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Barack Hussein Obama II born August 4, 1961 is the 44th and current President of the United
States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as
the junior United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to
the presidency in November 2008.

Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of
the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree.
He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of
Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.

Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for
a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he ran for United States Senate in 2004. Several
events brought him to national attention during the campaign, including his victory in the March
2004 Democratic primary election for the United States Senator from Illinois and his prime-time
televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He won election to the
U.S. Senate in November 2004.

Obama's presidential campaign began in February 2007, and after a close campaign in the 2008
Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's
nomination. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain and
was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. Obama is also the 2009 Nobel Peace

Foreign policy
In February and March, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
made separate overseas trips to announce a "new era" in U.S. foreign relations with Russia and
Europe, using the terms "break" and "reset" to signal major changes from the policies of the preceding
administration.[138] Obama's granting of his first television interview as president to an Arabic cable
network, Al Arabiya, was seen as an attempt to reach out to Arab leaders.[139]

On March 19, Obama continued his outreach to the Muslim world, releasing a New Year's video
message to the people and government of Iran. This attempt at outreach was rebuffed by the Iranian
leadership. In April, Obama gave a speech in Ankara, Turkey, which was well received by many Arab
governments.[142] On June 4, 2009, Obama delivered a speech at Cairo University in Egypt calling for
"a new beginning" in relations between the Islamic world and the United States and promoting Middle
East peace.

On June 26, 2009, in response to the Iranian government's actions towards protesters following Iran's
2009 presidential election, Obama said: "The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. We
see it and we condemn it." On July 7, while in Moscow, he responded to a Vice President Biden
comment on a possible Israeli military strike on Iran by saying: "We have said directly to the Israelis
that it is important to try and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major
conflict in the Middle East."

On September 24, 2009, Obama became the first sitting U.S. President to preside over a meeting of
the United Nations Security Council.

Iraq war
During his presidential transition, President-elect Obama announced that he would retain the
incumbent Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, in his Cabinet.

On February 27, Obama declared that combat operations would end in Iraq within 18 months. His
remarks were made to a group of Marinespreparing for deployment to Afghanistan. Obama said, "Let
me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end." The
drawdown is scheduled to be completed by August 2010, decreasing troops levels from 142,000 while
leaving a transitional force of 35,000 to 50,000 in Iraq until the end of 2011. The plan is to transition
the mission of the remaining troops from combat operations to counter-terrorism and the training,
equipping, and advising of Iraqi security forces