Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States and the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until November 2008, when he resigned following his election to the presidency.
Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the first African American 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 also 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, and 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 Illinois history.
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 candidate John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.
---------As president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act in 2010. Other domestic policy initiatives include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act and the Budget Control Act of 2011. In foreign policy, he ended the war in Iraq, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia, ordered enforcement of the UN-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya, and ordered the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. In April 2011, Obama declared his intention to seek re-election in the 2012 presidential election.
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