Vice-Presidential Pick: Joe Biden
Career Highlights: U.S. President (2009-present); U.S. Senator from Illinois (2005-2008); Illinois State Senator (1997-2004); attorney
Education: B.A. in political science from Columbia University (transferred from Occidental College); J.D. from Harvard Law School
Did You Know? Obama has eight half-siblings (seven from his father).
Hair: Closely cropped, graying by the day
Criticism: When Obama took office on January 20, 2009, there was high optimism that his presidency signalled widespread change. Instead, Congress’ approval ratings are reaching new lows, and the country is struggling with an 8.3 percent unemployment rate.
Polling: Obama 48.3, Romney 44.6 (Real Clear Politics average, 9/11to 9/22)
Fundraising Total: $356,538,083 (FEC, as of 7/31/12)
Cash on Hand: $87,747,678
Abortion: Pro-choice; supports Roe v. Wade.
Climate Change: After pledging to pursue climate change legislation in 2008 presidential campaign, has mostly ignored the issue in the White House.
Defense Spending: Signed the 2011 debt ceiling deal with the GOP, which reduces defense spending by $487 billion over next decade. When adjusted for inflation, defense budget essentially remains flat.
Deficit: Has proposed a budget that he says will cut $4 trillion from the deficit over the next decade; others peg the cuts at closer to $3 trillion.
Gay Marriage: Endorsed same-sex marriage in May, after years of opposition.
Guns: Obama upset gun-control advocates by signing legislation allowing guns in national parks; has said that he’d like to close the gun-show loophole, but has not made it an issue during his administration.
Health Care: Signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) into law in 2010. Slow rollout in provisions, but ultimately, the law requires Americans to obtain health insurance coverage (expands Medicaid to cover low-income individuals); allows young people under 26 to join their parents health plan; prevents insurance companies from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions; and institutes a penalty/tax—starting at $95—for failing to obtain coverage. The law was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2012.
Immigration: Deporting illegal immigrants 1.5 times faster than George W. Bush, but also signed a Dream Act-like executive order to allow young immigrants brought to U.S. as children to remain in the country.
Medicare: Romney/Ryan claims that Obama is cutting Medicare coverage by $716 billion are not true; Obama is actually reducing that sum in reimbursements to hospitals and insurance companies.
Taxes: Would maintain Bush tax-cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year; incomes above $250,000 would revert from 33 and 35 percent to the Clinton-era rates of 36 and 39.6 percent. Has also pushed for the Buffett Rule, which would require a minimum of a 30 percent tax rate for households earning more than $1 million.
Three Great Stories about Obama:
1. “Washington, We Have a Problem” by Todd S. Purdum (Vanity Fair, September 2010)
2. “Obama, Explained” by James Fallows (The Atlantic, March 2012)
3. “The West Wing, Season II” by John Heilemann (New York, January 23, 2011)
Did we miss a good read? Tell us.
I endorse Barack Obama for U.S. President:
Check out his opponent, Mitt Romney.
Image via White House