In 2009, Barack Obama won the vote and became the 44th president of the United States! He is the first African American to hold this post, and during his presidency Obama became one of the most beloved leaders in the world. But behind his massive political career, who exactly is ‘Barry’? If you want to know more, keep reading to learn 50 facts about Barack Obama.
Fact 1: Barack Hussein Obama II was only 47 years old when he took up his presidency.
- This made him the 5th youngest president in American history.
Fact 2: Prior to becoming the president, Barack Obama was an American attorney and politician.
- After graduating from Law school, Obama became a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Fact 3: Obama is the 44th president of the United States.
- His term lasted for 8 years from 2009 to 2017.
Fact 4: Aside from being the first African American to be elected president, Barack Obama is also a member of the Democratic Party.
- Obama signed many notable bills into law during his first 2 years in office and was regarded as a centrist New Democrat.
Fact 5: Barack Obama was born on August 4th, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
- This makes him the only U.S. president who was born outside of the 48 contiguous American states.
Fact 6: In 2009, Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
- This was awarded to him for his extraordinary efforts in trying to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.
Fact 7: Before he became president, Barack Obama served as the U.S. senator for Illinois, from 2005 to 2008.
- He also held office as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004.
Fact 8: The main reforms passed during Obama’s term include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a.k.a “Obamacare”.
- It allowed people with pre-existing medical conditions to get preventive care, which in turn reduced the number of hospital visits, and slowed the rise of healthcare costs.
Fact 9: Barack Obama enrolled in Harvard Law School back in 1988, and he became the first black person to head Harvard’s Law Review.
- The Harvard Law Review is generally considered the most widely cited of the student law reviews.
Fact 10: During the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, Obama beat out his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney.
- Obama won a majority of both the popular vote and the Electoral College with a percentage of 51.1% against Romney.
Fact 11: Barack Obama and his family currently reside in Washington, D.C.
- Aside from going back to his civic duties, Barack Obama along with his wife, Michelle, inked a deal with Netflix to produce a set of films and series’ under their new production company, Higher Ground Productions.
Fact 12: Obama became the first U.S. president to officially sanction same-sex marriage.
- After the Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, same-sex marriage was finally legalized in the U.S. in 2015
Fact 13: Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham was of English descent and was born in Wichita, Kansas.
- Barack’s father, Barack Obama Sr, on the other hand, was a Luo Kenyan, from Nyang’oma Kogelo.
Fact 14: Much like his wife Michelle, Obama went on to sign a record-setting book deal with the publisher Penguin Random House, after exiting the White House in 2017.
- His memoir is set for release in 2020.
Fact 15: Barack and his mother moved to the University of Washington in Seattle in August 1961, just a few weeks after he was born.
- His mother then proceeded to complete her undergraduate degree in economics in Hawaii, graduating in June 1962.
Fact 16: Barack’s father only visited him once in Hawaii.
- He only saw his son once at Christmas, 1971, before he was killed in an automobile accident in 1982.
Fact 17: The young Obama started school in St. Francis Pre-Education when he was just 3 years old.
- He then went on to attend local Indonesian-language schools when he was 6 years old.
Fact 18: Barack is fluent in Indonesian, he spent four years in Jakarta, Indonesia, as a child.
- During his stay in Indonesia, Obama’s step-father taught him to be resilient and gave him “a pretty hard-headed assessment of how the world works”
Fact 19: In his youth, Obama went by the nickname “Barry”.
- In fact, Obama was “Barry O’ Bomber” on Hawaii’s Punahou High renowned basketball team.
Fact 20: Obama returned to Honolulu, Hawaii where he finished high school and lived with his maternal grandparents, Madelyn and Stanley.
- His mother and half-sister returned to Indonesia in 1975 so his mother could continue with her anthropology fieldwork.
Fact 21: His Mother passed away in 1995, three years after she earned her PhD.
- She passed away in Hawaii following unsuccessful treatment for ovarian and uterine cancer.
Fact 22: He graduated with a BA degree in 1983 from Columbia University.
- Afterwhich, Barack Obama worked at the Business International Corporation, where he was a financial researcher and writer for about a year.
Fact 23: Obama made his first-ever public speech in February of 1981.
- In his speech, he called for Occidental to participate in the disinvestment from South Africa, in response to that nation’s policy of apartheid.
Fact 24: Barack Obama’s grandmother died just 2 days short of her grandson’s election to presidency.
- Barack’s gran passed away on November 2, 2008.
Fact 25: Obama also has roots in Ireland.
- The president’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, once lived in Moneygall, Ireland.
Fact 26: Barack Obama was a huge fan of football and rooted for the Chicago Bears.
- The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, Illinois.
Fact 27: Obama has a half-sister named Maya Kasandra Soetoro-Ng.
- Soetoro-Ng and Obama grew up together in Indonesia, and in Hawaii, before her mother decided to return to Indonesia with her.
Fact 28: Back in 2011, Obama invited the 1985 Chicago Bears over to the White House.
- The 1985 Chicago Bears team finished a dream season by winning the Super Bowl, 46-10, against the New England Patriots.
Fact 29: Aside from supporting his hometown’s football team, Obama is also an avid fan of the Chicago White Sox.
- In fact, when he was still a senator, Barack Obama threw out the first pitch at the 2005 American League Championship Series.
Fact 30: Before becoming a fan of the Chicago Bears, however, Obama, in his childhood and adolescence was a supporter of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pennsylvania.
Fact 31: Barack Obama is left-handed.
- This made him the eighth U.S. president in history who is known to be left-handed.
Fact 32: In June 1989, Obama met his future wife, Michelle Robinson.
- Michelle is an American lawyer, university administrator, writer, and has been the 44th U.S. president’s spouse since 1992.
Fact 33: When Barack met Michelle, he was still employed as a summer associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin.
- Barack and Michelle Obama tied the knot on October 3, 1992.
Fact 34: Barack and Michelle Obama have 2 daughters named Malia and Natasha.
- Both Obama’s daughters were conceived via IVF, after Michelle had a miscarriage.
Fact 35: The Obamas also have two adorable Portuguese Water Dogs named Bo and Sunny.
- Bo’s cute demeanour has landed him a feature in the comic book Lockjaw, in the Pet Avengers, and on television shows like Late Night with Seth Myers and Ellen.
Fact 36: Barack Obama did struggle with smoking but was finally able to quit his 30-year old habit for his daughters.
- His final motivation aside from his wife, was wanting to be able to look his daughters in the eye and say he did not smoke truthfully.
Fact 37: Barack Obama is a Protestant Christian.
- Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity comprising of 40% of all Christians worldwide. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church.
Fact 38: Obama’s presidency was preceded by George W. Bush.
- Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd U.S. president from 2001 to 2009.
Fact 39: Barack Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump.
- Trump’s presidency started in 2017.
Fact 40: Obama won a Grammy Award for the ‘best-spoken word album,’ for his 2005 narration of his memoir, “Dreams from My Father”.
- The memoir explores the events of Obama’s early years in Honolulu and Chicago, up until his entry into law school in 1988.
Fact 41: Barack Obama won his second Grammy Award for the ‘best-spoken word album’ in 2007.
- This time, it was for the audiobook version of his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope”.
Fact 42: During Obama’s presidency, some detractors claimed that Obama wasn’t an American born citizen of the United States.
- To clear things up, Obama released his birth certificate, proving that he was in fact born in Hawaii.
Fact 43: Obama keeps a wooden hand, holding an egg on his desk.
- The object is a Kenyan symbol representing the fragility of life.
Fact 44: On February 10, 2007, Barack Obama announced that he’d be running for president in the 2008 presidential election.
- He delivered the announcement at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.
Fact 45: After his presidency, Obama began undertaking high-paid speaking engagements which included addresses to Wall Street financial firms.
- He allegedly earns a whopping $400,000 per outing.
Fact 46: Barack Obama held back his criticisms against his successor, Donald Trump, honouring the unwritten tradition of former presidents refraining from saying anything negative about the succeeding administration.
- Obama kept mum even after the Trump administration eradicated Obama’s legacy in the realms of healthcare, immigration, financial regulation and climate change.
Fact 47: In 2010, Obama wrote and published a children’s book entitled “ Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters”.
- The book was a tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans who have shaped America as a nation.
Fact 48: During his initial campaign for the presidency, Obama went up against several well-known names including Hillary Clinton.
- At the end of his second term, Obama openly endorsed Hillary Clinton, and supported her during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Fact 49: In his spare time, Obama often plays Poker and Scrabble.
- He is also a fan of TV shows such as “Game of Thrones”, “Breaking Bad”, “The Wire” and “House of Cards”.
Fact 50: On January 20, 2017, Barack Obama spent his last day as president at the White House.
Following his exit from the White House, Obama took a vacation in Palm Springs, California and announced shortly after that he and his family would remain in Washington, D.C. until his youngest daughter finished high school.