy that spoke of a fundamental America duty to provide &ldquohope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice&rdquo:
Not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice. We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal&mdashis the star that guides us still just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
Obama's references to the honored ground where Americans refused anymore to accept the diminishment of women, of people of color, of lesbians and gays were meaningful. They recognized Dr. King&rsquos recollection at the close of the Selma to Montgomery march that abolitionist Theodore Parker had promised: &ldquoEven though the arc of the moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.&rdquo
With his mentioning of the Stonewall protests, where the gay rights movement took form, Obama went further than any president in the country&rsquos history to complete a circle of inclusion. But Obama, often and appropriately criticized for his caution, did not end on that high note. He went further still.
The president linked the historical reference, the rhetorical flourish, with contemporary struggles over specific issues.
It is now our generation&rsquos task to carry on what those pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.
Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.
That is our generation&rsquos task, to make these works, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.
Amid the poetry, there was a muscular agenda: pay equity, voting rights, immigration reform, gun control. In other sections of the speech, there were specific references to addressing climate change&mdashan issue too long neglected by leaders of both parties&mdashand to renewing a frayed commitment to education. And in others, still, not just to ending wars but to a renewed faith that &ldquoenduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.&rdquo This is a long way from &ldquoswords into ploughshares.&rdquo But it was also a long way from &ldquothe Bush doctine." Perhaps long enough to be an Obama doctrine defined by "the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully&mdashnot because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.&rdquo
And there was more, much more. There was the vital recognition that poverty is a form of oppression&mdashnot a moral failing. &ldquoWe are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal not just in the eyes of God but also in our own,&rdquo said Obama. A beautiful statement, yes. Significantly, in a time of debate about the future of governing commitment to those whose dreams have been so long deferred, Obama completed the arc from FDR and LBJ to today, not just mentioning but defending Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.
But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.
For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative.
They strengthen us.
They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.
That last line recalled the &ldquomakers versus takers&rdquo language of Congressional Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who as his party&rsquos presidential nominee suggested that the 2012 election was in many senses a battle between an imagined majority and a dismissed 47 percent.
As it happened, Ryan and Mitt Romney won just 47 percent of the vote on November 6. Barack Obama and Joe Biden won 51 percent, and with it a mandate that Obama seems willing finally to embrace. The Barack Obama who began his first term as a remarkably popular figure who seemed almost overwhelmed by the challenges left over from the failed president of George W. Bush begins his second term as a confident leader who knows well that he made mistakes of strategy and position in his first term and who is determine this time to chart a different course.
Will Obama disappoint in this second term? Yes. Will he need to be poked and prodded, chastised and challenged by Americans who demand that the progressive language of his inaugural address be&mdashin Obama&rsquos words&mdash&ldquomade real&rdquo? Absolutely. More so now than ever.
But with this inaugural address President Obama has offered an indication that he heard the American people on November 6. They were not re-electing him merely because they liked him as a man. They were re-electing him to dispense with the fantasy&mdashentertained not just by Republicans but by too many Democrats&mdashthat &ldquofreedom is reserved for the lucky or happiness for the few.&rdquo And to complete the journey from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall and to the place of economic justice where every citizen has that basic measure of security and dignity that can and must be America&rsquos promise.
For more commentary on the presidential inauguration, read Michelle Dean's take on the politics of Michelle Obama's fashion.
Obama’s Inauguration: Pressing Pause to Mark History
Associated PressPresident-elect Barack Obama Today, of course, is inauguration day, when Barack Obama is sworn into office as our nation's 44th president and the first African-American to lead our country. Hundreds of thousands of people, including those who didn't support Mr. Obama's election bid, have streamed into Washington, DC to witness this event, while millions more are watching the coverage on television. Meanwhile, a number of schools have integrated this singular inauguration day into their curricula. Some are using Mr. Obama's election (and the inauguration's timing right after Martin Luther King Day) as a springboard to discuss our country's racial history, civil rights struggles or current race relations. Some commentators wonder whether children should even be in school at all today. On the Web site Babble.com, there's an essay debating journalist Linda Ellerbee's proposal that kids should skip school to watch the inauguration: "Missing school to stay home and watch the parades and the swearing in is just as good or better than any history or civics lesson your kids might get in the classroom that day," the essay quotes Ms. Ellerbee as saying. As we whisk through our busy daily lives, it's hard to press pause to mark a day as historic. (History usually comes in hindsightit's rare that a single day or event is actually considered historic at the time.) In my lifetime, there are just a couple of days that are remembered as truly historic, but they are all days marred by tragedy, rather than joy or achievement: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and before that, the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion.Readers, regardless of your political affiliations, have you or your children taken time out of your juggles to mark this historic inauguration day and election? (Please try to keep your comments juggle-focused, rather than political. The election season was long enough. )
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FACTS, FIRSTS, AND PRECEDENTS
Largest attendance of any event in the history of Washington, D.C. Largest attendance of any Presidential Inauguration in U.S. history First African American to hold the office of President of the United States First citizen born in Hawaii to hold the office Highest viewership ever of the Swearing-In Ceremonies on the Internet First woman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to emcee the Ceremony First Inaugural webcast to include captioning First Swearing-In Ceremony to include an audio description.
Obama had a secret note in his pocket during his inauguration in case of an attack
The night before Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009, he quietly excused himself from dinner with his family at Blair House to receive a military briefing about the nuclear football — the briefcase containing nuclear launch codes that goes wherever the president does.
“One of the military aides responsible for carrying the football explained the protocols as calmly and methodically as someone might describe how to program a DVR,” Obama wrote in his recent memoir. “The subtext was obvious. I would soon be vested with the authority to blow up the world.”
But at that moment, the man about to make history as the nation’s first Black president was deeply worried someone would try to blow him up.
All inaugurations are, in the lingo of security experts, high-value targets for attack. In President-elect Joe Biden’s case, Washington has been transformed into a security fortress because of concern that the right-wing extremists who attacked the Capitol earlier this month will return to wreak havoc, or worse, on the inauguration.
For Obama, the country was still dealing with international terrorism threats in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the days before his swearing-in, President George W. Bush’s national security team warned Obama that there was credible intelligence about a planned attack on the inauguration by Somali terrorists.
Obama’s team, including incoming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, scrambled into action, meeting in the White House Situation Room with Bush’s advisers, according to a New York Times account of the events. The image of the Capitol or the Mall being attacked while Obama was being sworn in would, even if he wasn’t hurt, be catastrophic for the country.
“Is the Secret Service going to whisk him off the podium so the American people see their incoming president disappear in the middle of the inaugural address?” Clinton asked, according to the Times. “I don’t think so.”
Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s sometimes-volatile incoming chief of staff, called David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, on his cellphone.
“Can you call me back right away from a hard line?” Axelrod recalled Emanuel as saying this week for CNN, where he is now a political commentator.
“Rahm sounded a bit agitated, which wasn’t entirely unusual,” Axelrod continued. “But the fact that he was asking me to call from a landline rather than my cellphone was a tip-off that something was amiss.”
“I’m going to tell you something you can’t share with anyone,” Emanuel told Axelrod. “There is a serious threat on the inauguration.”
Emanuel was working on a contingency plan in case of an attack during the ceremony. Obama would need to instruct people how to evacuate and project calm. Emanuel wanted Obama to have a prepared statement to read, but the threat was a closely held secret. Obama had not even told his wife, Michelle.
“I can’t read the speechwriters into this, so I want you to write a brief statement for the President-elect,” Emanuel told Axelrod. “Meet him right before the ceremony in the Speaker’s office and give it to him. He’ll put it in his pocket in case it’s needed.”
10 Historians on What Will Be Said About President Obama's Legacy
As President Barack Obama wound down his eight years in the White House and President Donald Trump took office, TIME History asked a variety of experts to weigh in on a question: How do you think historians of the future will talk about on his time in Office? Where will he fit in the ranks of presidents past?
While all agreed that his presidency was historic&mdashand that there’s a lot we can’t know until time passes&mdashopinions differed on what his most lasting legacy will be. Below is a selection of the answers they submitted by email and phone:
Laura Belmonte, head of the history department at Oklahoma State University and a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Historical Advisory Committee on Diplomatic Documentation:
Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama&rsquos extraordinary capacity to tap people&rsquos deepest aspirations collided with domestic political divides that severely limited his ability to build an enduring legislative program comparable to the New Deal, the Great Society, or the Reagan revolution.
Historians&rsquo assessment of Obama&rsquos presidency will be mixed. While he will be lauded for guiding the nation off the precipice of a global economic catastrophe and for extricating America from two protracted, inconclusive wars, Obama&rsquos aggressive use of executive power in the face of congressional obstruction imperils his biggest achievements in restructuring health care and the financial sector, immigration reform, environmental protections, labor policy and LGBT rights. Expansive executive actions also undergird more troubling aspects of his presidency such as drone warfare, deportations and domestic surveillance. His successors inherit an emboldened regulatory state that can be used to dismantle or weaken Obama&rsquos initiatives&mdasha reality that underscores the fragility of Obama&rsquos political legacy.
H.W. Brands, professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin:
The single undeniable aspect of Obama’s legacy is that he demonstrated that a black man can become president of the United States. This accomplishment will inform the first line in his obituary and will earn him assured mention in every American history textbook written from now to eternity.
For all else, it’s too soon to tell.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and author of bestselling biographies:
In the near-term, he brought stability to the economy, to the job market, to the housing market, to the auto industry and to the banks. That’s what he&rsquos handing over: an economy that is in far better form than it was when he took over. And you can also say he’ll be remembered for his dignity, grace, and the lack of scandal. And then the question is in the longer term what have you left for the future that will be remembered by historians years from now. Some of that will depend on what happens to health care.
People will see enormous progress in the lives of gay people, and a president helps sometimes those cultural changes take place or at least he gets credit when it happens. In terms of foreign policy, he ended combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. How did that affect the Middle East? That’s something the future will have to figure out. And I suspect one of the signature international agreements was the climate change agreement in Paris, which would be a marker perhaps of the first time the world really took action together to slow climate change. The question will be what happens to that agreement now again under Trump.
Syria will probably be a problem for him. He himself told me, when I interviewed him, that that was the decision that haunted him the most&mdashnot that he had had two decisions and made the wrong one, but he said maybe there was some other decision out there that he didn&rsquot have the imagination or the inventiveness to figure out.
James Grossman, executive director of the American Historical Association:
Ranking presidents requires a certain amount of hubris, if not arrogance. I take seriously historian E.P. Thompson&rsquos admonition about &ldquothe enormous condescension of posterity,&rdquo knowing that our political principles and moral certainties will seem less obvious to scholars of future generations. So I approach this assignment with the same trepidation that I had when I commented the morning after Election Day 2008 on the &ldquohistoric significance&rdquo of that election. It remains tempting to paint Barack Obama&rsquos election as a step toward healing the nation&rsquos great wound of racism, even if not the expiation of what George W. Bush referred to as our &ldquooriginal sin&rdquo of slavery at the opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
It didn&rsquot happen. Obama&rsquos election ironically had the opposite effect. The President&rsquos opponents questioned his legitimacy from the beginning. The leader of the opposing party declared that the highest priority&mdashmore important than the public good&mdashwas to make sure Obama would not be reelected. This imperative failed, but the racism that runs so deep in American culture was unleashed as it had not been for two generations. The bandages have been ripped off the sores, which are now open and festering in public culture.
Was Obama then a failure? No. American public culture has failed. We were not ready for a black president. He cedes power on Friday to the very people who questioned his legitimacy and denied him the right to govern. They have already begun to demolish his accomplishments. But historians eventually will also calculate the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, look back on the results of the opening to Cuba, appreciate his admittedly belated environmental activism, and notice that his Administration was virtually scandal free.
Lori Cox Han, professor of political science at Chapman University:
Presidential legacies can be complicated and nuanced, yet simple when it comes to the basics: Win two terms in office, get big things done on your policy agenda, and keep your party in power. Barack Obama accomplished the first, with impressive wins in 2008 and 2012 based on an optimistic message of &ldquohope and change.&rdquo Obama&rsquos strategy on the campaign trail brought together a diverse coalition of voters that suggested a dramatic shift in public policy priorities. Yet, the Democratic dominance was short-lived. As Obama leaves office, the Republican Party is stronger than it has been since 1928 and will control the White House, both houses of Congress, a large majority of governorships and state legislative houses. Time will tell how long Republicans can hold this majority, but the GOP is nonetheless poised to undo many of Obama&rsquos accomplishments. The irony is that Obama leaves office with a solid approval rating and more popular than President-elect Donald Trump. Unfortunately, Obama&rsquos personal popularity could not transform the hyper-partisan environment that dominates so much of our political process.
Timothy Naftali, Clinical Associate Professor of History and Public Service at New York University and former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum:
President Obama, with laser-like focus, tried to change the way we thought about what our government does for us at home and what it does abroad. In so doing, he strengthened and broadened the social safety net and redefined the American engagement with the world. We will see in the coming years what the American people want to preserve of those changes. One thing we don&rsquot have to wait to conclude is that President Obama avoided the second-term curse that afflicted too many modern presidents. He&rsquoll leave office scandal-free. That&rsquos a key part of the Obama legacy because of his presidency’s unusual symbolic importance. President Obama, by virtue of being elected, had already secured the first sentence in any future historical account of his life: &ldquoHe was the first African-American president.&rdquo And then as president he showed his determination to be more that a breaker of barriers. Nevertheless it is impossible to exaggerate the importance of that single achievement, and the care he took to leave it untarnished, and for that we don&rsquot have to await the verdict of history.
The other thing I might add is that President Obama is among those presidents most aware of history. I look forward to reading what he has to say about his legacy.
Barbara A. Perry, Director of Presidential Studies and Co-Chair of the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia&rsquos Miller Center:
Obama&rsquos most lasting policy legacy will be saving the American economy from the &ldquoGreat Recession.” As he entered office, the U.S. financial structure was in free fall, nearly bringing the nation&rsquos banking, investment and credit systems to a halt. The “misery index&rdquo (unemployment plus inflation rates) soared to almost 13% in 2009. President Obama righted the ship through a stimulus package (including infrastructure improvements), expanded relief of failing banks and investment firms, and the bailout of the American auto industry. The &ldquomisery index&rdquo has been cut in half (6.29%) as he completes his two terms, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had sunk to 6,000 in 2009, is now just shy of 20,000.
Moreover, nothing can ever repeal the landmark election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first African American president. The dignity and grace that he and his family brought to the White House will constitute his most enduring legacy.
Katherine A.S. Sibley, professor of History and director of the American Studies Program at St. Joseph&rsquos University.
As our first African-American president, re-elected by wide margins, Barack Obama&rsquos ascent into office was path-breaking. Though many profess their ironic sense that race relations have become more fraught during his tenure, it was Obama who provided the opening for a long-needed national conversation on this topic&mdasha conversation he started in 2008 in Philadelphia where he spoke of a &ldquoracial stalemate&rdquo that &ldquoreflected the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through.&rdquo
I find him reflecting in some ways both John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Obama&rsquos relative youth and the inspiring hope for change his often-soaring rhetoric has offered certainly echo Kennedy&rsquos attributes further comparisons may be seen in legislation from healthcare to civil rights. In addition, both had First Ladies who were significant assets to their administrations. But President Obama&rsquos often incremental and pragmatic approach, as well as his habit of borrowing from the opposing party&rsquos policies, also show him to resemble Eisenhower. In contrast to both of those predecessors, however, he had to deal with a starkly oppositional Congress bent on undermining his agenda, and that situation has certainly affected his initiatives.
Nikhil Pal Singh, Associate Professor in the Departments of Social and Cultural Analysis and History at New York University:
Barack Obama became President after years of attritional warfare, and in the midst of a financial crisis that posed systemic risks to the U.S. and world economy. In the face of these obstacles, he avoided scandal, faced down right-wing brinksmanship, refused to debase common political discourse and achieved a measure of success in areas of foreign and domestic policy, including economic recovery, the Iran nuclear deal and the expansion of health insurance provision. The significance of Obama&rsquos standing as the nation’s first black chief executive should never be dismissed. Though racial inequality and racist animus persists, Obama&rsquos success signals longer-term normative and generational shifts favorable to displacing the long historical precedence of white racial nationalism in American life. But, with respect to other pressing issues&mdashreducing widening economic inequality, moving beyond overly militarized approaches to foreign policy and confronting the ecological damage of climate change&mdashObama made only marginal, even negligible gains, and did not achieve the progressive, political breakthrough he promised. His soaring oratory and dignified bearing will be fondly remembered for its vision of a more perfect union&mdashone that President Obama was decidedly unable to deliver.
Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University:
In terms of legislation, Obama achieved some big things: health care, the economic stimulus, financial regulation and more. Those are big changes in what government does and the kinds of activities it undertakes. He expanded the social contract. Taking it all together, in a polarized era, that&rsquos a pretty substantial record. After 2010, he used executive power to move forward on immigration policy, climate change and a historic nuclear deal with Iran. The question is, does it last? We just don&rsquot know that. His legacy is also leaving the Democratic Party in pretty bad shape, so that puts his legacy at even greater risk. He&rsquos not like FDR&mdashFDR accomplished a lot in policy but he left the party in a strong position by the time that his presidency ended. He&rsquos more like Lyndon Johnson in that he got a lot of things on the books but his party might have been in weaker condition when he left office than when he started.
Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States, the first African American to hold the office. He served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
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 in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. His victory, from a crowded field, in the March 2004 Democratic primary raised his visibility. His prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 made him a rising star nationally in the Democratic Party. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2004 by the largest margin in the history of Illinois.
He began his run for the presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination, becoming the first major party African American candidate for president. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. Obama was re-elected president in November of 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2013.
Alternate versions of Obama have been found throughout the multiverse, some where he was still elected president, others where he is not, and some that are completely different:
- Barack Obama, 44th Prime Minister of the North American Union (Albany Congress)
- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States (An Independent in 2000)
- Barack Obama, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Hawaii (Cinco De Mayo)
- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America (Great Empires)
- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States (King of America)
- Barack Obama, 46th President of the United States (Myers Way)
- Barack Obama, Minister of Finance in the French Empire (Nelson's Death)
- Barack Obama, President of the American Union (New America)
- Barack Obama, 1st Earl Obama and British Ambassador to Sweden (Oldenburg Sweden)
- Barack Obama, 34th President of the Republic of California (Pax Columbia)
- Barack Obama, Senior US Senator from Illinois (President Delay)
- Barack Obama, Junior US Senator from Illinois and front runner for 2012 Democratic nomination (President McCain)
- Barack Obama, Prominent lawyer during the Second Red Scare (President Welles)
- Barack Obama, 45th President of the United States (Progressive Success)
- Barack Obama, 4th President of the American Federation (Red Victory)
- Baraccus Obamacus, President of Ethiokenya (Rome Endures)
- Barack Obama, Junior US Senator from Illinois and the 2008 Democratic nominee (SIADD)
- Barack Obama, 4th Secretary-General of the United Communities on the Moon (Space Race Didn't End)
Very probably it refers to an entity that appears on several timelines.
President Barack Obama
WASHINGTON -- On a day rich in history, Barack Obama took office Tuesday as the 44th president of the U.S., urging Americans to stand together amid the "gathering clouds and raging storms" of war and recession.
The inauguration of the first African-American to lead the world's most powerful country drew a crowd of well over one million to the National Mall here. In his 18-minute address, Mr. Obama called on Americans to return to the values of "hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity" that have seen the country through past crises.
With Mr. Obama's first day on the job scarcely begun, the financial uncertainty facing his presidency made itself felt. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4%, its worst inauguration-day performance in history, amid fresh signs of trouble among the nation's banks.
At exactly noon, by law, Mr. Obama became president. Placing his hand on a Bible once used by Abraham Lincoln, he took the oath using his full name, Barack Hussein Obama -- a moment that stood in contrast to episodes on the long campaign trail in which detractors would occasionally stress his middle name in a derogatory way.
Mr. Obama acknowledged the significance of his rise to power for a nation where race has long been a highly charged subtext. He linked his family's immigrant past -- his father, who hailed from Kenya, once herded goats -- to the legacy of segregation experienced by many of the thousands of African-Americans who came from around the country to witness his inauguration.
A look back: How McCollum HS students helped KSAT cover the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama
As the country gears up for Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, we’re republishing a cache of blog posts (remember those?) and photos from the 2009 inauguration.
The past coverage is not only a blast from the past, but timely because of KSAT’s coverage plans for the 2021 inauguration.
A group of digital journalists from La Prensa Texas, some of whom KSAT followed on their trip to the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, are heading to DC to help KSAT cover the historic event next Wednesday.
Below, you can relive some of their first-hand experience from 2009.
Witness to History (oh, how I’m jealous!)
Students these days always amaze me (I hesitate to call them kids, because there’s nothing childish about the teenagers of whom I write – as you will soon learn)!
Just yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting three people – a young women and two young men – who are about to join millions of people in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of Barack Obama (an event hereafter referred to as Obama-Palooza). I am so excited for them!! I’ve never been to an inauguration, and here they are, about to be part of it all! But attending the inauguration isn’t what separates them from the pack – millions will be jamming into Washington, D.C., alongside them to witness, revel and participate in Obama-Palooza. Their motivation, their hard work, their enthusiasm – it’s infectious, and that’s what I admire. Admittedly, I was not nearly so forward-thinking when I was their age. Secretly, I crave it for myself, for my family and for my friends (okay, not so secretly… hence the whole blog-on-the-internet-for-all-to-see thing).
Juany Torres, Roy Aguillon and Chris Cantu are all students at McCollum High School – part of the Harlandale ISD. They are smart, interesting, motivated and willing to work for what they want.
Shouldn’t we all be so inclined?
They worked hard to raise the money to pay for their trips to Washington, DC – and earned invitations to the Inauguration from U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. As a woman who’s been doing this news thing for awhile… they seem to me – what is the word?
None of those descriptions seem enough. Not nearly enough. Chris, Juany and Roy seem to believe that anything is possible. Anything is theirs for the taking. Anything can happen with hard work, determination, good fortune, and a willingness to dig in and get involved. Of course, I desperately want to believe they’re right. They deserve to be right. I vaguely remember feeling that way a long time ago, perhaps when I was their age. But, only once did I feel COMPELLED to act on it.
So, here we all are… on the eve of something I believe is really exciting. This is big time. There is serious business to be done here. Even if you don’t buy into the Obama-Biden promise. Even if you didn’t vote at all – this is our time to act.
This is our time to be compelled.
This is our time to walk the walk.
And so, we are delighted to have three young explorers there to help us navigate through the first few moments of this time. Chris, Roy and Juany are jetting off to Washington, D.C., – armed with video cameras and laptops – ready to share their experience share their excitement. They’ll be touring the city, attending the events and witnessing the history.
Roy Aguillon’s 1st impressions of his Washington, DC Trip
This is the first installment of Roy Aguillon’s blog of his trip to Washington, DC to witness the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Roy is one of the three students from McCollum High School who we are following on their journey. Here is his first entry:
Today we arrived in Washington, DC and the first stop on our trip was the United States Capitol.
I couldn’t help but get goosebumps as we walked down the hallways of that historic building while I walked a sense of history began to surround me. I could picture some of the greats like Daniel Webster or Robert Kennedy pacing the hallways and looking for the answer to some of our nation’s most pressing problems. To step where some of our nation’s most valued leaders once stepped was truly an honor.
Even right now at the start of my journey I can’t help but remember those who helped me get here. Because I am in no position financially to be going on trips across the country, I had to depend on my community to support me, and boy, they sure did! Every aspect of the community helped us in every way they could – from small businesses like Jasmine Engineering, or community groups like the Mission Democrats, the River Worship Center Christian Church, and the San Antonio Progressive Action Committee – they all gave what they could. But what touched me the most was the individual donors who helped us get here, with everything from $1 to $100, they gave so that we could witness this truly historic moment when our nation will receive its first African-American President.
Thank you to everyone who helped us get here and Thank You KSAT 12 for giving us the tremendous opportunity to record and report on our journey though this truly historic moment.
Chris and Roy’s D.C. Adventure
The following are the latest two blog entries from McCollum High School students Chris Cantu and Roy Aguillon. They, along with classmate Juany Torres, have traveled to Washington, D.C., to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama.
Roy: Today was a wonderful day, although it got all the way down to 6 degrees, we somehow made it. We met some interesting figures on our second day here in Washington D.C.
For example, today we met a gentlemen who registered over 2,000 new voters! We also met a restaurant owner who was so inspired by President-Elect Obama that he made and named a burger after the President-Elect. The people around here are excited about the transition of power, and according to a number of the locals, this kind of preparation for an inauguration is unprecedented.
It’s pretty easy to see the evidence of that all around us as we drove past the gated off Swearing-In Ceremony area, Chris and I counted well over 400 portable restrooms in one area alone! Tonight we’re off to the Lincoln Memorial, An Inauguration party that’s headlined by The Common, and a tattoo shop that offers the face of the President-Elect as one of its tattoo options. We hope to bring you more of our original perspective on all the Inaugural events in the days to follow so keep tuning in to KSAT or checking our video/text blog on the KSAT website to see what happens next. That’s my blog for today Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.
Chris: Today was the first day we were officially on our own in the downtown area. We first went walking to the Nation’s Capital to see the wonderful monument. While we were walking there it was freezing! The temperature was in the single digits, lower than San Antonio has ever had in my lifetime. Bundled up in layers of clothes, all I could think of is how crazy this it that I’m actually in Washington D.C.
I want to THANK everybody who made it possible for me to be here. It’s simple amazing that I’m able to be here and witness history all because of a little luck and a BIG help from my supporters. Roy and I want to thank all of our school board members including our superintendent, Robert Jacklich, and our principal, Diana Casas ‚for letting us have the opportunity to be here. I also want to thank all the people who have contributed to me financially Shawn McCormick from Summit HME including many of the employees, Escamilla & Poneck, and every one else who donated from family members to friends, I truly couldn’t do it without y’all.
It was great, we went to Library of Congress and explored our nation’s documents and learned more about our countries history. After that we took some shoots from the capital to send to KSAT. But the day still ain’t over, next we are going to an inauguration party, Lincoln Memorial, and many more. We’ll make sure to take our camera to record our events. That was my evening, I’ll post more blogs as the trip progresses. Thanks for reading!
SAPD Officer Marcus Trujillo’s Washington, DC Journal
SAPD Officer Marcus Trujillo is in Washington, DC along with 59 other SAPD Officers, who are providing security for this week’s Inauguration Festivities.
Here are his initial observations from our nation’s capital:
In San Antonio…it was a 45 minute wait to get to the ticket counter, then we went through multiple security checks. We arrived at the airport at 4am we boarded the plane at 5:40am.
Arrived at Hotel in Bethesda, checked in and headed for D.C.
Lots of walking around (5 1/2 hrs), tons of people once you get close to the Washington Monument, White House etc.
Once the sun went down,it was like someone opened a floodgate of people walking everywhere…dinner was at a hotdog stand….every restaurant we passed had people standing in line outside waiting to be seated (Average 1-1.5 hr wait).
We headed up to the room to change into uniform, then we boarded a bus that took us to
our briefing / orientation / swearing in…should be done by 5:00pm our time.
Tomorrow we have heard we need to be on our post (on the street) by 0400hrs (4am).
Juany Torres’ First Blog Post From D.C.
Juany Torres is one of the students from McCollum High School who traveled to Washington, DC for the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama. Here is her first observations from Washington, DC.
Wow! My first day in Washington, DC has been unbelievable.
Arriving from Union Station last night was amazing. They had a platform and red, white, and blue balloons everywhere awaiting Obama’s train ride arrival.
The first thing you see when walking outside is our United States Capitol.
It was unbelivable and very emotional I could not contain my tears. My dream was coming true. I was picked up and given a tour of the city. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon, I saw it all. It was wow, crazy!
Today I went to look at even more memorials and historic monuments. I also had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Museum.
Washington, DC is getting more packed by the minute and streets and freeways are starting to get closed down. The temperatures are getting colder than they have been all year but its is an unforgettable experience.
Tomorrow I will be going to the Latino Inaugural Gala where I will meet with George Lopez, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Eva Longoria, Paulina Rubio and many more of these great LATINO celebrities. It is said Obama might even show up! I cant wait!
Stay tuned to KSAT because I will try to send as much video coverage as possible! Wish me luck!
More adventures from McCollum HS Students in Washington, DC
Today was by far the craziest day we’ve had. Yesterday was kind of a bust so last night Chris and I agreed to make today the best it could possibly be and we sure did.
Starting this morning we went to a local restaurant called the Hawk and Dove and it was fantastic there. After that Chris and I decided we would go to the Lincoln Memorial to do some sight seeing we took a taxi there and when we arrived it was gated-off, however the taxi driver did some slick trickery and got us in. Then Chris and I walked around and after awhile we realized we were very lucky to be inside that gated area. Everyone else had passes but not Chris or I we were just walking and recording.
We got on the same stage where the “House Choir” sang and we somehow found our way into their formation, however they found out that we were not part of the choir. We wondered what gave it away and when we stepped back we realized it was an all black choir and we stuck out like sore thumbs.
After that we went to the Georgetown Park Mall and looked for some souvenirs, but while we were shopping an emergency alarm went off, all the doors closed and security guards started running all around us. While Chris and I shoved though the crowd to get out of the building, other folks were coming back in. After awhile we realized it was just a drill so we relaxed and kept walking around the mall. We discovered a nice art gallery that was entirely devoted to the President-Elect – it was really neat. There was everything from paintings that morphed Obama’s face into Lincoln’s, to pieces of junk metal welded together to make the image of Obama’s face.
We went to a Youth Ball, which was delightful they had food from all around the world there – it was strange but cool.
Once the clock struck 9 we had to leave to another ball and that one was wonderful. It was the Green Ball and everything there was entirely environmentally friendly the lights used 60% less energy and some of the dresses and coats were made entirely of recycled materials. They had the singer Wyclef Jean there to entertain the crowd and during his encore performance the singer pulled me on stage and I had a blast up there!
Chris and I finally went our separate ways after that event he went to the hotel and I joined my friends from North Carolina as they went to a Young and Powerful party. I arrived at the hotel at around 3am and that was my day.
Today was a very slow day for me. I stayed home and rested up for tomorrow. But I did go out once Chris and I took the subway to go have dinner in downtown D.C.
There was one thing that I saw today that really made me think. On the subway we sat by some very nice African-American ladies and when they talked about Barack their eyes lit up and you could see that hope had been restored in their hearts because they had found their leader. It was beautiful.
Then I started to think if there has already been plenty of Caucasians in the White House and now an African-American is about to live in the most famous house in the world, it seems as though perhaps our turn is next. As we await for the next leader in the Latino community to arise it is my belief that we – the young Latinos of this community like myself – must start to change the way we do things. We must start taking education seriously. Our ethnic group has the highest dropout rate in the nation let us start by staying in school and off the streets. We must as young men hold ourselves to a higher standard we have got to start respecting the young women of our community stop trying to be little pimps and start being young gentlemen. Our ethnic group has the highest pregnancy rates in the nation and that is unacceptable. But there is also something amazing about us as Latinos – we have endured years of being secondhand citizens, we have overcome almost every obstacle that has come in our way, and we have silenced every critic who has tried to tell us we could not accomplish what we have already determined we would. Our time is coming and our moment is fast approaching – we are soon to be the largest minority group in the nation, but before that day comes let us begin to prepare by changing our behaviors and attitudes. Cesar Chavez and other Latino leader like him have taken us to the mountaintop, but now it is up to us to find a way to enter into the promised land.