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January 12, 2016 marks President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address, and his
eighth and last year in office. During his two terms, Obama has been hailed as either
the greatest or the worst president of all time. But political rhetoric aside, what exactly
has Obama done during his time in the White House?
Well, when Obama first took office in 2009, the United States was in the middle of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,
while experiencing the worst global financial crisis since the great depression.
In light of this, Obama’s early promises included: closing the Guantanamo
Bay detention center, defeating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and ending the wars in the middle
east. He also promised sweeping economic reforms as well as affordable healthcare for all.
By the last year of his presidency, Obama had delivered on some of those promises.
Less than a month after taking office, he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
This funded the public sector and bankrolled relief programs for those affected by the
2008 recession. Just weeks after the law went into effect, unemployment began to decrease
and by 2012 the measure had saved or created an average of 1.6 million jobs per year.
In 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, which stands as the most comprehensive
healthcare reform since the passage of medicare and medicaid in 1965. However there were major
problems with the ACA’s website. And Republican opposition to the law eventually led to a
government shutdown.
In 2011, Obama oversaw the mission to locate, and eventually kill al-Qaeda leader Osama
Bin Laden. He also authorized the final removal of US troops in Iraq. However continued terrorist
threats in the region have prevented Obama from permanently ending the war. In 2015,
Obama announced that thousands of troops would stay in the country through the end of his
term. That same year, the US and five other world powers finally reached a deal with Iran,
preventing the nation from achieving nuclear proliferation.
Some say Obama’s biggest accomplishment has been the US’s involvement in the Paris Agreement;
which is the first universal deal between almost every country limiting greenhousegas emissions.
Throughout his time in office, Obama has promised to invest heavily in clean energy.
However, even though natural gas reserves have increased, it is largely due to fracking
which has raised its own environmental concerns.
But Obama has fallen short on other campaign promises. Obama’s efforts to close Guantanamo Bay
failed early on in his presidency, and in 2015, he reluctantly signed a bill making
it even harder to close. But the president promised to take steps to close the facility
during his last year in office. And while Obama did end the war in Iraq, al-qaeda remains
strong in other parts of the middle east, and US troops are now back in the region to
fight ISIS.
Despite the turbulence of his political image, Obama has shifted the way we elect presidents
and the role they play in the media. He has been called America’s first pop culture
president, and the first to openly support LGBT rights like gay marriage. By embracing
online media, Obama engaged youth and minority voters in a way that has never been effectively
done before. In the end, for better or worse, there’s no question that Obama’s presidency
has been historic in many ways.
Now that Obama won’t be running for president again, he is technically a “lame duck president”
— but he can actually accomplish a great deal. Learn more in our video here.
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What Has Obama Accomplished As President?

2079 Folder Collection
Jacky Avocado Tao published on January 13, 2016    劉宜佳 translated    Kristi Yang reviewed
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