US polls 2012 FACTBOX: US President Barack Obama
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- In his rare spare moments, the lanky Obama pursues his lifelong love of basketball with semi-regular games at an FBI gym. He also makes time for school functions and sports events of his daughters Sasha and Malia and tries to get out for an occasional date night with his wife.
- Obama's political career began with his election to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 and soared in 2004 when he gave a rousing keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. In November of that year he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
- Obama won the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination by defeating Hilary Clinton, the former first lady and New York senator, and then took the presidency by beating Republican Senator John McCain. His energetic campaign was built on a theme of hope and change fueled by powerful oratory.
- A mood of national optimism prevailed at Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009, which drew an estimated 1.8 million people to the National Mall in Washington despite bitter cold. He began his presidency with a 68 percent approval rating.
- Obama simultaneously oversaw wars in Iraq, which he ended in 2011, and Afghanistan, as well as the U.S. military involvement in Libya that helped oust Muammar Gaddafi. In May 2011 he authorized the raid in which U.S. Navy SEALS killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan - a triumph he points to as indicative of a strong national security policy.
- Obama inherited an economic crisis so persistent that it remains a threat to his re-election. Almost 800,000 jobs were lost the month he took over. In the early days of his administration, he pushed through an $831 billion economic stimulus package and renewed loans to automakers, even making the government a temporary part-owner of General Motors.