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 you may not know about the Democratic trailblazer.
Despite claims from several people that Obama was born outside of the US, his birthplace is Honolulu in Hawaii.
Barack’s first name – which can shorten to ‘Barry’ – is actually Swahili, meaning ‘blessed one’.
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.
Obama actually spent time in Indonesia during his youth, though would eventually move back to Honolulu to live with his grandparents.
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.
Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, on the grounds of his efforts to help ‘strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between people’.
He has won TIME Magazine’s ‘Person of The Year’ twice.
Obama’s codename given to him by the Secret Service was ‘Renegade’.
The ex-President has written two popular books and is reportedly working on a third. It is spoken word versions of his books for which he won Grammy awards.
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.
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.
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.
Obama quotes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to be one of his favourite all-time movies. However, he’s also partial to the odd watch of Casablanca.
Obama is the first US President to have been born off the mainland of the country, though still technically within the states.
The ex-President is thought to be an avid chili chef, citing it as one of his favourite dishes.
Obama became President of the US in November 2008, claiming 66.7 million votes from the public, and 365 votes via electoral college.
Obama was a religious convert, which he discusses in his book The Audacity of Hope. “I felt God’s spirit beckoning me,” he writes.
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, as well as current President Donald Trump.
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.
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.
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.
Obama represented Illinois State from 1997 to 2005 in the Senate.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Barack Obama that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!