During an election night gathering in Grant Park on November 4, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. After nearly two years of presidential campaigning, U.S. citizens went to the polls today to vote in the election between Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance during the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., gets shaved ice for himself, family, and friends at Island Snow in Kailua, Hawaii Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. Sen. Obama is in Hawaii for a vacation.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US President Barack Obama order for food at the Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles in Los Angeles, California, on October 24, 2011. Obama said the vast majority of Americans would see a tax cut under the bill — a $447 billion proposal aimed at reviving economic growth and curbing 9.1 percent unemployment. The White House has touted the jobs bill as a shot-in-the-arm for the economy, and accused Republicans of playing politics by blocking it. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Obama bodysurfing in Hawaii
SPRINGHILL, WV – MAY 12: Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) plays a game of pool during a stop at Schultzie’s Bar & Hot Spot May 12, 2008 in Springhill, West Virginia. Sen. Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) continue to battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to both houses of Congress during his first State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol on January 27, 2010 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama announces Al-qaida terror leader Osama bin Laden is dead in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 1, 2011. Brendan Smialowski/POOL
Young Barack Obama visits Kenya with his fiance Michelle
Pres. Obama drinks a pint of Guinness during a visit to Ireland
CHICAGO – JUNE 15: Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) carries his seven year old daughter Sasha after giving a speech about fatherhood at Apostolic Church of God June 15, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama spoke about the importance of fathers being involved in the raising of their children. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
President Obama and Nichelle Nichols, the actor that played Uhura on the show Star Trek: The Original Series
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 14: First lady Michelle and U.S. President Barack Obama await the arrival of British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha on the North Portico of the White House March 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Cameron is on a three-day visit to the U.S. and he was expected to have talks with Obama on the situations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
President George W. Bush, center, poses with President-elect Barack Obama, and former presidents, from left, George H.W. Bush, left, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, right, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Obamas on Oprah’s couch
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama share a private moment in a freight elevator at an Inaugural Ball. Washington, D.C. 1/20/09
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
President Obama signs the African-American education executive order
Obama’s reaction to a kid’s Extreme Marshmellow cannon (REUTERS Kevin Lamarque)
Obama and Malia during an election night gathering in Grant Park on November 4, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. After nearly two years of presidential campaigning, U.S. citizens went to the polls today to vote in the election between Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
Young Obama with his mother dressed as a pirate for Halloween
The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America on the West Front of the Capitol January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected to the office of President in the history of the United States.
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 09: U.S. President Barack Obama does pushups as the Harlem Globe Trotters watch during the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on April 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Thousands of people people are expected to attend the 134-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the White House lawn that was started by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Obama visits Central Park as a student at Columbia University.
PITTSBURGH – OCTOBER 27: Dan Rooney (R), chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, presents a jersey to Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) during a campaign rally at Mellon Arena October 27, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Obama continues to campaign with less than two weeks before the election on November 4. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Obama and his grandparents
Obama and his Choom Gang buddies in Hawaii
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 16: U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden share a laugh as the US Senior Men’s National Team and Brazil play during a pre-Olympic exhibition basketball game at the Verizon Center on July 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Mesmerized: President Barack Obama looks at Mount Rainier from Air Force One during a flight from Seattle, Wash., to Los Angeles, Calif., May 10, 2012. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Press Secretary Jay Carney join the President for a look
An Obama college photo of him smoking
US President Barack Obama, surrounded by lawmakers and guests, signs the healthcare insurance reform legislation during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington on March 23, 2010. Obama signed into law his historic health care reform, enacting the most sweeping social legislation in decades which will ensure coverage for almost all Americans. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Obama and his youngest daughter Sasha
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 11: In this handout provided by the White House, (L – R) First Lady Michelle Obama, Malia Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama and Sasha Obama, sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office on December 11, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images)
Obama playing with kids (AP PhotoCharles Dharapak)
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 23: U.S. President Barack Obama is flanked by his daughters Sasha (L),Malia (R), after he pardoned a turkey named ‘Liberty’ during an event to pardon the 19-week old, 45-pound turkey at the North Portico of the White House November 23, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Presidential pardon of a turkey has been a long time Thanksgiving tradition that dates back to the Harry Truman administration (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
DEARBORN, MI – APRIL 19: In this handout from The White House, US President Barack Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event April 18, 2012 in Dearborn, Michigan. (Photo by Pete Souza/White House Photo via Getty Images)
Obama in a bar in Boulder, Colorado
President Barack Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member canfeel his hair during a visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – APRIL 8: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia walk across Lafayette Park to attend Easter Services at St. John’s Episcopal Church on April 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)
United States President Barack Obama (R) and daughter Malia Obama, 13, bike together on a bike path through Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in West Tisbury, Massachusetts while vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard on August 23, 2011. Photo by Matthew Healey
US President Barack Obama kisses First Lady Michelle Obama as they appear on the ‘Kiss Cam’ during the Olypmics-bound U.S. men’s national basketball team game against Brazil, at the Verizon Center on Monday, July 16, 2012, in Washington, DC. This was their second chance, since they did not kiss earlier in the game when they were on the ‘Kiss Cam’.(Photo by Leslie E. Kossoff/Polaris Images)
US President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia honor the Martin Luther King legacy by serving meals to the needy at a facility, Washington DC, January 18, 2010.
Young Obama and his mother
Barack and Michelle Obama wedding photo
The Obama family celebrate victory
The Obamas visit the Queen of England
- of 51
August 4th, 2012 is President Barack Obama’s 51st birthday. The 44th president of the United States, he is the first ever African-American elected to the highest office in the land. Born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, his father Barack Obama, Sr., originally from Kenya and his mother Stanley Ann Dunham, mostly of English, descent were an interracial couple — which was uncommon at that time. Obama once said, “my father looked nothing like the people around me — that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk — barely registered in my mind.”
For his birthday the president is planning a campaign fundraiser at their house in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood – and grassroots donors can win a chance to be on the guest list. Supporters who contribute three dollars or more to Obama’s re-election campaign will automatically be entered into the contest to join the Obamas in their home.
He began his university career at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, then transferred to Colombia University in New York City. Two years after graduating he began to hone his skills as a community organizer as the director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP) in Chicago.
Obama later attended Harvard Law School where he graduated magna cum laude, which was followed by a stint as a fellow at Chicago Law School, where he continued as a lecturer for 12 years. In 1992 he led a program called Project Vote. His group successfully registered 150,000 of the 400,000 unregistered African-Americans in the city to vote. In 1993 Crain’s Chicago Business named Obama to its list of “40 under Forty” folks most likely to achieve power.
Obama’s election to the presidency came in the midst of an economic collapse and multiple international crises. He is currently running for re-election against Republican Mitt Romney. His tenure has been one of great change, optimism and hope, according to many who have witnessed his historic rise.
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