Presidency of Barack Obama
The presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST on January 20, 2009, when Obama became the 44th President of the United States. Obama's running mate, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, took office as Vice President on the same day. Obama was a United States Senator from Illinois at the time of his victory over Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. Obama is the first African American president, the first non-white president, the first president born in Hawaii, and the fifteenth Democratic president.
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.
Obama won election to a second term in 2012, making him the seventeenth person to win two presidential elections. In his second term, Obama took steps to combat climate change, signing an executive order to limit carbon emissions as well as a major international climate agreement. Obama also presided over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other legislation passed in his first term. 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. The number of American soldiers in Afghanistan fell dramatically during Obama's second term, though the United States currently plans to leave soldiers in Afghanistan until at least 2017. Obama's presidency is set to end on January 20, 2017, when the 45th president is expected to take office.
- 1 Major acts as president
- 2 Transition period and inauguration
- 3 Personnel
- 4 First 100 days
- 5 Policies
- 5.1 Economy
- 5.2 Ethics
- 5.3 Foreign policy
- 5.3.1 Iraq and Afghanistan
- 5.3.2 East Asia
- 5.3.3 Russia
- 5.3.4 Trade agreements
- 5.3.5 Guantanamo Bay detention camp
- 5.3.6 Killing of Osama bin Laden
- 5.3.7 Drone Warfare
- 5.3.8 Cuban Thaw
- 5.3.9 Iranian Nuclear Negotiations
- 5.3.10 The Arab Spring and its aftermath
- 5.3.11 Syrian civil war
- 5.3.12 Libya
- 5.3.13 Foreign and domestic surveillance
- 5.4 Science, technology, and the environment
- 5.5 Social policy and other domestic initiatives
- 6 Elections
- 7 Approval ratings and other opinions
- 8 Legacy and post-presidency
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Major acts as president
Economic Policy Actions
Other Domestic Policy Actions
Foreign Policy Actions
Supreme Court nominations
Transition period and inauguration
The presidential transition period began following Obama's election to the presidency in November 2008, though Obama had chosen Chris Lu to begin planning for the transition in May 2008. The Obama-Biden Transition Project was co-chaired by John Podesta, Valerie Jarrett, and Pete Rouse. During the transition period, Obama announced nominations for his Cabinet and administration. In November 2008, Congressman Rahm Emanuel accepted Obama's offer to serve as White House Chief of Staff. Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, succeeding George W. Bush. Obama officially assumed the presidency at 12:00 pm, EST, and completed the oath of office at 12:05 pm, EST. He delivered his inaugural address immediately following his oath. Obama's transition team was highly complimentary of the Bush administration's outgoing transition team, particularly with regards to national security, and some elements of the Bush-Obama transition were later codified into law.
|The Obama Cabinet|
|Vice President||Joe Biden||2009–present|
|Secretary of State||Hillary Clinton||2009–2013|
|Secretary of Treasury||Timothy Geithner||2009–2013|
|Secretary of Defense||Robert Gates*||2006–2011|
|Attorney General||Eric Holder||2009–2015|
|Secretary of the Interior||Ken Salazar||2009–2013|
|Secretary of Agriculture||Tom Vilsack||2009–present|
|Secretary of Commerce||Gary Locke||2009–2011|
|Secretary of Labor||Hilda Solis||2009–2013|
|Secretary of Health and
|Secretary of Education||Arne Duncan||2009–2016|
|Secretary of Housing and
|Secretary of Transportation||Ray LaHood||2009–2013|
|Secretary of Energy||Steven Chu||2009–2013|
|Secretary of Veterans Affairs||Eric Shinseki||2009–2014|
|Secretary of Homeland Security||Michael Chertoff†||2009–2009|
|Chief of Staff||Rahm Emanuel||2009–2010|
|Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency
|Director of the Office of
Management and Budget
|Ambassador to the United Nations||Susan Rice||2009–2013|
|United States Trade Representative||Ron Kirk||2009–2013|
|*Retained from previous administration
†Retained from previous administration, but remained at post for one day following Obama's inauguration
Following his inauguration, Obama and the Senate worked to confirm his nominees to the United States Cabinet. Three Cabinet-level officers did not require confirmation: Vice President Joe Biden, who Obama had chosen as his running mate at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who Obama chose to retain from the previous administration. Obama described his Cabinet choices as a "team of rivals," and Obama chose several prominent public officials for Cabinet positions, including former Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Obama nominated several former Clinton administration officials to the Cabinet and to other positions. On April 28, 2009, the Senate confirmed former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, completing Obama's initial Cabinet. During Obama's presidency, four Republicans served in Obama's Cabinet: Ray Lahood as Secretary of Transportation, Robert McDonald as Secretary of Veteran's Affairs, and Gates and Chuck Hagel as Secretaries of Defense.
Notable non-Cabinet positions
- Senior Advisor to the President
- White House Deputy Chief of Staff
- White House Press Secretary
¶ Security and international affairs
¶ Economic affairs
1Includes time spent as Counselor to the President
2Appointed by George W. Bush in 2001 to a ten-year term
3Appointed by George W. Bush in 2006 to a five-year term
United States Supreme Court
During Obama's tenure, there have been three vacancies on the Supreme Court of the United States. During the 111th Congress, when Democrats had a large majority in the Senate, Obama successfully nominated two Supreme Court Justices:
Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, during the 114th Congress, which had a Republican majority in the Senate. Scalia's seat is currently vacant. In March 2016, Obama announced the nomination of D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill Scalia's seat. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, and other Senate Republicans have argued that Supreme Court nominations should not be made during a presidential election year, and that the winner of the 2016 presidential election should instead appoint Scalia's replacement.
Obama's presidency saw the continuation of battles between both parties over the confirmation of judicial nominees. Democrats continually accused Republicans of stalling nominees throughout Obama's tenure. After several nomination battles, Senate Democrats in 2013 reformed the use of the filibuster so that it could no longer be used on executive or judicial nominations (excluding the Supreme Court). Republicans took over the Senate after the 2014 elections, giving them the power to block any judicial nominee. Obama's judicial nominees have been significantly more diverse than those of previous administrations, with more appointments going to women and minorities.
First 100 days
|Problems playing these files? See media help.|
Within minutes of taking the oath of office on January 20, Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, issued an order suspending last-minute regulations and executive orders pushed through by outgoing President George W. Bush. Some of the first actions of Obama's presidency focused on reversing measures taken by the Bush administration following the September 11 attacks. In his first week in office, Obama signed Executive Order 13492 suspending all ongoing proceedings of the Guantanamo military commissions and ordering the Guantanamo detention facility to be shut down within the year. Another order, Executive Order 13491, banned torture and other coercive techniques, such as waterboarding. Obama also issued an executive order placing tighter restrictions on lobbying in the White House, and rescinded the Mexico City Policy, which banned federal grants to international groups that provide abortion services or counseling.
On January 29, Obama signed a bill for the first time in his presidency; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 revised the statute of limitations for filing pay discrimination lawsuits. On February 3, he signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIP), expanding CHIP's health care coverage from 7 million children to 11 million children. On March 9, 2009, Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Obama stated that, like Bush, he would employ signing statements if he deems a portion of a bill to be unconstitutional, and he subsequently issued several signing statements. Obama also signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which added 2 million acres of land to the National Wilderness Preservation System, as well as a law raising the cigarette pack tax by 62 cents,
Perhaps the most important action of Obama's first 100 days was the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to address the Great Recession. After much debate, ARRA was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009. Originally intended to be a bipartisan bill, Congressional passage of the bill relied largely on Democratic votes, though three Republican Senators did vote for it. The lack of Republican support for the bill, and the inability of Democrats to win that support, foreshadowed the gridlock and partisanship that continued throughout Obama's presidency. The $787 billion bill combined tax breaks with spending on infrastructure projects, extension of welfare benefits, and education.
|ending||Dec. 31 (Calendar Year)||Sept. 30 (Fiscal Year)|
Upon entering office, Obama focused on handling the global financial crisis and the subsequent Great Recession, which was generally regarded as the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. On February 17, 2009, Obama signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus bill that included spending for health care, infrastructure, education, various tax breaks and incentives, and direct assistance to individuals. The tax provisions of the law temporarily reduced taxes for 98 percent of taxpayers, bringing tax rates to their lowest levels in 60 years. The Obama administration would later argue that the stimulus saved the United States from a "double-dip" recession. Obama asked for a second major stimulus package in December 2009, but no major second stimulus bill passed. Obama also launched a second bailout of US automakers, possibly saving General Motors and Chrysler from bankruptcy at the cost of $9.3 billion. For homeowners in danger of defaulting on their mortgage due to the subprime mortgage crisis, Obama launched several programs, including HARP and HAMP. Obama re-appointed Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in 2009, and appointed Janet Yellen to succeed Bernanke in 2013. Short-term interest rates remained near zero for much of Obama's presidency, and the Federal Reserve did not raise interest rates during Obama's presidency until December 2015.
There was a sustained increase of the U.S. unemployment rate during the early part of the administration, as multi-year economic stimulus efforts continued. The unemployment rate reached a peak in October 2009 at 10.1%. Unemployment steadily fell during the Obama administration, and by October 2015, the unemployment rate was at 5.1%. However, the recovery from the Great Recession was marked by a lower labor force participation rate, with economists attributing the lower participation rate partially to an aging population and people staying in school longer. The recovery also laid bare the growing income inequality in the United States, which the Obama administration highlighted as a major problem. The federal minimum wage increased during Obama's presidency to $7.25 per hour; in his second term, Obama advocated for another increase to $12 per hour. The Obama administration doubled the exemption under which an employer could avoid overtime pay for certain salaried employees from $23,660 to $47,476, and tied that threshold to inflation.
GDP growth returned in the third quarter of 2009, expanding at a 1.6% pace, followed by a 5.0% increase in the fourth quarter. Growth continued in 2010, posting an increase of 3.7% in the first quarter, with lesser gains throughout the rest of the year. Overall, the economy expanded at a rate of 2.9% in 2010. The country's GDP consistently grew by about 2% in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. However, median household income (adjusted for inflation) fell to $53,600 in 2014, down from an inflation-adjusted $57,400 in 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession. The relatively small GDP growth rates in the United States and other developed countries following the Great Recession left economists and others wondering whether U.S. growth rates would ever return to the levels seen in the second half of the twentieth century.
Wall Street reform
Risky practices among the major financial institutions on Wall Street were widely seen as contributing to the subprime mortgage crisis, the financial crisis of 2007–08, and the subsequent Great Recession, so Obama made Wall Street reform a priority in his first term. On July 21, 2010, Obama signed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the largest financial regulatory overhaul since the New Deal. The act increased regulation and reporting requirements on derivatives (particularly credit default swaps), and took steps to limit systemic risks to the US economy with policies such as higher capital requirements, the creation of the Orderly Liquidation Authority to help wind down large, failing financial institutions, and the creation of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to monitor systemic risks. Dodd-Frank also established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was charged with protecting consumers against abusive financial practices. On signing the bill, Obama stated that the bill would "empower consumers and investors," "bring the shadowy deals that caused the crisis to the light of day," and "put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all." Some liberals were disappointed that the law did not break up the country's largest banks or reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, while many conservatives criticized the bill as a government overreach that could make the country less competitive. Under the bill, the Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies were required to propose and implement several new regulatory rules, and battles over these rules continued throughout Obama's presidency. Obama called for further Wall Street reform after the passage of Dodd-Frank, saying that banks should have a smaller role in the economy and less incentive to make risky trades. Obama also signed the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which created new rules for credit card companies.
Obama's presidency saw an extended battle over taxes that ultimately led to the permanent extension of most of the Bush tax cuts. Those tax cuts were set to expire during Obama's presidency since they were originally passed using a Congressional maneuver known as reconciliation, and had to fulfill the long-term deficit requirements of the "Byrd rule." During the lame duck session of the 111th Congress, Obama and Republicans wrangled over the ultimate fate of the cuts. Obama wanted to extend the tax cuts for taxpayers making less than $250,000 a year, while Congressional Republicans wanted a total extension of the tax cuts, and refused to support any bill that did not extend tax cuts for top earners. Obama and the Republican Congressional leadership reached a deal that included a two-year extension of all the tax cuts, a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance, a one-year reduction in the FICA payroll tax, and other measures. Obama ultimately persuaded many wary Democrats to support the bill, though many liberals such as Bernie Sanders continued to oppose it. The $858 billion Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 passed with bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and was signed into law by Obama on December 17, 2010.
Shortly after Obama's 2012 re-election, Congressional Republicans and Obama again faced off over the final fate of the Bush tax cuts. Republicans sought to make all tax cuts permanent, while Obama sought to extend the tax cuts only for those making under $250,000. Obama and Congressional Republicans came to an agreement on the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which made permanent the tax cuts for individuals making less than $400,000 a year (or less than $450,000 for couples). For earnings greater than that amount, the income tax increased from 35% to 39.6%, which was the top rate before the passage of the Bush tax cuts. The deal also permanently indexed the alternative minimum tax for inflation, limited deductions for individuals making more than $250,000 ($300,000 for couples), permanently set the estate tax exemption at $5.12 million (indexed to inflation), and increased the top estate tax rate from 35% to 40%. Though many Republicans did not like the deal, the bill passed the Republican House in large part due to the fact that the failure to pass any bill would have resulted in the total expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
Budget and debt ceiling
US government debt grew substantially during the Great Recession, as government revenues fell and Obama largely eschewed the austerity policies followed by many European countries. US government debt grew from 52% of GDP when Obama took office in 2009 to 74% in 2014, with most of the growth in debt coming between 2009 and 2012. In 2010, Obama ordered the creation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (also known as the "Simpson-Bowles Commission") in order to find ways to reduce the country's debt. The commission ultimately released a report that called for a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. Notable recommendations of the report include a cut in military spending, a scaling back of tax deductions for mortgages and employer-provided health insurance, a raise of the Social Security retirement age, and reduced spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and federal employees. The proposal never received a vote in Congress, but it served as a template for future plans to reduce the national debt.
After taking control of the House in the 2010 elections, Congressional Republicans demanded spending cuts in return for raising the United States debt ceiling, the statutory limit on the total amount of debt that the Treasury Department can issue. The 2011 debt-ceiling crisis developed as Obama and Congressional Democrats demanded a "clean" debt-ceiling increase that did not include spending cuts. Though some Democrats argued that Obama could unilaterally raise the debt ceiling under the terms of the Fourteenth Amendment, Obama chose to negotiate with Congressional Republicans. Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner attempted to negotiate a "grand bargain" to cut the deficit, reform entitlement programs, and re-write the tax code, but the negotiations eventually collapsed due to ideological differences between the Democratic and Republican leaders. Congress instead passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which raised the debt ceiling, provided for domestic and military spending cuts, and established the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to propose further spending cuts. As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to reach an agreement on further cuts, domestic and military spending cuts known as the "sequester" took effect starting in 2013.
In October 2013, the government shut down for two weeks as Republicans and Democrats were unable to agree on a budget. House Republicans passed a budget that would defund Obamacare, but Senate Democrats refused to pass any budget that defunded Obamacare. Meanwhile, the country faced another debt ceiling crisis. Ultimately the two sides agreed to a continuing resolution that re-opened the government and suspended the debt ceiling. Months after passing the continuing resolution, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and an omnibus spending bill to fund the government through 2014. In 2015, after John Boehner announced that he would resign as Speaker of the House, Congress passed a bill that set government spending targets and suspends the debt limit until 2017.
Early in his presidential campaign, Obama stated that lobbyists "won't find a job in my White House", but softened his stance after taking office. On January 21, 2009, Obama issued an executive order for all future appointees to his administration, which ordered that no appointee who was a registered lobbyist within the two years before his appointment could participate on matters in which he lobbied for a period of two years after the date of appointment. Three formal waivers were initially issued in early 2009, out of 800 executive appointments: The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington criticized the administration, claiming that Obama retreated from his own ethics rules barring lobbyists from working on the issues about which they lobbied during the previous two years by issuing waivers. A 2015 Politico investigation found that, while Obama had instituted incremental reforms and the number of lobbyists fell during Obama's presidency, Obama had failed to close the "revolving door" of officials moving between government and business. However, Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post noted that the Obama administration had avoided "conflict of interest" scandals that previous administrations had experienced, in part due to the administration's lobbyist rules.
Obama promised that he would run the "most transparent" administration in US history, with mixed results. On taking office, the Obama administration said that all executive orders, non-emergency legislation, and proclamations would be posted to the official White House website, whitehouse.gov, allowing the public to review and comment for five days before the President signs the legislation, but this pledge was twice broken during Obama's first month in office. On January 21, 2009, by executive order, Obama revoked Executive Order 13233, which had limited access to the records of former United States presidents. Obama issued instructions to all agencies and departments in his administration to "adopt a presumption in favor" of Freedom of Information Act requests. These actions helped the rate of classification fall to record lows during the Obama administration. In April 2009, the United States Department of Justice released four legal memos from the Bush administration describing in detail controversial interrogation methods the CIA had used on prisoners suspected of terrorism. The Obama administration also introduced the Open Government Directive, which encourages government agencies to publish data and collaborate with the public, and the Open Government Partnership, which advocates open government norms. However, Obama continued to make use of secret memos and the state secrets privilege, and continued to prosecute whistleblowers.
The Obama administration has been characterized as much more aggressive than the Bush and other previous administrations in their response to whistleblowing and leaks to the press, prompting critics to describe the Obama administration's crackdown as a "war on whistleblowers." Several people have been charged under the previously rarely used leak-related provisions of the Espionage Act of 1917, include Thomas Andrews Drake, a former National Security Agency employee, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a State Department contractor, and Jeffrey Sterling. Others prosecuted for leaking information include Shamai Leibowitz, a contract linguist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Kiriakou, a former CIA analyst, and Chelsea Manning, an intelligence analyst for the US Army whose trial received wide coverage. Most notably, Edward Snowden, a technical contractor for the NSA, was charged with theft and the unauthorized disclosure of classified information to columnist Glenn Greenwald. Snowden's disclosures provoked wide array of reactions; many called for Snowden to be pardoned, while others called him a traitor.
Obama inherited a war in Afghanistan, a war in Iraq, and a global "War on Terror" launched by President Bush in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Obama called for a "new beginning" in relations between the Islamic world and the United States, and he discontinued the use of the term "War on Terror" in favor of the term "Overseas Contingency Operation." Obama pursued a "light footprint" strategy in the Middle East that emphasized special forces, drone strikes, and diplomacy over large ground troop occupations. However, American forces continued to clash with Islamic militant organizations such as al-Qaeda, ISIL, and al-Shabaab under the terms of the AUMF passed by Congress in 2001. Obama also advocated for nuclear non-proliferation and successfully negotiated arms-reduction deals with Iran and Russia. Though the Middle East remained important to American foreign policy, Obama pursued a "pivot" to East Asia. Obama also emphasized closer relations with India, and was the first president to visit the country twice. In 2015, Obama described the Obama Doctrine, saying "we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities." Obama also described himself as an internationalist who rejects isolationism and is influenced by realism and liberal interventionism.
The relationship between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu was notably icy, with many commenting on their mutual distaste for each other. On taking office, Obama appointed George J. Mitchell as a special envoy to the Middle East to work towards a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Mitchell made little progress before stepping down in 2011. In March 2010, Secretary of State Clinton criticized the Israeli government for approving expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu strongly opposed Obama's efforts to negotiate with Iran and was seen as favoring Mitt Romney in the 2012 US presidential election. However, Obama continued the US policy of vetoing UN resolutions calling for a Palestinian state, and the administration continued to advocate for a negotiated two-state solution. Obama also increased aid to Israel, including funding for the Iron Dome air defense program.
Iraq and Afghanistan
During the 2008 presidential election, Obama strongly criticized the Iraq War, and Obama withdrew the vast majority of US soldiers in Iraq by the end of 2011. On taking office, Obama announced that US combat forces would leave Iraq by August 2010, with 35,000-50,000 American soldiers remaining in Iraq as advisers and trainers, down from the roughly 150,000 American soldiers in Iraq at the start of 2009. Though Obama considered leaving a force of a few thousand soldiers in Iraq to fight al-Qaeda and support the Iraqi government, Iraqi leaders requested that US soldiers withdrawal from Iraq. By the end of December 2011, only 150 American soldiers remained to serve at the US embassy. However, in 2014 the US began a campaign against ISIL, an Islamic extremist terrorist group operating in Iraq and Syria. By June 2015, there were 3500 American soldiers in Iraq serving as advisers to anti-ISIL forces in the Iraqi Civil War.
While Obama drew down troops in Iraq, he increased the US military presence in Afghanistan early in his presidency. On taking office, Obama announced that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan would be bolstered by 17,000 new troops by Summer 2009, on top of the roughly 30,000 soldiers already in Afghanistan at the start of 2009. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen all argued for further troops, and Obama dispatched additional soldiers after a lengthy review process. Obama also appointed Richard Holbrooke as the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2012, the US and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership agreement in which the US agreed to hand over major combat operation to Afghan forces. That same year, the Obama administration designated Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally. In 2014, Obama announced that most troops would leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016, with a small force remaining at the US embassy. In September 2014, Ashraf Ghani succeeded Hamid Karzai as the President of Afghanistan after the US helped negotiate a power-sharing agreement between Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah. On January 1, 2015, the US military ended Operation Enduring Freedom and began Resolute Support Mission, in which the US shifted to more of a training role, although some combat operations continued. In October 2015, Obama announced that US soldiers would remain in Afghanistan indefinitely in order support the Afghan government in the civil war against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and ISIL. In July 2016, Obama announced that 8,400 soldiers would remain in Afghanistan at the end of his term.
Though other areas of the world remained important to American foreign policy, Obama pursued a "pivot" to East Asia, focusing the US's diplomacy and trade in the region. China's continued emergence as a major power has been a major issue of Obama's presidency; while the two countries have worked together on issues such as climate change, the China-United States relationship also experienced tensions regarding territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. The administration has been successful in pursuing closer relations with other Asian countries, including those in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In 2016, the United States hosted a summit with ASEAN for the first time, marking an important symbolic moment in regards to American engagement with Southeast Asia. After helping to encourage openly-contested elections in Myanmar, Obama lifted many US sanctions on Myanmar. Obama also increased US military ties with Vietnam, Australia, and the Philippines, increased aid to Laos, and contributed to a warming of relations between South Korea and Japan. Obama designed the Trans-Pacific Partnership as the key economic pillar of the Asian pivot, though the agreement remains unratified. Obama has made little progress with relations with North Korea, a long-time adversary of the United States, and North Korea has continued to develop its WMD program.
On taking office, Obama called for a "reset" in relations with Russia, which had declined following the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. While President Bush had successfully pushed for NATO expansion into former Eastern bloc states, Obama put more of an emphasis on creating a long-term partnership with Russia. Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev worked together on a new treaty to reduce and monitor nuclear weapons, Russian accession to the World Trade Organization, and counterterrorism. On April 8, 2010, Obama and Medvedev signed the New START treaty, a major nuclear arms control agreement that reduced the nuclear weapons stockpiles of both countries and provided for a monitoring regime. In December 2010, the Senate ratified New START in a 71-26 vote, with 13 Republicans and all Democrats voting in favor of the treaty. In 2012, Russia joined the World Trade Organization and Obama normalized trade relations with Russia. However, US-Russia relations declined once Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency. Russia's intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea led to a strong condemnation by Obama and other Western leaders, who imposed sanctions on Russian leaders. The sanctions contributed to a Russian financial crisis. Some members of Congress from both parties also called for the US to arm Ukrainian forces, but Obama resisted becoming closely involved in the War in Donbass. In 2016, following several cybersecurity incidents, American intelligence experts accused Russia of engaging in a campaign to undermine American elections and public trust.
Like his predecessor, Obama pursued free trade agreements, in part due to the lack of progress at the Doha negotiations in lowering trade barriers worldwide. In October 2011, the United States entered into free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. Congressional Republicans overwhelmingly supported the agreements, while Congressional Democrats cast a mix of votes. The three agreements had originally been negotiated by the Bush administration, but Obama re-opened negotiations with each country and changed some terms of each deal. Obama has also promoted two significantly larger, multilateral free trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with several Pacific Rim countries, and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. TPP negotiations began under President Bush, and Obama continued them as part of his "Asia pivot" that seeks to refocus US power in East Asia. The size and scope of the TPP negotiations grew under Obama until it included twelve countries, including Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, and Canada. The Obama administration received heavy criticism from citizen activists and members of the Democratic Party for the lack of transparency in the negotiations, as well as the presence of corporate representatives who assisted in the drafting process. After years of negotiations, the 12 countries reached a final agreement on the content of the TPP in October 2015, and the full text of the treaty was made public in November 2015. In July 2015, Congress passed a bill giving trade promotion authority to the president until 2021; trade promotion authority requires Congress to vote up or down on trade agreements signed by the president, with no possibility of amendments or filibusters. Passing the TPP is one of the top remaining priorities of the Obama administration, though if the TPP does come to a vote, such a vote almost certainly will not occur until the lame-duck session of the 114th Congress. The TPP became a major campaign issue in the 2016 elections, with both major party presidential nominees opposing its ratification.
Guantanamo Bay detention camp
The Bush administration established the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to hold alleged terrorists in a manner that did not treat them as conventional prisoners of war. Obama repeatedly stated his desire to close the detention camp, arguing that the camp's extrajudicial nature provided a recruitment tool for terrorist organizations. On his first day in office, Obama instructed all military prosecutors to suspend proceedings so that the incoming administration could review the military commission process. On January 22, 2009, Obama signed an executive order restricting interrogators to methods listed and authorized by an Army Field Manual, ending the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques." In March 2009, the administration announced that it would no longer refer to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants, but it also asserted that the president has the authority to detain terrorism suspects there without criminal charges. By January 2016, the prisoner population of the detention camp had fallen from 242 to 91, in part due to the Periodic Review Boards that Obama established in 2011. Many members of Congress strongly oppose plans to transfer Guantanamo detainees to prisons in US states, and the Obama administration is reluctant to send potentially dangerous prisoners to other countries, especially unstable countries such as Yemen. The Justice Department attempted to hold a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Guantanamo detainee, but canceled it due to resistance from Congress. Despite Congressional opposition, Obama has continued to advocate for the closure of the detention camp.
Killing of Osama bin Laden
audio only version
|Problems playing these files? See media help.|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
The Obama administration launched a successful operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, a global Sunni Islamist militant organization responsible for the September 11 attacks and several other terrorist attacks. Starting with information received in July 2010, the CIA determined what they believed to be the location of Osama bin Laden in a large compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a suburban area 35 miles from Islamabad. CIA head Leon Panetta reported this intelligence to Obama in March 2011. Meeting with his national security advisers over the course of the next six weeks, Obama rejected a plan to bomb the compound, and authorized a "surgical raid" to be conducted by United States Navy SEALs. The operation took place on May 1, 2011, resulting in the death of bin Laden and the seizure of papers and computer drives and disks from the compound. Bin Laden's body was identified through DNA testing, and buried at sea several hours later. Reaction to the announcement was positive across party lines, including from predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and from many countries around the world.
Obama expanded the drone strike program begun by the Bush administration, and the Obama administration has conducted drone strikes against targets in Yemen, Somalia, and, most prominently, Pakistan. Though the drone strikes have killed high-ranking terrorists, they have been criticized for resulting in civilian casualties. A 2013 Pew research poll showed that the strikes were broadly unpopular in Pakistan, and some former members of the Obama administration have criticized the strikes for causing a backlash against the United States. However, based on 147 interviews conducted in 2015, professor Aqil Shah argues that the strikes are popular in North Waziristan, the area in which most of the strikes take place, and that little blowback has occurred. In 2009, the UN special investigator on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions called the United States' reliance on drones "increasingly common" and "deeply troubling", and called on the U.S. to justify its use of targeted assassinations rather than attempting to capture al Qaeda or Taliban suspects. In 2013, Obama appointed John Brennan as the new CIA Director and announced a new policy that required CIA operatives to determine with a "near-certainty" that no civilians would be hurt in a drone strike. The number of drone strikes fell substantially after the announcement of the new policy,
As of 2015, US drone strikes have killed eight American citizens, one of whom, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was specifically targeted. The targeted killing of a United States citizen raised Constitutional issues, as it is the first known instance of a sitting U.S. president ordering the extrajudicial killing of a U.S. citizen. Obama had ordered the targeted killing of al-Aulaqi, a Muslim cleric with ties to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, after al-Aulaqi allegedly shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them. The Obama administration has continually sought to keep classified the legal opinions justifying drone strikes, but it has said that it conducts special legal reviews before targeting Americans in order to purportedly satisfy the due process requirements of the Constitution.
The Obama presidency saw a major thaw in relations with Cuba, which the United States has embargoed since the 1960s following the Cuban Revolution and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Starting in the spring of 2013 secret meetings were conducted between the United States and Cuba, with the meetings taking place in the neutral locations of Canada and Vatican City. The Vatican was consulted initially in 2013 as Pope Francis advised the U.S. and Cuba to exchange prisoners as a gesture of goodwill. On December 10, 2013, Cuban President Raul Castro, in a significant public moment, shook hands with and greeted Obama at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Johannesburg. In December 2014, Cuba released Alan Gross in exchange for the remaining members of the Cuban Five. That same month, President Obama ordered the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba. Obama stated that he was normalizing relationships because the economic embargo had been ineffective in persuading Cuba to develop a democratic society. In May 2015, Cuba was taken off the United States's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. In August 2015, following the restoration of official diplomatic relations, the United States and Cuba reopened their respective embassies. In March 2016, Obama visited Cuba, making him the first American president to set foot on the island since Calvin Coolidge. The restored ties between Cuba and the US were also seen as a boon to broader Latin America–United States relations, as Latin American leaders unanimously approved of the move.
Iranian Nuclear Negotiations
Iran and the United States have had a poor relationship since the Iranian Revolution and the Iran hostage crisis, and tensions have continued due to issues such as the Iranian nuclear program and Iran's alleged sponsorship of terrorism. On taking office, Obama focused on negotiations with Iran over the status of its nuclear program, working with the other P5+1 powers to adopt a multilateral agreement. Obama's stance differed dramatically from the more hawkish position of his predecessor, George W. Bush, as well as the stated positions of most of Obama's rivals in the 2008 presidential campaign. In June 2013, Hasan Rouhani won election as the new President of Iran, and Rouhani called for a continuation of talks on Iran's nuclear program. In November 2013, Iran and the P5 announced an interim agreement, and in April 2015, negotiators announced that a framework agreement had been reached. Congressional Republicans, who along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had strongly opposed the negotiations, attempted but failed to pass a Congressional resolution rejecting the six-nation accord. Under the agreement, Iran agreed to put limits on its nuclear program and to provide access to International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, while the US and other countries agreed to reduce sanctions on Iran. The partisan fight over the Iran nuclear deal exemplified a broader disagreement regarding American foreign policy in the Middle East and how to handle adversarial regimes, as many opponents of the deal considered Iran to be an implacably hostile adversary who would inevitably break any agreement.
The Arab Spring and its aftermath
After a sudden revolution in Tunisia in 2011, protests occurred in almost every Arab state. The wave of demonstrations became known as the Arab Spring, and the handling of the Arab Spring played a major role in Obama's foreign policy. After three weeks of unrest, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned at the urging of President Obama. General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi eventually took power from Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in a 2013 coup d'état, prompting the US to cut off arms shipments to its long-time ally. However, Obama resumed the shipments in 2015. Yemen experienced a revolution and then civil war, leading to a Saudi military campaign that received logistical and intelligence assistance from the United States. The period following the Arab Spring is sometimes called the Arab Winter, as many states experienced violence and government crackdowns.
Syrian civil war
Syria was one of the states most heavily affected by the Arab Spring, and by the second half of March 2011, major anti-government protests were being held in Syria. Though Syria had long been an adversary of the United States, Obama argued that unilateral military action to topple the Bashar al-Assad regime would be a mistake. As the protests continued, Syria fell into a protracted civil war, and the United States supported the Syrian opposition against the Assad regime. US criticism of Assad intensified after the Ghouta chemical attack, eventually resulting in a Russian-backed deal that saw the Syrian government relinquish its chemical weapons. In the chaos of the Syrian Civil War, an Islamist group known as ISIL took control of large portions of Syria and Iraq. ISIL, which had originated as al-Qaeda in Iraq under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, eventually challenged al-Qaeda as the most prominent global terrorist group. Starting in 2014, the Obama administration launched air strikes against ISIL and trained anti-ISIL soldiers, while continuing to oppose Assad's regime. Russia launched its own military intervention to aid Assad's regime, creating a complicated multi-party proxy war, though the United States and Russia have cooperated to fight ISIL. In November 2015, Obama announced a plan to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States.
Libya was also strongly affected by the Arab Spring. Anti-government protests broke out in Benghazi, Libya, in February 2011, and the Gaddafi government responded with military force. The Obama administration initially resisted calls to take strong action but relented after the Arab League requested Western intervention in Libya. In March 2011, international reaction to Gaddafi's military crackdown culminated in a United Nations resolution to enforce a no fly zone in Libya. Obama authorized U.S. forces to participate in international air attacks on Libyan air defenses using Tomahawk cruise missiles to establish the protective zone. The intervention was led by NATO, but Sweden and three Arab nations also participated in the mission. With coalition support, the rebels took Tripoli the following August. The Libyan campaign culminated in the toppling of the Gaddafi regime, but Libya experienced turmoil in the aftermath of the civil war. Obama's intervention in Libya provoked criticism from members of Congress and ignited a debate over the applicability of the War Powers Resolution. In September 2012, Islamic militants attacked an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Republicans strongly criticized the Obama administration's handling of the Benghazi attack, and established a select committee in the House to investigate the attack.
Foreign and domestic surveillance
The Obama administration inherited several government surveillance programs from the Bush administration, and Obama attempted to strike a balance between protecting civil liberties and tracking terrorist threats, but Obama's continuation of many programs disappointed many civil libertarians. The New York Times reported in 2009 that the NSA had been intercepting communications of American citizens including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the NSA had corrected its errors. In 2011, Obama signed a four-year extension of some provisions of the Patriot Act. In June 2013 the existence of PRISM, a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007, was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew. In the face of international outrage, U.S. government officials defended the PRISM surveillance program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government's executive, judicial and legislative branches. In June 2013, Obama stated that the NSA's data gathering practices constitute "a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people." In 2015, Obama signed the USA Freedom Act, which extended provisions of the Patriot Act but ended the collection of bulk telephone records by the NSA.
Science, technology, and the environment
Energy production boomed during the Obama presidency. An increase in oil production was driven largely by a fracking boom driven by private investment on private land, and the administration took a largely neutral role in this development. The Obama administration promoted the growth of renewable energy, and solar power generation tripled during Obama's tenure. In May 2010, Obama extended a moratorium on offshore drilling permits after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which is generally considered to be the worst oil spill in U.S. history. In January 2015, the Obama administration announced a plan to open up parts of the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling, but in March 2016 the administration announced that it would not be going forward with the plan in part due to local resistance from coastal communities.
During Obama's presidency, the battle over the Keystone XL Pipeline became a major issue, with advocates arguing that it would contribute to economic growth and environmentalists arguing that its approval would contribute to global warming. The proposed 1,000 mile pipeline would have connected Canada's oil sands with the Gulf of Mexico. Because the pipeline crossed international boundaries, its construction required the approval of the US federal government, and the US State Department engaged in a lengthy review process. President Obama vetoed a bill to construct the Keystone Pipeline in February 2015, arguing that the decision of approval should rest with the executive branch. It was the first major veto of his presidency, and Congress was unable to override it. In November 2015, Obama announced that he would not approve of the construction of the pipeline. On vetoing the bill, Obama stated that the pipeline played an "overinflated role" in US political discourse and would have had relatively little impact on job creation or climate change.
Climate change and the environment
During his presidency, Obama described global warming as the greatest long-term threat facing the world. Obama has taken several steps to combat global warming, but has been unable to pass a major bill addressing the issue, in part because many Republicans and some Democrats question whether global warming is occurring and whether human activity contributes to it. Following his inauguration, Obama asked that Congress pass a bill to put a cap on domestic carbon emissions. After the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009, Obama sought to convince the Senate to pass the bill as well. The legislation would have required the US to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and by 83 percent by the middle of the 21st century. However, the bill was strongly opposed by Republicans and neither it nor a separate proposed bipartisan compromise ever came up for a vote in the Senate. Between 2010 and 2015, the US dramatically lowered its dependence on coal, which emits more carbon than other sources of power, including natural gas. Obama imposed regulations on soot, sulfur, and mercury that encouraged the transition from coal, but the falling price of wind, solar, and natural gas energy sources also contributed to coal's decline. In 2013, Obama announced that he would bypass Congress by ordering the EPA to implement new carbon emissions limits. The Clean Power Plan, unveiled in 2015, seeks to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.
Obama's campaign to fight global warming has found more success at the international level than it has in Congress. Obama attended the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which drafted the non-binding Copenhagen Accord as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The deal provided for the monitoring of carbon emissions among developing countries, but it did not include Obama's proposal to commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. In 2014, Obama reached an agreement with China in which China pledged to reach peak carbon emission levels by 2030, while the US pledged to cut its emissions by 26-28 percent compared to its 2005 levels. The deal provided momentum for a potential multilateral global warming agreement among the world's largest carbon emitters. Many Republicans criticized Obama's climate goals as a potential drain on the economy. At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, nearly every country in the world agreed to a landmark climate deal in which each nation committed lowering their greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement created a universal accounting system for emissions, requires each country to monitor its emissions, and requires each country to create a plan to reduce its emissions. Several climate negotiators noted that the US-China climate deal and the EPA's emission limits helped make the deal possible.
From the beginning of his presidency, Obama took several actions to raise vehicle fuel efficiency in the United States. In 2009, Obama announced a plan to increase the Corporate Average Fuel Economy to 35 miles per gallon, a 40 percent increase from 2009 levels. Both environmentalists and auto industry officials largely welcomed the move, as the plan raised national emission standards but provided the single national efficiency standard that auto industry officials group had long desired. In 2012, Obama set even higher standards, mandating an average fuel efficiency of 54.5 mpg. Obama also signed the "cash-for-clunkers" bill, which provided incentives to consumers to trade in older, less fuel-efficient cars for more efficient cars. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $54 billion in funds to encourage domestic renewable energy production, make federal buildings more energy-efficient, improve the electricity grid, repair public housing, and weatherize modest-income homes. Obama also promoted the use of plug-in electric vehicles, and 400,000 electric cars had been sold by the end of 2015.
In July 2009, Obama appointed Charles Bolden, a former astronaut, to be administrator of NASA. That same year, Obama set up the Augustine panel to review the Constellation program. In February 2010 Obama announced that he was cutting the program from the 2011 United States federal budget, describing it as "over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation." After the decision drew criticism in the United States, a new "Flexible path to Mars" plan was unveiled at a space conference in April 2010. It included new technology programs, increased R&D spending, a focus on the International Space Station and contracting out flying crew to space to commercial providers. The new plan also increased NASA's 2011 budget to $19 billion from $18.3 billion in 2010. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 implemented many of Obama's goals. The Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, and NASA relied on the Russian space program to launch its astronauts into orbit. During Obama's presidency, NASA designed the Space Launch System and developed the Commercial Crew Development and Commercial Orbital Transportation Services to cooperate with private space flight companies such as SpaceX. Obama's presidency also saw the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Science Laboratory.
Cybersecurity emerged as an important issue during Obama's presidency. In 2009, the Obama administration established United States Cyber Command, an armed forces sub-unified command charged with defending the military against cyber attacks. Sony Pictures suffered a major hack in 2014, which the US government alleges originated from North Korea in retaliation for the release of the film The Interview. China also developed sophisticated cyber-warfare forces. In 2015, Obama declared cyber-attacks on the US a national emergency. Later that year, Obama signed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act into law. In 2016, the Democratic National Committee and other US organizations were hacked; the American intelligence community strongly suspects that Russia is behind the attacks, possibly as part of an effort to undermine the legitimacy of the 2016 election. The email accounts of other prominent individuals, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director John O. Brennan, were also hacked, leading to new fears about the confidentiality of emails.
Obama took steps to promote various technologies and the technological prowess of the United States. The number of American adults using the internet grew from 74% in 2008 to 84% in 2013, and Obama pushed programs to extend broadband internet to lower income Americans. Over the opposition of many Republicans, the Federal Communications Commission began regulating internet providers as public utilities, with the goal of protecting "net neutrality." Obama launched 18F and the United States Digital Service, two organizations devoted to modernizing government information technology. The stimulus package included money to build high-speed rail networks such as the proposed Florida High Speed Corridor, but political resistance and funding problems stymied those efforts. In January 2016, Obama announced a plan to invest $4 billion in the development of self-driving cars, as well as an initiative by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop regulations for self-driving cars. That same month, Obama called for a national effort led by Vice President Biden to develop a cure for cancer.
Social policy and other domestic initiatives
Drug policy and criminal justice reform
The Obama administration took a few steps to reform the criminal justice system at a time when many in both parties felt that the US had gone too far in incarcerating drug offenders. In October 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a directive to federal prosecutors in states with medical marijuana laws not to investigate or prosecute cases of marijuana use or production done in compliance with those laws. On December 16, 2009, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, which repealed a 21-year-old ban on federal funding of needle exchange programs. In August 2010, Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize non-medical marijuana. Though any use of marijuana remained illegal under federal law, the Obama administration generally chose not to prosecute those who used marijuana in states that chose to legalize it. However, some liberals and libertarians criticized Obama for continuing or even expanding the war on drugs, particularly in regards to medical marijuana. In 2016, Obama announced that the federal government would phase out the use of private prisons.
During his presidency, Obama, Congress, and the Supreme Court all contributed to a huge expansion of LGBT rights. In 2009, Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded hate crime laws to cover crimes committed because of the victim's sexual orientation. In December 2010, Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, which ended the military's policy of disallowing openly gay and lesbian people from openly serving in the United States Armed Forces. Obama also supported the passage of ENDA, which would ban discrimination against employees on the basis of gender or sexual identity for all companies with 15 or more employees, and the similar but more comprehensive Equality Act. Neither bill has passed Congress. In May 2012, Obama became the first sitting president to support same-sex marriage, shortly after Vice President Joe Biden had also expressed support for the institution. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, and Obama personally congratulated the plaintiff. Obama also issued dozens of executive orders intended to help LGBT Americans, including a 2010 order that extended full benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. A 2014 order prohibited discrimination against employees of federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2015, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ended the ban on women in combat roles, and in 2016, he ended the ban on transgender individuals openly serving in the military. On the international stage, Obama has advocated for gay rights, particularly in Africa.
Health care reform
|New START||58-0||13-26||No vote|
Once the stimulus bill was enacted, health care reform became Obama's top domestic priority, and the 111th Congress passed a major bill that eventually became widely known as "Obamacare." Health care reform had long been a top priority of the Democratic Party, and Democrats were eager to implement a new plan that would lower costs and increase coverage. In contrast to Bill Clinton's 1993 plan to reform health care, Obama adopted a strategy of letting Congress drive the process, with the House and Senate writing their own bills. In the Senate, a bipartisan group of Senators on the Finance Committee known as the Gang of Six began meeting with the hope of creating a bipartisan healthcare reform bill, though the Republican Senators involved with the crafting of the bill ultimately came to oppose it. In November 2009, the House passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act on a 220-215 vote, with only one Republican voting for the bill. In December 2009, the Senate passed its own health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA), on a party-line, 60-39 vote. Both bills expanded Medicaid and provided health care subsidies, while establishing an individual mandate, health insurance exchanges, and a ban on denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. However, the House bill included a tax increase on families making more than $1 million per year and a public health insurance option, while the Senate plan included an excise tax on high-cost health plans.
The 2010 Massachusetts Senate special election victory of Scott Brown seriously imperiled the prospects of a health care reform bill, as Democrats lost their 60-seat Senate super-majority. The White House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi engaged in an extensive campaign to convince both centrists and liberals in the House to pass the Senate's health care bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In March 2010, after Obama announced an executive order reinforcing the current law against spending federal funds for elective abortion services, the House passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The bill, which had passed the Senate in December 2009, did not receive a single Republican vote in either house. On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the PPACA into law. The New York Times described the PPACA as "the most expansive social legislation enacted in decades," while the Washington Post noted that it was the biggest expansion of health insurance coverage since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Both houses of Congress also passed a reconciliation measure to make significant changes and corrections to the PPACA; this second bill was signed into law on March 30, 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became widely known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or "Obamacare."
The Affordable Care Act faced considerable challenges and opposition after its passage, and Republicans continually attempted to repeal the law. The law also survived two major challenges that went to the Supreme Court. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, a 5-4 majority upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, though it made state Medicaid expansion voluntary. In King v. Burwell, a 6-3 majority allowed the use of tax credits in state-operated exchanges. The October 2013 launch of HealthCare.gov, a health insurance exchange website created under the provisions of the ACA, was widely criticized, though many of the problems were fixed by the end of the year. The number of uninsured Americans had dropped from 20.2% of the population in 2010 to 13.3% of the population in 2015, though Republicans continued to oppose Obamacare as an unwelcome expansion of government. Many liberals also continued to push for a single-payer healthcare system or a public option.
Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan pursued K-12 education reform through the Race to the Top grant program and the use of waivers for the No Child Left Behind Act. Race to the Top gives money to schools that meet certain reform goals, and the program helped encourage the adoption of more rigorous academic standards and new teacher evaluation systems. The program encouraged (but did not require) adoption of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Obama has also advocated for universal pre-kindergarten programs, and two free years of community college for everyone. Through her Let's Move program and advocacy of healthier school lunches, First Lady Michelle Obama focused attention on childhood obesity, which was three times higher in 2008 than it had been in 1974. In December 2015, Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan bill that reauthorized federally-mandated testing but shrank the federal government's role in education, especially with regard to troubled schools. The law also ended the use of waivers by the Education Secretary. In post-secondary education, Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which ended the role of private banks in lending out federally insured student loans, created a new income-based loan repayment plan known as Pay as You Earn, and increased the amount of Pell Grant awards given each year. He also instituted new regulations on for-profit colleges, including a "gainful employment" rule that restricts federal funding from colleges that fail to adequately prepare graduates for careers.
From the beginning of his presidency, Obama supported comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship for many immigrants illegally residing in the United States. However, Obama focused on other priorities during the 111th Congress, including the stimulus bill and health care reform. In the 2010 lame-duck session, Obama supported passage of the DREAM Act, which passed the House but failed to overcome a Senate filibuster in a 55-41 vote in favor of the bill. In 2013, the Senate passed an immigration bill with a path to citizenship, but the House did not vote on the bill. In 2012, Obama implemented the DACA policy, which protects roughly 700,000 illegal immigrants from deportation; the policy applies only to those who were brought to the United States before their 16th birthday. In 2014, Obama announced a new executive order that would protect another four million illegal immigrants from deportation, but the order was blocked by the Supreme Court in a 4-4 tie vote that upheld a lower court's ruling. Despite executive actions to protect some individuals, deportations of illegal immigrants continued under Obama. A record high of 400,000 deportations occurred in 2012, though the number of deportations fell during Obama's second term. In continuation of a trend that began with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the percentage of foreign-born people living in the United States reached 13.7% in 2015, higher than at any point since the early 20th century. After having risen since 1990, the number of illegal immigrants living in the United States stabilized at around 11.5 million individuals during Obama's presidency, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007.
Obama has called for gun control measures in the aftermath of several mass shootings, but has been unable to pass a major bill. In 2009, Obama discussed reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but did not make a strong push to pass it through Congress at that time. Following the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Obama outlined a series of sweeping gun control proposals, urging Congress to reintroduce an expired ban on "military-style" assault weapons, impose limits on ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, introduce background checks on all gun sales, pass a ban on possession and sale of armor-piercing bullets, introduce harsher penalties for gun-traffickers, and approve the appointment of the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for the first time since 2006. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) attempted to pass a more limited gun control measure that would expand background checks, but the bill was blocked in the Senate. Despite Obama's advocacy and subsequent mass shootings such as the Charleston church shooting, no major gun control bill has passed Congress during Obama's presidency, in part due to the power of 2nd Amendment activists such as the National Rifle Association. Obama's presidency ironically has seen an expansion of gun rights in the United States, as in 2010 the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. City of Chicago that the Second Amendment applies to the states in addition to the federal government. Obama has signed into law two bills containing amendments reducing restrictions on gun owners, one which permits guns to be transported in checked baggage on Amtrak trains and another which allows carrying loaded firearms in national parks located in states allowing concealed carry.
Following Obama's election, many pondered the existence of a "postracial America." However, lingering racial tensions quickly became apparent, and many African-Americans expressed outrage over what they saw as "racial venom" directed at Obama's presidency. In July 2009, prominent African-American Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested at his Cambridge, Massachusetts home by a local police officer, sparking a controversy after Obama stated that the police acted "stupidly" in handling the incident. To reduce tensions, Obama invited Gates and police officer to the White House in what became known as the "Beer Summit". Several other incidents during Obama's presidency sparked outrage in the African-American community and/or the law enforcement community, and Obama sought to build trust between law enforcement officials and civil rights activists. The acquittal of George Zimmerman following the shooting of Trayvon Martin sparked national outrage, leading to Obama giving a speech in which he noted that "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri sparked a wave of protests. These and other events led to the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people. Some in the law enforcement community criticized Obama's condemnation of racial bias after incidents in which police action led to the death of African-American men, while some racial justice activists criticized Obama's expressions of empathy for the police. Though Obama entered office reluctant to talk about race, by 2014 he began openly discussing the disadvantages faced by many members of minority groups.
Taking place in the final months of President George W. Bush's second term, the 2008 election saw the Democratic ticket of Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Joe Biden of Delaware defeat the Republican ticket of Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. Obama took 52.9% of the popular vote and 365 of the 538 electoral votes. Obama had defeated Senator Hillary Clinton (his future Secretary of State) to take the Democratic nomination. In the election, Democrats added to their majorities in both houses of Congress, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid both remained in their posts following the election. Republicans John Boehner and Mitch McConnell continued to serve as House Minority Leader and Senate Minority Leader, respectively.
2010 midterm elections
|Senate leaders||House leaders|
Attacking Obama relentlessly, emphasizing the stalled economy, and fueled by the anger of the Tea Party Movement, Republicans scored a landslide in the 2010 midterm elections, winning control of the House and gaining seats in the Senate. After the election, John Boehner replaced Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and Pelosi became the new House Minority Leader. Boehner pledged to repeal Obamacare and cut federal spending.
Obama called the elections "humbling" and a "shellacking", arguing that the defeat came because not enough Americans had felt the effects of the economic recovery. The Republican majority in the House empowered a party that had been out of power for two years, and House Republicans quickly confronted Obama on issues such as Obamacare and the debt ceiling. The Republican victory in the election also gave Republicans the upper hand in the redistricting that occurred after the 2010 United States census.
2012 re-election campaign
On April 4, 2011, Obama announced that he would seek re-election in the 2012 presidential election. Obama did not face any significant rivals for the 2012 Democratic nomination. Obama's Republican opponent in the general election, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, advocated for lower taxes, spending cuts, an increase in defense spending, and a repeal of Obamacare (which was ironically based on a Massachusetts healthcare plan developed under Romney). Obama's campaign was based in Chicago and run by many former members of the White House staff and members of the successful 2008 campaign. Obama won re-election with 332 (out of a total of 538) electoral votes and 51.1% of the popular vote, making him the first person since Dwight Eisenhower to twice win 51 percent of the vote. According to exit polls, Obama won a majority of the vote from women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, people under 45, people making less than $50,000 per year, people inhabiting large or mid-sized cities, liberals, moderates, the unmarried, gays, and people with no college education, some college education, or graduate degrees. In addition to the presidential election victory, the Democrats also picked up seats in both houses of Congress, but Republicans retained control of the House.
2014 midterm elections
Obama's second mid-term election turned into another wave election, as Republicans won control of the Senate and picked up several governorships. Mitch McConnell replaced Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader, while Reid became the Senate Minority Leader. Republican control of the Senate gave the party the power to block Obama's executive and judicial nominees. The Republican waves in 2010 and 2014 defeated many young Democratic candidates, weakening the farm team of several state Democratic parties.
The 2016 elections will take place on November 8. Obama is term-limited in 2016 due to the 22nd Amendment, though Obama's approval ratings may impact his party's ability to win the race. In June 2016, with the Democratic primaries nearly complete, Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton as his successor. However, according to Glenn Thrush of Politico, Obama had long supported Clinton as his preferred successor and the best chance to carry on the policies of his administration, and Obama dissuaded Joe Biden from running in 2016. In the general election, Clinton will face Republican nominee Donald Trump, who prominently questioned Obama's place of birth in 2011. If Clinton wins the election, Obama would be the second term-limited president to be succeeded by a member of his own party.
Approval ratings and other opinions
After his transition period, Obama entered office with an approval rating of 82% according to Gallup, Obama's approval rating fell to 69% after he took office and announced his first policy decisions. Obama received the support of 90% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and 40% of Republicans in January 2009 polls. By December 2009, Obama's approval rating had fallen to 51%, with Obama receiving approval from roughly 85% of Democrats, 45% of independents, and just 18% of Republicans. In July 2010, after the passage of the Dodd-Frank and Obamacare, Obama's approval rating stood at 45%, with 47% disapproving. Obama's approval rating would remain stable until the 2010 elections, when Republicans won major gains in both houses of Congress and took control of the House. Obama's approval ratings climbed back to 50% in January 2011, but fell to 40% in August 2011 following the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis. Obama's approval ratings slowly increased during 2012, and they rose above 50% shortly before the 2012 election, in which Obama defeated Mitt Romney. After his re-election, Obama's approval ratings reached 57%, but that number fell into the low 40s after the federal government shutdown in October 2013. Obama's approval ratings remained in the mid-to-low 40s until the 2014 elections, when Republicans won gains in both houses of Congress and took control of the Senate. In 2015, Obama's approval ratings climbed to the mid-to-high 40s, with his approval and disapproval ratings roughly matching each other. His approval ratings rose the 50s during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Obama's election also provoked a reaction to his race, birthplace, and religion. As president, Obama faced numerous taunts and racial innuendos, though most overt racist comments were limited to a small fringe. Many Americans, including businessman Donald Trump, theorized that Obama had been born in Kenya; an April 2011 CNN poll taken shortly before Obama released his long-form birth certificate found that 40% of Republicans believed that Obama had been born in Kenya. Many of these "birthers" argued that because Obama was (allegedly) not a citizen, he was not eligible to serve as president under the natural-born-citizen requirements of the Constitution. Despite Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate, which affirmed that Obama was born in Hawaii, a 2015 CNN poll found that 20% of Americans believed that Obama was born outside of the country. Many also claimed that Obama practiced Islam, and a 2015 CNN poll found that 29% of Americans and 43% of Republicans believed Obama to be a Muslim. Even prior to his election as president, Obama had clarified that he was a long-time member of a church affiliated with the United Church of Christ, a mainline Protestant denomination.
Legacy and post-presidency
The Barack Obama Presidential Center will be located in Jackson Park on the University of Chicago's campus. The Obama Foundation hopes to complete the presidential library by 2021. In 2015, Obama founded My Brother's Keeper, an organization which will seek to help young blacks and Hispanics, and which could play a major role in Obama's post-presidency.
In a January 2010 survey by the Siena Research Institute at Siena College in Loudonville, New York—one year into the Obama presidency—238 U.S. history and political science professors ranked Obama 15th of 43 U.S. presidents. In a September 2010 survey by the United States Presidency Centre of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London School of Advanced Study—one year and eight months into the Obama presidency—47 unnamed respondents who were U.K. academic specialists on American history and politics ranked 40 of 42 U.S. presidents from 1789 to 2009, not including Obama; if Obama had been included he would have ranked 8th, behind Harry S. Truman but ahead of Ronald Reagan and all other post-World War II U.S. presidents. In a June 2012 survey by Newsweek magazine—three years and five months into the Obama presidency—ten selected American historians and biographers ranked Obama 10th of 20 U.S. presidents since 1900. In an April 2013 survey by History News Network (HNN) website in Seattle—four years and three months into the Obama presidency—203 scholars from 69 top U.S. colleges and universities gave Obama a B- grade on an A–F scale. A February 2015 Brookings Institution survey of members of the American Political Science Association put Obama in 18th place out of the 43 presidents.
- Timeline of the presidency of Barack Obama
- Speeches of Barack Obama
- Barack Obama Presidential Center
- List of people pardoned by Barack Obama
- Federal political scandals, 2009-2016
- Roberts Court
- Berman, Russell (22 April 2016). "'The Most Important Takeover of Any Organization in History'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Baker, Peter; Zeleny, Jeff (November 6, 2008). "For Obama, No Time to Bask in Victory As He Starts to Build a Transition Team". The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
- United States Constitution. "20th Amendment to the United States Constitution". Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- "Obama Signs First Presidential Proclamation". CNN. January 20, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
- "The Obama Cabinet: Confirmations & Nominations". NPR. January 22, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- Youngman, Sam (December 28, 2009). "Obama's 'team of rivals' Cabinet living out the president's 'no drama' mantra". The Hill. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Smith, Ben (November 14, 2008). "The Clinton band is back together". Politico. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- Kamen, Al (April 29, 2009). "Just Inside 100 Days, Sebelius Completes the Cabinet". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Shear, Michael (15 February 2016). "More Republicans Say They'll Block Supreme Court Nominee". New York Times. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
- Kelly, Amita (16 March 2016). "McConnell: Blocking Supreme Court Nomination 'About A Principle, Not A Person'". NPR. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- "Judgeship Appointments By President". United States Courts. Retrieved 21 July 2016. Includes only confirmed nominees and does not include USCAFC and Court of International Trade appointments.
- Toobin, Jeffrey (October 27, 2014). "The Obama Brief". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- McCarthy, Tom (November 21, 2013). "Senate approves change to filibuster rule after repeated Republican blocks". The Guardian. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Everett, Burgess (April 20, 2015). "The Senate's 'nuclear' fallout". Politico. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Obama halts all regulations pending review". MSNBC. Associated Press. January 20, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- Shear, Michael (27 July 2016). "Threat to Legacy Gives Obama Powerful Motive to Stump for Hillary Clinton". New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Glaberson, William (January 21, 2009). "Obama Issues Directive to Shut Down Guantánamo". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Obama Reverses Key Bush Security Policies, The New York Times, January 22, 2009
- "Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel". The White House. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- Obama reverses Bush abortion-funds policy
- "A Wonderful Day". The White House. January 29, 2009. Retrieved January 29, 2009.
- Macon Phillips (April 1, 2013). "CHIP". White House. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Stolberg, Sheryl (March 9, 2009). "Obama Lifts Bush's Strict Limits on Stem Cell Research". The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- Savage, Charlie (March 9, 2009). "Obama Looks to Limit Impact of Tactic Bush Used to Sidestep New Laws". The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2009.
- Savage, Charlie (June 27, 2009). "A Bill Signing, With Reservations". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2009.
- "Obama signs sweeping public land reform legislation". CNN. 30 March 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Woodward, Calvin (April 1, 2009). "PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama tax pledge up in smoke". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Chaddock, Gail Russell (14 February 2009). "USA POLITICS Obama wins his economic stimulus package, but without the bipartisanship he sought". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- Grunwald, Michael (23 August 2012). "The Party of No: New Details on the GOP Plot to Obstruct Obama". Time. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- Lizza, Ryan (30 January 2012). "The Obama Memos". New Yorker. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
- Sahadi, Jeanne (January 27, 2009). "Stimulus with interest: $1.2 trillion". CNN. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Sahadi, Jeanne (February 17, 2009). "Stimulus: Now for the hard part". CNN. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "A-1. Employment status of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and over, 1980 to date". Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- "Table 1.1.5. Gross Domestic Product". Bureau of Economic Analysis. United States Department of Commerce. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- Includes both "on-budget" and "off-budget" expenditures and revenues. "Fiscal Year 2017 Historical Tables" (PDF). Office of Management and Budget. pp. 28–29. Retrieved February 27, 2016.
- The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2016, page 59, citing Budget of the U.S. Government, Fiscal Year 2015 (Office of Management and Budget)
- The income, outlay, and deficit numbers reflect fiscal years which last from October to September; for example, the 2014 fiscal year lasted from October 2013 to September 2014.
- Henry, Ed (January 19, 2009). "Obama's top priority: the economy". CNN. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
- Goldman, Russell; Jake Tapper (January 5, 2009). "Obama Pushes Economic Plan, Saying It Can't Wait". ABC News. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
- Puzzanghera, Jim (27 June 2014). "Shocked into reality by the Great Recession". LA Times. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- Condon, Stephanie (April 15, 2010). "What's Obama Doing to Your Taxes?". CBS News. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- Grunwald, Michael (February 17, 2014). "5 Years After Stimulus, Obama Says It Worked". Time. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- Scherer, Michael (December 9, 2009). "Calling for a New Stimulus, Obama Is Ready to Rumble". Time. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- Christie, Les (October 16, 2012). "Obama's housing scorecard". CNN. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Orton, Kathy (May 8, 2015). "Homeowners get more time to take advantage of HAMP, HARP". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Irwin, Neil (August 26, 2009). "Obama Picks Bernanke for Second Term as Federal Reserve Chairman". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- Epstein, Jennifer (October 9, 2013). "Obama picks Yellen as next Fed chair". Politico. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- Applebaum, Binyamin (December 16, 2015). "Fed Raises Key Interest Rate for First Time in Almost a Decade". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- "Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey". United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. August 1, 2009.
- Stephanopoulos, George (July 5, 2009). "Biden: We 'Misread the Economy'". George's Bottom Line. ABC News. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
- MacGillis, Alec (January 13, 2010). "Economic stimulus has created or saved nearly 2 million jobs, White House says". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Theodossiou, Eleni; Hipple, Steven F. (2011). "Unemployment Remains High in 2010" (PDF). Monthly Labor Review. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 134 (3): 3–22. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
- "Obama's economy in 10 charts". CNN. October 28, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Soergel, Andrew (July 16, 2015). "Where are all the workers?". US News and World Report. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Leonhardt, David (February 17, 2015). "Inequality Has Actually Not Risen Since the Financial Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Harwood, John (February 19, 2015). "Obama's Economic Report Focuses on Income Inequality". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Smith, Aaron (19 July 2009). "Minimum wage hike: More money or fewer jobs?". CNN. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Devaney, Tim (5 May 2015). "Dems bet 2016 on $12 minimum wage". The Hill. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Levine, Marianne (17 May 2016). "White House details sweeping measure to raise wages". Politico. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- "Percent Change in Real Gross Domestic Product (Quarterly)". National Income and Product Accounts Table. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
- "Percent Change in Real Gross Domestic Product (Annual)". National Income and Product Accounts Table. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
- Lee, Timothy (1 August 2016). "The big puzzle in economics today: why is the economy growing so slowly?". Vox. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Irwin, Neil (6 August 2016). "We're in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here?". New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
- Sorkin, Andrew Ross (September 14, 2009). "A Tough Crowd on Wall Street". The New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Censky, Annalyn (July 21, 2010). "Obama on new law: 'No more taxpayer bailouts'". CNN. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
- Konczal, Mike (July 21, 2015). "Dodd-Frank turns 5 today — it's Obama's most underappreciated achievement". Vox. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Calmes, Jackie (September 17, 2010). "Obama Picks Warren to Set Up Consumer Bureau". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Dennis, Brady (July 22, 2010). "Obama signs financial overhaul into law". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Dean, Nathan (July 21, 2015). "Dodd-Frank at five years: Several key rules remain". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- Goldfarb, Zachary (2 July 2014). "President Obama sounds ready to take on the big banks". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Obama signs new rules for credit cards into law". NBC. Associated Press. May 22, 2009. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- For single earners, unadjusted for inflation. "Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History" (PDF). Tax Foundation. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Numbers reflect post-OBRA 93 tax brackets. 1994 tax brackets: 15%: 0-22,750, 28%: 22,750-55,100, 31%: 55,100-115,000, 36%: 115,000-250,000, 39.6%: 250,000+
- Numbers reflect post-Bush tax cuts tax brackets. 2004 tax brackets: 10%: 0-7,150 15%: 7,150-29,050, 25%: 29,050-70,350, 28%: 70,350-146,750, 33%: 146,750-319,100, 35%: 319,100+
- Numbers reflect post-American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 tax brackets. 2013 tax brackets: 10%: 0-8,925, 15%: 8,925-36,250, 25%: 36,250-87,850, 28%: 87,850-183,250, 33%: 183,250-398,350, 35%: 398,350-400,000, 39.6%: 400,000+
- Smith, Donna (December 9, 2010). "Senate Republicans block 9/11 health bill". Reuters. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Stirewalt, Chris (December 1, 2010). "Today's Power Play: Republicans and Democrats Play Chicken With Lame Duck". Fox News Channel. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
- Herszenhorn, David M.; Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (December 7, 2010). "Democrats Skeptical of Obama on New Tax Plan". The New York Times.
- "Obama signs tax deal into law". CNN. December 17, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Nick Wing, Bernie Sanders Filibuster: Senator Stalls Tax Cut Deal, December 10, 2010, The Huffington Post.
- "Congress votes to extend Bush-era tax cuts until '12". The Washington Post. December 17, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (January 1, 2013). "Divided House Passes Tax Deal in End to Latest Fiscal Standoff". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Yellin, Jessica (January 2, 2013). "Fiscal cliff deal stops many tax hikes, but leaves big issues pending". CNN. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Cantor, Eric (March 4, 2013). "The House of Pain". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Calmes, Jackie (June 16, 2013). "Lines Blur in U.S.-Europe Debate on Austerity". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- O'Keefe, Ed (November 27, 2012). "What is the Simpson-Bowles Commission? (and why does it still matter?)". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Faler, Brian (October 25, 2014). "The ghost of Simpson-Bowles". Politico. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Schroeder, Peter (April 15, 2011). "White House: Obama hasn't changed on 'clean' debt vote". The Hill. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Bendery, Jennifer (July 27, 2011). "House Democratic Leaders To Obama: Use The 14th Amendment". The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
- Wallsten, Peter (March 17, 2012). "Obama's evolution: Behind the failed 'grand bargain' on the debt". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Bai, Matt (March 28, 2012). "Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Thrush, Glenn (September 25, 2015). "Boehner and Obama: Caught in a bad bromance". Politico. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Montopoli, Brian (2 August 2011). "Obama signs debt limit bill after nasty fight". CBS News. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Smith, Matt (19 February 2013). "CNN Explains: Sequestration". CNN. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Weisman, Jonathan; Peters, Jeremy W. (September 30, 2013). "Government Near Broad Shutdown in Budget Impasse". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- Weisman, Jonathan; Parker, Ashley (16 October 2013). "Republicans Back Down, Ending Crisis Over Shutdown and Debt Limit". New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Montgomery, Lori (18 December 2013). "Senate passes bipartisan budget agreement". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Herszenhorn, David (October 26, 2015). "Congress Strikes a Budget Deal With President". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Vogel, Kenneth; Allen, Mike (28 January 2009). "Obama finds room for lobbyists". Politico. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Obama White House Discloses Two More Lobbyist Waivers Granted, ABC News, March 10, 2009
- Schouten, Fredreka (January 27, 2009). "Geithner names ex-lobbyist as Treasury chief of staff". USA Today. Retrieved February 14, 2009.
- Gerstein, Josh (31 December 2015). "How Obama failed to shut Washington's revolving door". Politico. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- Eilperin, Juliet (March 22, 2015). "Obama promised to curb the influence of lobbyists. Has he succeeded?". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Arnold, Jason Ross (March 16, 2015). "Has Obama delivered the 'most transparent' administration in history?". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Macon Phillips (January 20, 2009). "Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov". The White House. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- Obama breaks five-day pledge, Politico, February 5, 2009
- Barack Obama Campaign Promise No. 234: Allow five days of public comment before signing bills, Politifact, February 4, 2009
- "Executive Order 13489 – Presidential Records". The White House. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- "New Obama Orders on Transparency, FOIA Requests". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- "The Torturers' Manifesto". The New York Times. April 18, 2009. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Smith, R. Jeffrey (April 19, 2009). "Justice Dept. Memos' Careful Legalese Obscured Harsh Reality". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
- Scott Shane (June 11, 2010). "Obama Takes a Hard Line Against Leaks to Press". The New York Times.
- Bill Kovach: "It strikes me as a much more aggressive approach on the part of the government than I have experienced in 30 years." Leonard Downie describes the Obama administration as the "most militant" since Richard Nixon's regarding leaks. Richard McGregor (May 28, 2013). "Press freedom: A heavy-handed approach". Financial Times. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
- Greenwald: Obama engaged in ‘unprecedented war on whistleblowers’," The Washington Post
- "The War on Whistleblowers: On the Sin of Being Correct", The Nation
- "Obama's War on Whistleblowers" Mother Jones.
- "Setback in case against accused NSA leaker", Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post, November 29, 2010. Retrieved March 10, 2011
- Indictment Continues Obama administration's War on Leaks ,Shane Harris, washingtonian, January 25, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2011
- "U.S. Analyst Is Indicted in Leak Case", August 27, 2010, Scott Shane, The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2011
- Maria Glod (May 25, 2010). "Former FBI employee sentenced for leaking classified papers". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 5, 2013.
- Scott Shane (January 5, 2013). "Ex-Officer Is First From C.I.A. to Face Prison for a Leak". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- Paul Adams (February 28, 2013). "Bradley Manning pleads guilty to some Wikileaks charges". BBC News. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Finn, Peter; Horwitz, Sari (June 21, 2013). "U.S. charges Snowden with espionage". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- Fredrickson, Anna (October 6, 2015). "Is Snowden ready to come home?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 21, 2015.
- "Obama in Egypt reaches out to Muslim world". CNN. June 4, 2009. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Zeleny, Jeff; Cowell, Alan (June 5, 2009). "Addressing Muslims, Obama Pushes Mideast Peace". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- "Inaugural Address". ABC News. January 20, 2009. Retrieved April 14, 2012.
- Sanger, David (17 November 2012). "Even With a 'Light Footprint,' It's Hard to Sidestep the Middle East". New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- Eilperin, Juliet (July 25, 2015). "Obama commits U.S. to intensified fight against terrorists in East Africa". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Wong, Scott (April 13, 2015). "GOP: Obama war request is dead". The Hill. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Parsons, Christi (April 3, 2015). "Iran nuclear deal is key to Obama's nonproliferation agenda". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Clinton, Hillary (November 2011). "America's Pacific Century". Foreign Policy. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
- "Barack Obama says Asia-Pacific is 'top US priority'". BBC. November 17, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Kumar, Nikhil (January 23, 2015). "5 Things You Need to Know About Obama's Visit to India". CNN. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Friedman, Thomas (April 5, 2015). "Iran and the Obama Doctrine". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Goldberg, Jeffrey (April 2016). "The Obama Doctrine". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- Goldberg, Jeffrey (October 9, 2015). "Explaining the Toxic Obama-Netanyahu Marriage". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Collinson, Stephen (October 30, 2014). "The personal tension between Obama, Netanyahu". CNN. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "George Mitchell resigns as Middle East envoy". CNN. May 13, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- "Clinton rebukes Israel over homes". BBC News. March 12, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Bresnahan, John (October 1, 2015). "Exclusive: Obama brushed off Reid's plea on Palestinian state". Politico. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- The table shows the number of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at the beginning of each year. Troop numbers for 2007 and 2008 are included as a reference.
- "American Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Logan, Joseph (December 18, 2011). "Last U.S. troops leave Iraq, ending war". Reuters. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "Tens of thousands at St. Louis parade honor Iraq War vets". USA Today. Associated Press. January 28, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Bratu, Becky (January 11, 2013). "US troops to move into support role in Afghanistan in the spring, Obama says". NBC. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "How many U.S. troops are still in Afghanistan?". CBS News. January 9, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Tan, Michelle (January 16, 2015). "400 U.S. troops will deploy to train Syrian opposition". USA Today. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Phillips, Dave (December 31, 2014). "Mission Ends in Afghanistan, but Sacrifices Are Not Over for U.S. Soldiers". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Youssef, Nancy A. (2 February 2016). "Pentagon Won't Say How Many Troops Are Fighting ISIS". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
Officially, there are now 3,650 U.S. troops in Iraq, there primarily to help train the Iraqi national army. But in reality, there are already about 4,450 U.S. troops in Iraq, plus another nearly 7,000 contractors supporting the American government’s operations.
- Jaffe, Greg; Ryan, Misse (26 January 2016). "The U.S. was supposed to leave Afghanistan by 2017. Now it might take decades.". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
- Broder, John (July 16, 2008). "Obama and McCain Duel Over Iraq". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- DeYoung, Karen (February 28, 2009). "Obama Sets Timetable for Iraq Withdrawal, Calling It Part of Broader Middle East Strategy". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "Iraq War in figures". BBC. December 14, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Dorell, Oran (January 12, 2014). "U.S. war gains in Iraq now lost or threatened". USA Today. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Obama Authorizes Air Strikes in Iraq". ABC News. August 7, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- Bender, Bryan (June 10, 2015). "Obama's Iraq Quagmire". Politico. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Hodge, Amanda (February 19, 2009). "Obama launches Afghanistan surge". The Australian.
- Tyson, Ann Scott (October 13, 2009). "Number of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Overlooks Thousands of Support Troops". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "Gates: More Troops For Afghanistan". news10.net. January 27, 2009.
- Baker, Peter (December 5, 2009). "How Obama Came to Plan for 'Surge' in Afghanistan". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- McFadden, Robert D. (December 13, 2010). "Strong American Voice in Diplomacy and Crisis". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
- Landler, Mark (May 1, 2012). "Obama Signs Pact in Kabul, Turning Page in Afghan War". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
- "Hillary Clinton says Afghanistan 'major non-Nato ally'". BBC News. July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Landler, Mark (May 27, 2014). "U.S. Troops to Leave Afghanistan by End of 2016". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Nordland, Rod (September 29, 2014). "President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan Is Sworn In, Even as He Shares the Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Bowman, Tom (January 1, 2015). "After Years Of Conflict, U.S. Mission Shifts In Afghanistan". NPR. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Rosenberg, Matthew (October 15, 2015). "In Reversal, Obama Says U.S. Soldiers Will Stay in Afghanistan to 2017". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Landler, Mark (6 July 2016). "Obama Says He Will Keep More Troops in Afghanistan Than Planned". New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Nakamura, David (1 March 2016). "China testing Obama as it expands its influence in Southeast Asia". Washington Post. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- Makinen, Julie (15 February 2016). "Obama hosts ASEAN summit, a first in the U.S.". LA Times. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- Gowen, Annie (November 13, 2015). "Burma victory caps a decades-long battle for opposition leader Suu Kyi". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Hirschfield Davis, Julie (14 September 2016). "Obama Pledges to Lift All Sanctions Against Myanmar". New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
- Ap, Tiffany; Rizzo, Jennifer; Liptak, Kevin (23 May 2016). "Obama lifts U.S. arms ban on Vietnam". CNN. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- Nakamura, David (8 September 2016). "An incomplete victory lap for Obama on his final presidential trip to Asia". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- Hang-Sun, Choe; Perlez, Jane (8 September 2016). "North Korea Tests a Nuclear Device, South Says". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- Dorning, Mike (February 19, 2015). "Return Would Undermine Reset". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- John, Mark (April 1, 2009). "After Balkans duo, NATO enlargement to slow". Reuters. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- "Obama, Russian President Sign Arms Treaty". CNN. April 8, 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2010.
- Sheridan, Mary Beth (December 22, 2010). "Senate ratifies new U.S.-Russia nuclear weapons treaty". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Palmer, Doug (December 20, 2012). "Obama grants Russia 'permanent normal trade relations'". Reuters. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Torbati, Yeganeh (July 30, 2015). "U.S. imposes more Russian and Ukrainian sanctions". Reuters. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- W, C; O, A (16 December 2014). "What's gone wrong with Russia's economy". The Economist. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (June 11, 2015). "Defying Obama, Many in Congress Press to Arm Ukraine". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Roth, Andrew; Priest, Dana (16 September 2016). "Putin wants revenge and respect, and hacking the U.S. is his way of getting it". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
- Granville, Kevin (May 11, 2015). "The Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal Explained". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Applebaum, Binyamin (October 12, 2011). "Congress Ends 5-Year Standoff on Trade Deals in Rare Accord". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Kanter, James (March 23, 2014). "U.S. Official Lobbies for Trans-Atlantic Trade Pact". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- LaFranchi, Howard (April 18, 2015). "Trans-Pacific Partnership: Obama pushes US lead role in Asia (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "A Corporate Trojan Horse": Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws. Democracy Now! October 4, 2013.
- Carter, Zach (December 8, 2013). Obama Faces Backlash Over New Corporate Powers In Secret Trade Deal. The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- Zach Carter (June 19, 2013). "Elizabeth Warren Opposing Obama Trade Nominee Michael Froman." The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
- Nakamura, David (October 5, 2015). "Deal reached on Pacific Rim trade pact in boost for Obama economic agenda". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "Trans-Pacific Partnership: vast trade deal made public". BBC. November 6, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Weisman, Jonathan (June 24, 2015). "Trade Authority Bill Wins Final Approval in Senate". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Phillips, Amber (November 12, 2015). "The 7 big things on President Obama's to-do list, with one year to go". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Everett, Burgess; Palmer, Doug (14 July 2016). "How Trump and Clinton teamed up to sink trade". Politico. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Liptak, Kevin (November 19, 2015). "Obama still plans to shut Guantanamo. Can he?". CNN. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
- Finn, Peter (January 21, 2009). "Obama Seeks Halt to Legal Proceedings at Guantanamo". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
- Obama, Barack (January 22, 2009). "Executive Order 13491 – Ensuring Lawful Interrogations". The White House. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- "Obama signs executive order to close Guantanamo Bay". CNN. January 22, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
- Glaberson, William (March 13, 2009). "U.S. Won't Label Terror Suspects as 'Combatants'". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
- Schwartz, Mattathias (22 January 2016). "Is Obama Serious About Closing Guantánamo?". New Yorker. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
- Watkins, Thomas (7 December 2015). "'9/11 Five' head back to court, though trial is still distant". Yahoo. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Helene Cooper; Peter Baker (May 3, 2011). "Clues Gradually Led to the Location of Osama bin Laden". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- "Osama bin Laden buried at sea after being killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan". The Washington Post. May 2, 2011
- "Official offers details of bin Laden raid" – newsday.com. Retrieved May 2, 2011
- Schabner, Dean; Karen Travers (May 1, 2011). "Osama bin Laden Killed by U.S. Forces in Pakistan". ABC News. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- Baker, Peter; Helene Cooper; Mark Mazzetti (May 2, 2011). "Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- Dorning, Mike (May 2, 2011). "Death of Bin Laden May Strengthen Obama's Hand in Domestic, Foreign Policy". Bloomberg News. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- "World Reaction To Osama Bin Laden's Death". NPR. May 2, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- Coll, Steve (November 24, 2014). "THE UNBLINKING STARE". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Shane, Scott (April 23, 2015). "Drone Strikes Reveal Uncomfortable Truth: U.S. Is Often Unsure About Who Will Die". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "On Eve of Elections, Dismal Mood in Pakistan". Pew Research. May 7, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Shah, Aqil (17 May 2016). "Drone blowback in Pakistan is a myth. Here's why.". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "U.N. envoy calls for probe into U.S. drone attacks". CNN. June 4, 2009.
- Nebehay, Stephanie, "U.N. Investigator Decries U.S. Use of Killer Drones", Reuters, June 19, 2012 (wire service report)
- Robert Dreyfuss (September 30, 2011). "Assassinating Awlaki: Obama Can Kill Anyone He Wants To". The Nation.
- Kevin Drum. "Obama Assassinates U.S. Citizen". Mother Jones. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Shane, Scott (April 6, 2010). "U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Charlie Savage (October 8, 2011). "Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen". The New York Times.
- Becker, Jo; Shane, Scott (May 29, 2012). "Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will". The New York Times. pp. 7–8. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- Warren, Strobel. "Secret talks in Canada, Vatican City led to Cuba breakthrough". Reuters. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- Morello, Carol; DeYoung, Karen. "Secret U.S.-Cuba diplomacy ended in landmark deal on prisoners, future ties". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- "Nelson Mandela's memorial service". Daily Mail. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
- Baker, Peter (December 17, 2014). "U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Baker, Peter. "U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- Wall, Katie (May 29, 2015). "U.S. Officially Removes Cuba From State Sponsors of Terrorism List". NBC News. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
- Oppman, Patrick (August 14, 2015). "Raising of Old Glory in Havana expected to help heal old wounds". CNN. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Pace, Julie (20 March 2016). "With visit, Obama aims to push acrimony with Cuba into past". AP. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- Horsley, Scott (April 13, 2015). "With A Handshake And More, Obama Shifts U.S.-Latin America Policy". NPR. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Welsh, Teresa (December 18, 2014). "Renewed U.S.-Cuba Ties Will Benefit Larger Relations With Latin America". US News and World Report. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Cohen, Roger (July 30, 2009). "The Making of an Iran Policy". The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Romero, Francis (January 25, 2011). "George W. Bush and the Axis of Evil". Time. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- "Obama Debate Comments Set Off Firestorm". The Washington Post. July 24, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
- "Iran nuclear agreement: A timeline". CBS. Associated Press. July 14, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- "Iran Agrees to Framework of Nuclear Deal". The New York Times. April 2, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
- "G.O.P. Senators' Letter to Iran About Nuclear Deal Angers White House". The New York Times. March 9, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (September 10, 2015). "Democrats Hand Victory to Obama on Iran Nuclear Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Broad, William (July 14, 2015). "The Iran Nuclear Deal – A Simple Guide". The New York Times. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
- Fisher, Max (20 January 2016). "Why we fight about Iran". Vox. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- Ryan, Yasmine (January 26, 2011). "How Tunisia's revolution began". Al Jazeera. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- Black, Ian (October 21, 2012). "Barack Obama, the Arab spring and a series of unforeseen events". The Guardian. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Cooper, Helene (September 24, 2012). "In Arab Spring, Obama Finds a Sharp Test". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Liptak, Kevin (March 31, 2015). "Obama lifts freeze, ships arms to Egypt". CNN. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Naylor, Hugh (November 13, 2015). "Yemen is turning into Saudi Arabia's Vietnam". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Blight, Garry; Pulham, Sheila; Torpey, Paul (March 22, 2011). "Arab spring: an interactive timeline of Middle East protests". The Guardian. London.
- "Obama seeks to calm 'beat of war' over Syria, Iran". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. March 7, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "Syria's Civil War". The Atlantic. June 14, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Pace, Julie (October 31, 2015). "Analysis: Obama crosses own red line with Syrian deployment". Yahoo!. Associated Press. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Beauchamp, Zack (October 2, 2015). "Syria's civil war: a brief history". Vox. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Shaheen, Kareem (May 21, 2015). "Isis 'controls 50% of Syria' after seizing historic city of Palmyra". The Guardian. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Fisher, Ian (18 November 2015). "In Rise of ISIS, No Single Missed Key but Many Strands of Blame". New York Times. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- Labott, Elise (20 June 2015). "State Department report: ISIS breaking new ground as new leader in terror groups". CNN. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Barnard, Anne; Schmitt, Eric (6 August 2016). "Military Success in Syria Gives Putin Upper Hand in U.S. Proxy War". New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
- "Obama calls on Americans to welcome Syrian refugees as latter-day Pilgrims". The Guardian. 26 November 2015.
- "Clash breaks out as Libya braces for 'day of anger'". Al Arabiya. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "Nations condemn Libyan crackdown". Al Jazeera. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "Obama administration Urged to Squeeze Libya, Take Concrete Action". Fox News Channel. February 22, 2011.
- Watt, Nicholas; MacAskill, Ewen; Pilkington, Ed; Black, Ian; Harding, Luke (March 17, 2011). "Britain, France and US prepare for air strikes against Gaddafi". The Guardian. London.
- "Gaddafi 'not targeted' by allied strikes". BBC News, March 21, 2011.
- Rizzo, Jennifer (June 10, 2011). "US providing 'unique capabilities' to the Libya mission". CNN.
- "Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Libya".
- "Libyan diaspora celebrates fall of Tripoli".
- "Libya crisis: Obama appeals to Gulf states". BBC. April 18, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Savage, Charlie (June 15, 2011). "White House Defends Continuing U.S. Role in Libya Operation". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Urquhart, Conal (September 22, 2012). "Libyan protesters force Islamist militia out of Benghazi". The Guardian. London. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
- Wheaton, Sarah (July 7, 2015). "Obama picks new top diplomat to Libya". Politico. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Shear, Michael (June 3, 2015). "In Pushing for Revised Surveillance Program, Obama Strikes His Own Balance". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Lichtblau, Eric & Risen, James (April 15, 2009). "N.S.A.'s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
- Cohen, Tom (May 27, 2011). "Obama approves extension of expiring Patriot Act provisions". CNN. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Mezzofiore, Gianluca (June 17, 2013). "NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden: Washington Snoopers Are Criminals". International Business Times. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
- Ovide, Shira (June 8, 2013). "U.S. Official Releases Details of Prism Program". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Madison, Lucy (June 19, 2013). "Obama Defends 'Narrow' Surveillance Programs". CBS News. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
- Thorp, Frank (June 2, 2015). "Barack Obama Signs 'USA Freedom Act' to Reform NSA Surveillance". NBC. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Isidore, Chris (January 28, 2015). "The Obama oil boom". CNN. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Gardner, Timothy (December 18, 2015). "Congress kills U.S. oil export ban, boosts solar, wind power". Yahoo!. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
- Cama, Timothy (19 July 2016). "Obama makes new push on solar power". The Hill. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Baker, Peter (May 27, 2010). "Obama Extends Moratorium; Agency Chief Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
- "Obama, in Gulf, pledges to push on stopping leak". USA Today. May 27, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- Davenport, Coral (15 March 2016). "In Shift, Obama Won't Open Southeast Atlantic Coast to Drilling". New York Times. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
- Davenport, Coral (November 6, 2015). "Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Keystone veto override fails. March 4, 2015.
- Hirschfield Davis, Julie; Landler, Mark; Davenport, Coral (8 September 2016). "Obama on Climate Change: The Trends Are 'Terrifying'". New York Times. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- Davenport, Coral (September 28, 2015). "Many Conservative Republicans Believe Climate Change Is a Real Threat". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Lizza, Ryan (October 11, 2010). "As the World Burns". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- AP (June 27, 2009). "Obama implores Senate to pass climate bill". NBC. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Walsh, Bryan (July 26, 2010). "Why the Climate Bill Died". Time. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Grunwald, Michael. "Inside the war on coal". Politico. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Eilperin, Juliet (June 25, 2013). "Obama unveils ambitious agenda to combat climate change, bypassing Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Davenport, Carol (March 31, 2015). "Obama's Strategy on Climate Change, Part of Global Deal, Is Revealed". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Eilperin, Juliet (December 19, 2009). "Climate deal falls short of key goals". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Landler, Mark (November 11, 2014). "U.S. and China Reach Climate Accord After Months of Talks". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Davenport, Coral (June 30, 2015). "Global Climate Pact Gains Momentum as China, U.S. and Brazil Detail Plans". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Restuccia, Andrew (September 7, 2015). "GOP to attack climate pact at home and abroad". Politico. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Davenport, Coral (December 12, 2015). "Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Mufson, Steven (December 12, 2015). "Paris accord is a big win for Obama, even as climate dangers still loom". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Broder, John M. (May 19, 2009). "Obama to Toughen Rules on Emissions and Mileage". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Vlasic, Bill (28 August 2012). "U.S. Sets Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards". New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" (PDF). April 20, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 6, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Shepardson, David (20 January 2016). "Electric vehicle sales fall far short of Obama goal". Reuters. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Ex-astronaut Bolden to lead Nasa". BBC. July 16, 2009.
- Amos, Jonathan (February 1, 2010). "Obama cancels Moon return project". BBC News. Retrieved March 7, 2010.
- Achenbach, Joel (February 1, 2010). "NASA budget for 2011 eliminates funds for manned lunar missions". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- Clara Moskowitz (June 24, 2010). "Misconceptions swirl around Obama space plan". MSNBC. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- "Review of U.S. Plans Committee" (PDF). Human Space Flights Committee. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- Achenbach, Joel (November 23, 2013). "Which way to space?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Wall, Mike (November 22, 2013). "White House unveils new US space transportation policy". NBC. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Gould, Joe (June 29, 2015). "Constructing a Cyber Superpower". Defense News. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Bennett, Cory (April 1, 2015). "Obama declares cyberattacks a 'national emergency'". The Hill. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Harris, Shane (March 18, 2015). "China Reveals Its Cyberwar Secrets". Daily Beast. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Risen, Tom (December 18, 2015). "Obama Signs Cybersecurity Law In Spending Package". US News and World Report. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
- Baraniuk, Chris (18 August 2016). "Is Russia hacking the US election?". BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
- Taub, Amanda (29 July 2016). "D.N.C. Hack Raises a Frightening Question: What's Next?". New York Times. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Shear, Michael; Fandos, Nicholas (15 September 2016). "Concern Over Colin Powell's Hacked Emails Becomes a Fear of Being Next". New York Times.
- Perrin, Andrew (26 June 2015). "Americans' Internet Access: 2000-2015". Pew. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Zezima, Katie (15 July 2015). "Obama announces pilot program to expand broadband to low-income households". Washington Post. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Ruiz, Rebecca (12 March 2015). "F.C.C. Sets Net Neutrality Rules". New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Naylor, Brian (4 February 2015). "Remaking The U.S. Government's Online Image, One Website At A Time". NPR. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Peterson, Andrea (24 October 2015). "How the government tries to recruit hackers on their own turf". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Laing, Keith (20 December 2015). "Obama's proposed high-speed rail network stuck in station". The Hill. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Risen, Tom (14 January 2016). "Obama to Propose $4 Billion for Self-Driving Cars". US News and World Report. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Ferris, Sarah (12 January 2016). "Obama vows to cure cancer 'once and for all'". The Hill. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Keller, Bill (December 13, 2015). "On Pardons, Obama's the Stingiest President Since John Adams". Politico. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Office of Public Affairs (October 19, 2009). "Attorney General announces formal medical marijuana guidelines". U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
Ogden, David W. (October 19, 2009). "Memorandum for selected United States Attorneys: Investigations and prosecutions in states authorizing the medical use of marijuana" (PDF). U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
Stout, David; Moore, Solomon (October 20, 2009). "U.S. won't prosecute in states that allow medical marijuana". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
Johnson, Connie (October 20, 2009). "U.S. eases stance on medical marijuana. Attorney general says prosecuting such cases 'will not be a priority'". The Washington Post. p. A1. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
- Egelko, Bob (December 18, 2009). "U.S. ends funding ban for needle exchanges". San Francisco Chronicle. p. A126. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
- "Obama signs bill reducing cocaine sentencing gap". CNN. August 3, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Ng, Christina (November 7, 2012). "Colorado, Washington Become First States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana". ABC News. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Richey, Warren (May 4, 2015). "Supreme Court prods Obama administration in Colorado marijuana dispute (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Sullum, Jacob (January 1, 2015). "Is Obama Finally Ready To Dial Back The War On Drugs?". Forbes. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Dickinson, Tim (February 16, 2012). "Obama's War on Pot". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- Savage, Charlie (18 August 2016). "U.S. to Phase Out Use of Private Prisons for Federal Inmates". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
- Zeleny, Jeff (28 October 2009). "Obama Signs Hate Crimes Bill". New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Jesse Lee. "The President Signs Repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell": "Out of Many, We Are One"". White House. Retrieved December 22, 2010.
- Sink, Justin (November 7, 2013). "Obama urges ENDA vote in House". The Hill. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Benen, Steve (November 12, 2015). "Obama White House throws support behind Equality Act". MSNBC. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Gast, Phil (May 9, 2012). "Obama announces he supports same-sex marriage". CNN. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Scott, Eugene (June 30, 2015). "Barack Obama calls gay marriage case plaintiff Jim Obergefell". CNN. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Applebaum, Binyamin; Shear, Michael (13 August 2016). "Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It". New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
- Diamond, Jeremy (July 21, 2014). "Obama bars federal contractors from LGBT discrimination". CNN. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Rosenberg, Matthew; Phillips, Dave (3 December 2015). "All Combat Roles Now Open to Women, Defense Secretary Says". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
- Rizzo, Jennifer; Cohen, Zachary (30 June 2016). "Pentagon ends transgender ban". CNN. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Onishi, Norimitsu (July 21, 2015). "Obama Kenya Trip Sets Off Gay Rights Debate in Africa". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Lerer, Lisa (22 December 2010). "No Congress Since 1960s Has Impact on Public as 111th". Bloomberg. Retrieved 20 April 2016. The first number indicates the members of Congress voting for the bill, and the second indicates the members of Congress voting against the bill. The "Senate Democrat" column includes independents caucusing with the Democrats. Bills that passed are shaded green.
- Sack, Kevin (July 23, 2008). "Health Plan From Obama Spurs Debate". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Ornstein, Norm (July 6, 2015). "The Real Story of Obamacare's Birth". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Herszenhorn, David (July 27, 2009). "Health Policy Is Carved Out at Table for 6". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- "Timeline: Milestones in Obama's quest for healthcare reform". Reuters. March 22, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
- Murray, Shailagh (December 25, 2009). "Senate passes health-care bill, now must reconcile it with House". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Grier, Peter (December 3, 2009). "Three big differences between House and Senate healthcare bills". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Obama Not Worried About 'Procedural Rules' like "Deem and Pass" for Health Care – Political Punch". ABC News. March 17, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
- Somashekhar, Sandhya; Kane, Paul (March 18, 2010). "Democrats yet to decide on health-care bill bear the weight of Washington". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Cusack, Bob (10 February 2016). "The chaotic fight for ObamaCare". The Hill. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- Chait, Jonathan (March 21, 2010). "Stupak Makes A Deal, Reform To Pass". The New Republic.
- Murray, Shailagh (March 22, 2010). "House passes health-care reform bill without Republican votes". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- Gay Stolberg, Sheryl (March 23, 2010). "Obama Signs Health Care Overhaul Bill, With a Flourish". The New York Times. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
- David Beardsley (March 25, 2010). "Congress Passes Final Tweaking to Health Reform Bill". Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Gregg Hitt (March 25, 2010). "Congress Approves Final Health Overhaul". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Baker, Peter (August 3, 2012). "Democrats Embrace Once Pejorative 'Obamacare' Tag". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Raju, Manu (June 25, 2015). "OBAMACARE GOP lawmakers: Time to move on from Obamacare repeal". Politico. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Eilperin, Juliet (June 25, 2015). "Legacies of Obama presidency and Roberts court are forever intertwined". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- O'Brien, Michael (October 21, 2013). "Website mess gives fuel to Obamacare critics". NBC. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Eilperin, Juliet (December 22, 2013). "Jeff Zients helped salvage HealthCare.gov. Now he'll be Obama's go-to guy on economy.". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Ungar, Laura (March 16, 2015). "Uninsured rates drop dramatically under Obamacare". USA Today. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Pear, Robert (February 3, 2015). "House G.O.P. Again Votes to Repeal Health Care Law". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Camera, Lauren (November 12, 2015). "Education Secretary Arne Duncan Assesses Legacy Programs". US News and World Report. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Badger, Emily (February 2, 2015). "Why conservatives should get behind Obama's push for universal Pre-K". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Hirschfield Davis, Julie (January 17, 2015). "Obama Will Seek to Raise Taxes on Wealthy to Finance Cuts for Middle Class". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
- Liptak, Kevin (April 6, 2015). "Michelle Obama's Let's Move turns 5; Is it working?". CNN. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
- Hirschfield Davis, Julie (December 10, 2015). "President Obama Signs Into Law a Rewrite of No Child Left Behind". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- Herszenhorn, David M. (March 30, 2010). "The Last Piece in Place". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Madison, Lucy (October 26, 2011). "Who will benefit from Obama's student loan plan?". CBS News. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Grasgreen, Allie (1 July 2015). "Obama pushes for-profit colleges to the brink". Politico. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
- Thompson, Cheryl (August 11, 2009). "Obama Says Immigration Reform Is a Priority, but Won't Happen Soon". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Herszenhorn, David M. (December 18, 2010). "Senate Blocks Bill for Young Illegal Immigrants". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Lizza, Ryan (June 28, 2013). "How the Senate Passed Immigration Reform". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Gibson, Ginger (July 8, 2013). "Boehner: No vote on Senate immigration bill". Politico. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Markon, Jerry (November 30, 2014). "Obama's 2012 DACA move offers a window into pros and cons of executive action". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Ehrenfreund, Max (November 20, 2014). "Your complete guide to Obama's immigration executive action". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- Shear, Michael (23 June 2016). "For Obama, Supreme Court Defeat Upends a Legacy on Immigration". New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
- Nakamura, David (19 January 2016). "Obama struggling with immigration rules and cruelties of deportation". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Gomez, Alan (25 September 2015). "U.S. foreign-born population nears high". USA Today. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "Modern Immigration Wave Brings 59 Million to U.S., Driving Population Growth and Change Through 2065". Pew Research Center. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- Manuel Krogstad, Jens; Passell, Jeffrey (19 November 2015). "5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S.". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- Planin, Eric (17 January 2013). "Why Congress Wimped Out on the Assault Weapons Ban". The Fiscal Times. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Mardell, Mark (January 16, 2013). "US gun debate: Obama unveils gun control proposals". London: BBC News. Retrieved January 16, 2013.
- Itkowitz, Colby (June 23, 2015). "Manchin, Toomey both interested in reviving gun control push". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Roberts, Dan (June 19, 2015). "Despite Charleston killings, moves towards US gun control at a standstill". The Guardian. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Senate Votes to Allow Guns on Amtrak", CBS News, September 16, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- Urbina, Ian (February 23, 2010), "Fearing Obama Agenda, States Push to Loosen Gun Laws", The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- Dinan, Stephen (February 22, 2010), "Parks open to holders of concealed guns", The Washington Times. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- Rodgers, Walter (January 5, 2010). "A year into Obama's presidency, is America postracial?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Cillizza, Chris (August 14, 2014). "President Obama's vision of post-racial America faces another stress test with Ferguson". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Blake, John (1 July 2016). "What black America won't miss about Obama". CNN. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Khan, Huma; McPhee, Michele; Goldman, Russell (July 24, 2009). "Obama Called Police Officer Who Arrested Gates, Still Sees 'Overreaction' in Arrest". Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- Hirschfield Davis, Julie (13 July 2016). "Obama Urges Civil Rights Activists and Police to Bridge Divide". New York Times. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- Cillizza, Chris (July 19, 2013). "President Obama's remarkably personal speech on Trayvon Martin and race in America". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Capeheart, Jonathan (February 27, 2015). "From Trayvon Martin to 'black lives matter'". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Bacon Jr., Perry (January 3, 2015). "In Wake of Police Shootings, Obama Speaks More Bluntly About Race". NBC. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Democratic seats at the start of each session of Congress. Independents caucusing with the Democratic Party (Senators Bernie Sanders, Joe Lieberman, and Angus King) are counted as Democrats for the purposes of this table. Throughout Obama's presidency, there were a total of 100 Senate seats in 435 House seats, so a Democratic majority in the Senate required 50 seats (since Democratic Vice President Joe Biden could provide the tie-breaking vote), and a Democratic majority in the House required 218 seats (assuming no vacancies).
- In 2009, Democrats briefly gained a "filibuster-proof" 60 Senate seats after Al Franken won an extremely close election and Arlen Specter switched parties, but the number of Senate Democrats went down to 59 seats after Scott Brown won a January 2010 special election in Massachusetts.
- Paul Ryan succeeded John Boehner as Speaker of the House in October 2015.
- Kane, Paul (November 3, 2010). "Resurgent Republicans take back control of the House". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Norris, Michele; Siegel, Robert (November 3, 2010). "Obama: Midterm Election Was A 'Shellacking'". NPR. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
- Giroux, Greg (March 18, 2013). "Republicans Win Congress as Democrats Get Most Votes". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- "US Election 2012 guide: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's policy positions". The Telegraph. August 17, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- E.M. (April 4, 2011). "Lack of change you can believe in". The Economist. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
- Giroux, Greg (January 4, 2013). "Final Tally Shows Obama First Since '56 to Win 51% Twice". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- "2012 President Exit Polls". The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Montanaro, Domenico (November 5, 2014). "Breaking down the 2014 Republican wave". PBS. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Gay Stolberg, Sheryl (November 12, 2015). "In Obama Era, G.O.P. Bolsters Grip in the States". The New York Times. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
- Kondik, Kyle (April 17, 2015). "Clinton's Real Opponent: Barack Obama". Politico. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Thrush, Glenn (9 June 2016). "Why Obama Waited". Politico. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- Thrush, Glenn (July 2016). "Party of Two". Politico. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- Silverleib, Alan (April 27, 2011). "Obama releases original long-form birth certificate". CNN. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Silver, Nate (18 July 2013). "The White House Is Not a Metronome". Fivethirtyeight. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
- "Presidential Approval Ratings -- Barack Obama". Gallup. Gallup. Retrieved January 19, 2016. The first poll of the month is used for each table entry.
- "Barack Obama's initial approval rating is highest since JFK". Los Angeles Times. January 27, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- "Presidential Approval Ratings -- Barack Obama". Gallup. Gallup. Retrieved November 16, 2015..
- Netter, Sarah (January 27, 2010). "Racism in Obama's America One Year Later". ABC. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Agiesta, Jennifer (September 14, 2015). "Misperceptions persist about Obama's faith, but aren't so widespread". CNN. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- "Obama sets record straight on his religion". NBC. Associated Press. January 21, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
- Bergen, Kathy (27 July 2016). "Obama chooses historic Jackson Park as library site". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- Baker, Peter (May 4, 2015). "Obama Finds a Bolder Voice on Race Issues". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Lonnstrom, Douglas A.; Kelly, Thomas O., II (September 2003). "The contemporary presidency: rating the presidents: a tracking study" (PDF). Presidential Studies Quarterly. 33 (3): 625–634. doi:10.1111/1741-5705.00009. JSTOR 27552516. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- United States Presidency Centre, Institute for the Studies of the Americas (January 10, 2011). "Results of first UK scholars' survey of US presidents: George Washington to Barack Obama to be released 17 January 2011". London: University of London School of Advanced Study. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Morgan, Iwan (January 17, 2011). "UK survey of US presidents: results and analysis; Franklin D. Roosevelt comes first; George W. Bush is in bottom ten; Barack Obama is highly rated" (PDF). London: United States Presidency Centre, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London School of Advanced Study. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Morgan, Iwan (January 17, 2011). "The top US presidents: first poll of UK experts". London: BBC News. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- "From Franklin Delano Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, Newsweek's 10 best presidents (photos)". The Daily Beast. New York. September 24, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Kevles, Daniel (Autumn 2012). "The 10 best American presidents; understanding what makes our greatest modern presidents great". Newsweek. pp. 26–28.
- "Historians give Barack Obama a B-". Seattle: History News Network. September 10, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
- Rottinghaus, Brandon (February 13, 2015). "Measuring Obama against the great presidents". Brookings Institution. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
- Alter, Jonathan. The Promise: President Obama, Year One (2011) excerpt and text search
- Crotty, William, ed. The Obama Presidency: Promise and Performance (Lexington Books; 2012) 231 pages; essays by scholars
- Indyk, Martin S., Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Michael E. O'Hanlon. Bending History: Barack Obama's Foreign Policy (Brookings FOCUS Book) (2012) excerpt and text search
- Gates, Robert M. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
- Keller, Morton. Obama's Time: A History (2015) 350pp
- McElya, Micki. "To 'Choose Our Better History': Assessing the Obama Presidency in Real Time," American Quarterly (March 2011) 63#1 pp 179–189. online at project MUSE
- Mann, James. The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power (2012), on foreign policy
- Rosenberg, Jerry M. (2012). The Concise Encyclopedia of The Great Recession 2007-2012. Scarecrow Press 2nd edition 708pp. ISBN 9780810883406.
- Skocpol, Theda, and Lawrence R. Jacobs. "Accomplished and Embattled: Understanding Obama's Presidency," Political Science Quarterly (Spring 2012) 127#1 pp. 1–24 online
- Skocpol, Theda, and Lawrence R. Jacobs. Reaching for a New Deal: Ambitious Governance, Economic Meltdown, and Polarized Politics in Obama's First Two Years (2011)
- Watson, Robert P., ed. The Obama Presidency: A Preliminary Assessment (State University of New York Press; 2012) 443 pages; essays by scholars