Who is he?:
The 44th president of the United States and the first African-American to be elected to that position. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a lightning-rod figure who has ignited controversy with his actions on everything from healthcare reform to alternative energy and foreign policy. Successfully ran for a second term in November 2012.
Aug. 4, 1961, in Hawaii. His term has been marked by protestations of "birthers," a fringe movement that believes Obama is not a natural-born citizen and thus does not qualify under the constitution to be president. Born to a Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr., and a Kansas-born white woman, he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia with his mother, Madelyn Dunham's, second husband. Graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he began the personal memoir "Dreams from My Father," which was reissued in 2004 as he was a rising star within the Democratic Party on the national stage.
Obama describes himself as a Christian, yet still constantly faces polls in which a sizable minority believe he's really a Muslim. He's faced some criticism for not attending church regularly or picking a regular Washington congregation, and also faced criticism during his presidential campaign for having attended sermons of controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In June 1989, Obama met Michelle Robinson during a summer gig at a law firm. They were married in 1992 and had two daughters, Malia and Sasha. The family acquired a Portuguese water dog, Bo, as a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) after they moved into the White House.
Obama is generally branded as a liberal Democrat, though many liberals contend that he's been too centrist in his term. Many detractors on the right side of the aisle call Obama a "socialist," something he denies. He's never been a member of another party.
Worked as a community organizer in Chicago and a civil-rights attorney. Taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997 to 2004. He first ran for Congress in 2000, but was unsuccessful in attaining a House seat. He won a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2004 and began his presidential campaign two and a half years later. In 2008, he won the White House with 365 electoral votes as opposed to Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) 173, or 52.9 percent of the popular vote to 45.7 percent for McCain. He's also won a Grammy Award for the spoken word version of "Dreams from My Father" and became the fourth president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just months into his term.
At first glance, Obama faced a tougher re-election fight in 2012 than when he ascended to the Oval Office in 2008. Detractors hit hard at his record, which included enacting healthcare reform with great government involvement and what some call playing divisive politics that brings culture, race and gender into the mix. He has won plaudits for the killing of most wanted terrorist and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, though his foreign policy has generally been mixed from supporting rebels to the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya but stepping back from offering military support to rebels in Syria battling Bashar al-Assad's government. Obama's faced former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in his quest for another for years, and won with 50.6 percent of the popular vote. But going into his second term, he still faces an economy struggling to recover from deep recession and an al-Qaeda resurgence in Africa.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”