Presidency of Barack Obama

Barack Obama's tenure as the 44th president of the United States began with his first inauguration on January 20, 2009, and ended on January 20, 2017. Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, took office following a decisive victory over Republican nominee John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Four years later, in the 2012 presidential election, he defeated Republican nominee Mitt Romney to win re-election. Obama was succeeded by Republican Donald Trump, who won the 2016 presidential election. He was the first African American president, the first multiracial president, the first non-white president, and the first president to have been born in Hawaii.

Presidency of Barack Obama
January 20, 2009  January 20, 2017
CabinetSee list
PartyDemocratic
Election
SeatWhite House

Archived website
Library website

Obama's first-term actions addressed the global financial crisis and included a major stimulus package, a partial extension of the Bush tax cuts, legislation to reform health care, a major financial regulation reform bill, and the end of a major US military presence in Iraq. Obama also appointed Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, the latter of whom became the first Hispanic American on the Supreme Court. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress until Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections. Following the elections, Obama and Congressional Republicans engaged in a protracted stand-off over government spending levels and the debt ceiling. The Obama administration's policy against terrorism downplayed Bush's counterinsurgency model, expanding air strikes and making extensive use of special forces, and encouraging greater reliance on host-government militaries. The Obama administration orchestrated the military operation that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.

In his second term, Obama took steps to combat climate change, signing a major international climate agreement and an executive order to limit carbon emissions. Obama also presided over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other legislation passed in his first term, and he negotiated rapprochements with Iran and Cuba. The number of American soldiers in Afghanistan fell dramatically during Obama's second term, though U.S. soldiers remained in Afghanistan throughout Obama's presidency. Republicans took control of the Senate after the 2014 elections, and Obama continued to grapple with congressional Republicans over government spending, immigration, judicial nominations, and other issues.