facts about Barack Obama

21 Brilliant Facts about Barack Obama

After Bush Jr, and before Trump, there was President Obama. Each US President brings in big changes from one administration to the next – and Barack Obama was well-known for making sweeping changes to US society which, for the most part, were reasonably popular!

Of course, all presidents have their critics – though Obama, the first African American President of the US, managed to break down more than a few important barriers during his time in office.

Obama’s terms as President may be behind us now, but how much do you know about the ex-leader? Here are a few interesting facts about Barack Obama you might not know.

1. Obama was certainly born in America.

Despite claims from several people that Obama was born outside of the US, his birthplace is Honolulu in Hawaii.

2. What does ‘Barack’ mean?

Barack’s first name – which can shorten to ‘Barry’ – is actually Swahili, meaning ‘blessed one’.

3. Obama’s won Grammys.

Believe it or not, Obama is a two-time Grammy winner. No, he didn’t compose any soundtracks or record a jazz album – he won at the 48th and 50th Awards for spoken word recordings.

However, Obama has appeared in at least one hit song on the Billboard charts. Specifically, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘One Last Time (44 Remix)’, features the ex-President. It hit number 22 on the Hot R&B Songs chart in January 2019.

interesting facts about Barack Obama

4. He’s lived in Oceania, too.

Obama actually spent time in Indonesia during his youth, though would eventually move back to Honolulu to live with his grandparents.

5. He’s a man of many firsts.

Obama was the first African American to be President not only of the US, but also the Harvard Law Review, where he attended university as an exceptional scholar.

6. His Presidency arrived alongside a Peace Prize.

Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, on the grounds of his efforts to help ‘strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between people’.

7. He’s been on TIME’s cover a couple of times.

He has won TIME Magazine’s ‘Person of The Year’ twice.

8. He’s the renegade!

Obama’s codename given to him by the Secret Service was ‘Renegade’.

9. He doesn’t go for a tipple.

Obama likely goes against the grain in the US in terms of personal food and drink tastes! He reportedly dislikes eating ice cream and refuses to drink coffee or alcohol regularly.

Barack Obama talking to the crowd with a microphone

10. Obama is well educated.

He has a bachelor’s degree, specifically in Political Science, which he earned in 1983. He would then graduate from Harvard Law School in 1991.

11. He was well-traveled as a President.

Obama was the first sitting US President to visit various countries and territories. He was the first to visit the Arctic Circle, Japan, and Laos.

Obama also broke a long streak of Presidents not visiting Cuba – he would be the first to visit the state in over 88 years.

12. What are Obama’s favorite movies?

Obama quotes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to be one of his all-time favourite movies. However, he’s also partial to the odd watch of Casablanca.

Barack Obama in front of the US Flag, talking to the room

13. His birthplace is unique for his position.

Obama is the first US President to have been born off the mainland of the country, though still technically within the states.

14. Hot stuff!

The ex-President is thought to be an avid chili chef, citing it as one of his favorite dishes.

15. Here’s the voting stats.

Obama became President of the US in November 2008, claiming 66.7 million votes from the public, and 365 votes via electoral college.

Barack Obama with the Dalai Lama

Barack Obama with the Dalai Lama

16. He is deeply spiritual.

Obama was a religious convert, which he discusses in his book The Audacity of Hope. “I felt God’s spirit beckoning me,” he writes.

17. Obamacare helped many, but was controversial.

The ex-President installed healthcare reforms opening up medical support to millions of Americans, referred to colloquially as ‘Obamacare’. The system proved popular with many, but has been a sticking point for many Republicans.

18. Bin Laden was killed during Obama’s tenure.

It was during Obama’s Presidency that Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama Bin Laden, reportedly to blame for spearheading the 9/11 attacks, was captured in Pakistan, and killed.

President Obama holding a press meeting

19. He helped to encourage many people to vote.

During his early career, Obama was instrumental in setting up and running Illinois Project Vote, which sought to encourage more black people to take part in US elections.

20. Gun control was a big deal.

Much of the focus during Obama’s time in office revolved around gun control, bringing troops back from the Middle East, and climate change action.

21. Who did Obama represent before becoming President?

Obama represented Illinois State from 1997 to 2005 in the Senate.

President Obama and the family dog, Bo

President Obama and the family dog, Bo

FAQs about Barack Obama

Who ran against Obama in the 2008 US Presidential election?

The late John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin ran for the Republican Party against Barack Obama and his running mate (now President) Joe Biden in 2008’s general election.

What’s Barack Obama’s net worth?

Obama is reported to be worth more than $40 million.

Where did Barack Obama go to school?

Barack Obama went to Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law, where he graduated in 1991.

Do you know any fun facts about Barack Obama?  Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on April 1, 2023. Suggest an edit

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