President Obama: A Year in Review

Just one year ago, Barack H. Obama was elected to the most powerful position in the world, validating the dream of seeing the first African-American serve as President of the United States. We take a look back at that historic moment as well as several other memorable occasions where he and the First Family have made history during the last year.
ESSENCE.COM Nov, 03, 2009

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Senator Barack Obama won the election on November 4, 2008 becoming the 44th president of the United States and the country’s first Black commander-in-chief.
“America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight,” he said in front of thousands in Chicago.

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In the next few weeks, President Obama would announce key members of his administration including Attorney General, Eric Holder, Secretary Eric Shinseki and former Senator Tom Daschle as director of a the newly created White House Office of Health Reform.

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President Obama puts his hands on Lincoln’s bible, takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts and then gives his inaugural address before millions at the Capitol and billions worldwide.

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President Obama signed several executive orders in his first week in office including an order intended to improve intelligence gathering, an order to close down the detention center/prison camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and orders on car emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

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President Obama signs his first bill in office, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on January 29. The bill ensures that women across the country receive equal pay for equal work. Ledbetter (center left0 fought to get back wages when she learned she had been paid less than her male counterparts.

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It was during this town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiania on February 9, that President Obama first demanded Congress pass his massive economic stimulus plan and warned that delay and paralysis in Washington would bring only “deepening disaster.”

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In his first televised prime-time news conference on February 9, the President answered questions concerning his proposed stimulus bill, saying Congress had to do “whatever it takes to put America back to work.”

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Showing the respect a president deserves, Barack Obama is received by a standing ovation after his first address to a Joint Session of Congress at the Capitol, with Vice President Joe Bidden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looking on in support.

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In a controversial move, President Obama, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (left), Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, and former Deputy Labor Secretary Edward Montgomery announce plans on dealing with the auto industry crisis by naming Montgomery as the new director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.

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The President proves that the U.S.and the United Kingdom have stood together through thick and thin and will continue to do so as he and the First Lady mee Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on April 1 during his very first meeting overseas as President.

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To the complete surprise of the American troops at Camp Victory, President Obama made a surprise visit to thank them for their service in Baghdad, Iraq, following the G-20 and NATO summits.

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Bo, the First Family’s new pooch, a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, is a gift from Massachusetts Senator the late Edward Kennedy and his wife, Victoria.

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The President and Vice-President were supposed to have a lunch in the Oval Office, but of course President Obama had different plans. He invited the press out to Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia on May 5 for monster cheeseburgers.

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“The great jazz musician, Louis Armstrong, once said simply, ‘What we play is life.’ And that is what these artists do—they express the joys and hardships of life,” said President Obama at the first-ever Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word in the White House on May 12.

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President Barack Obama delivered commencement speeches at Arizona State University and the University of Notre Dame in May, but not without hiccups as some protested his pro-choice stance. Nonetheless, the President shared a message on the importance of being open minded and tolerant of others’ opinions.

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President Obama announces federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee for the Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor, the first Hispanic member of the Supreme Court, went on to be confirmed by early fall.

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The President enjoyed a tour of the Sphinx and pyramids outside of Cairo, Egypt during his one-day visit on June 4, 2009. Earlier he gave a speech at Cairo University about a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims,” and declared that “this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.”

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“In my country, African-Americans have thrived in every sector of society. We’ve done so despite a difficult past, and we have drawn strength from our African heritage,” said President Obama during his address to the Ghanaian Parliament on July 11. The First Family also toured the Cape Coast Castle and learned about the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

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In the glass clink heard across America, President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden sat down with Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley and Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.over beers to mediate the mistaken identity situation between Gates and Crowley.

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Getting a little R&R, the First Family ride their bicycles along the Lobsterville beach on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 27, 2009.

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The Obamas came out strong at the Chicago 2016 Olympics presentation on October 2, 2009 at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark. Unfortunately the Olympic Committee didn’t think it was strong enough and hosting honors to Rio de Janeiero in Brazil.

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President Barack Obama spoke at the Rose Garden on October 9 after he won the Nobel Peace Prize. A surprised and humbled President Obama said he doubted he deserved to be honored alongside luminaries who had won the award.

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In his first trip to New Orleans as President, Mr. Obama chatted with 9-year old, Tyren Scott, of Paulina, Louisiana, who asked him why so many people hate him.

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President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, sit for a family portrait in the Green Room of the White House.

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In the middle of the night, President Obama got out of his bed to fly to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to salute the dignified transfer of Sergeant Dale R. Griffin and several other soldiers who recently perished in the War in Afghanistan.