US polls 2012 FACTBOX: US President Barack Obama
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As the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama, 51, signed into law a revamp of the national healthcare system and authorized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden but struggled to revive the economy and create jobs.
As the United States holds its presidential election on Tuesday, here are key facts about Obama, the nation's first black president.
- Barack Obama has a personal background like no other president in U.S. history. His mother, Ann Dunham, was a white woman from Kansas and his father, Barack Obama Sr., was a black Kenyan who saw little of his son after a divorce when the boy was a toddler. Obama spent much of his childhood in Indonesia and then Hawaii, where he lived with his maternal grandparents.
- Obama struggled with his mixed racial background while growing up, writing in a memoir that he wondered if something was wrong with me. He also was troubled by the absence of his father, whom he considered a myth, and said that may have contributed to his use of marijuana and cocaine in his youth.
- Obama graduated from New York's Columbia University in 1983 and worked in the business sector in New York and for a Chicago community group. In 1988 he went to Harvard Law School, where he became the first black president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.
- Obama's relationship with Congress has been problematic. Even when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate, Republicans often stymied his initiatives. The situation became more difficult when tax-averse Republicans took over the majority in the House in 2010.
- In the early 1990s Obama worked in a voter registration campaign in Chicago, taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago and joined a law firm that specialized in civil rights and neighborhood development. He married Michelle Robinson, whom he met at a law firm when he was an intern and she was assigned to be his adviser.