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Barack Obama - 44th US Presidency Retrospective

Various Photographers

 

On 04 November 2008, then Democratic Senator Barack Obama (Illinois), at age 47, rode to victory on a message of hope and change. He won 365 electoral votes and nearly 53 of the popular vote in a wider-than-expected margin of victory over Republican Senator John McCain. He became the 44th president of the United States of America and the first African-American to be elected to this office.

 

Expectations were high. President Obama was hailed as a progressive politician and became the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate just nine months after his inauguration. However, he faced his share of challenges during his 8-year tenure. When he took office, the country was suffering from the worst recession in living memory and he faced fierce opposition from Republicans who held control of the Senate.

 

His administration is generally known for pushing the agenda on policies such as gun control, greater inclusiveness for LGBT Americans, signing the Paris climate accord and a health care program dubbed ‘Obamacare’. It is also known for being a driving force behind a series of historic initiatives in international relations such as a nuclear deal with Iran and normalized relations with Cuba. Criticisms include his administration’s large scale use of drones to kill terrorist suspects outside of traditional battlefields.

 

In visual culture, President Obama is an iconic figure known for his willingness to be open and playful in front of the cameras. The world has come to know his photogenic family, his obviously warm relationship with Vice President Joe Biden and his willingness to cast aside formality and play with youngsters on the floor of the Oval Office.