Barack Obama: The Fast Facts That May Surprise You

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, made history as the first African American to hold the highest office in the nation. Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, he rose to prominence through his remarkable journey from a community organizer to a U.S. Senator and eventually to the presidency.

Here are some more facts about Barack Obama that may surprise you:

1. His dad was from Kenya; his mom was from Wichita

Barack Obama’s family background is a mix of diverse experiences. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was born in Kenya and herded goats in Africa before earning a scholarship to attend college in Hawaii, according to Biography

His mother, Ann Dunham, was born in Kansas during World War II, and her family had military ties. They met while studying at the University of Hawaii, married, and had Barack Obama II. 

However, their marriage didn’t last long, and Barack Obama Sr. returned to Kenya. Ann Dunham later married Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Indonesia, where Barack Obama spent part of his childhood. Due to safety and educational concerns, he was sent back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. Barack’s relationship with his father was limited, and he only saw him once more after their divorce.

2. He Won The Nobel Peace Prize

Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, less than eight months into his presidency. The Nobel Committee recognized his “exceptional contributions to international diplomacy and cooperation” and highlighted his commitment, both in words and actions, to a world without nuclear weapons.

3. He Presided Over Two Full Terms Of War 

Despite his Nobel Peace Prize, Obama is actually the longest-serving wartime president. Obama’s presidency has seen the United States engaged in military conflicts for a longer duration than any other American president, surpassing even George W. Bush. Obama, who initially campaigned on an anti-war platform, has presided over wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria during his two terms in office. 

His administration has conducted military operations in seven countries, including Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

4. He Instituted Obamacare

In March 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, a landmark health care reform plan also known as “Obamacare.”

The ACA faced strong opposition from Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party movement, leading to a 16-day government shutdown in October 2013 over disputes related to funding the law.

The ACA faced multiple legal challenges, with the U.S. Supreme Court weighing in on three occasions. In June 2012, the Court upheld the individual mandate, a key provision requiring citizens to obtain health insurance or pay a tax penalty, and in 2015, the Court ruled in favor of health care tax subsidies despite a myriad of objections from the Republican side.

5. He Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

In 2011, President Obama took a historic step by signing into law the repeal of the military policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This policy had previously barred openly gay individuals from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. 

Additionally, in May 2012, President Obama made history once again by becoming the first sitting president to publicly express his support for same-sex marriage. This declaration signaled a major shift in national discourse and policies regarding LGBTQ+ rights.

6. He Fantasized About Homosexuality

A recent letter obtained by Obama biographer David Garrow from his college girlfriend, Alex McNear, reveals passages in which Obama admits that he “made love to men daily,” albeit only in his imagination. However, with regard to gender identity, he said he accepted the “contingency” of him being made a man. 

 “In regard to homosexuality, I must say that I believe this is an attempt to remove oneself from the present, a refusal perhaps to perpetuate the endless farce of earthly life. You see, I make love to men daily, but in the imagination,” Obama, then 21, wrote to Alex McNear in November 1982, according to the New York Post

The letter continued, “My mind is androgynous to a great extent and I hope to make it more so until I can think in terms of people, not women as opposed to men. But, in returning to the body, I see that I have been made a man, and physically in life, I choose to accept that contingency.” 

Obama has been married to Michelle Obama since 1992. They have 2 daughters.

Rachel Emmanuel

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