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“He became the first-ever African American to be elected president”
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“He became the first-ever African American to be elected president”

When U.S. President Barack Obama first ran for president in 2008, he promised to end the Iraq War, grow energy independence, and provide universal health care. Commonwealth Correspondent Osmi Anannya, 25, from Dhaka, Bangladesh, looks at his first term record.

The U.S. Presidential Elections of November 6, 2012 put Barack Obama back in the White House for another four years, with a clear majority and a share of the popular vote that’s set the record for an incumbent.

It’s been four years since he first took office as President of the United States of America. Winning by a landslide over his 2008 Republican opponent, John McCain, he became the first ever African American to be elected president of the nation. Obama entered the White House at a time of grave economic turmoil. 

When Obama ran for the presidential role in 2008, he accentuated ending the Iraq War, growing energy independence, and providing universal health care. His campaign featured the words “Hope” and “Change”.

On April 4, 2011, Obama announced his bid to stand for a second term as President, keeping Vice-President Joe Biden in place as his running mate. That campaign became the first ever to use Twitter and Facebook for promotion, while the official catchphrase this time was “Forward”.

In his first term President Obama took many key decisions and kept many of his campaign promises, such as signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.  But four decisions in particular I found to have the most profound impact on American society. 

  • Obama’s first bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. It made the statue of limitations for equal-pay lawsuits substantially less severe.
  • The signing of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, ending a 1993 policy that prevented gay and lesbian people from declaring their sexual orientation and serving in the United States Armed Forces.
  • After the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by both the Senate and the House, Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010. The act, informally known as “Obamacare”, involves expanding Medicaid eligibility for people, subsidising insurance premiums, stimulus for businesses to provide health care benefits, creating health insurance exchanges and increasing support for medical research.
  • On foreign relations, in March 2010 Obama opposed the Israeli government’s plan to continue building Jewish housing projects in mainly Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem.

The Republican Party’s 2012 candidate was Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts. Romney launched his bid for presidency on June 2, 2011, in New Hampshire, and chose Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Accepting the Republican Party’s nomination at the Republican Convention in Tampa, Florida, on August 30, 2012, Romney demonstrated a distinct business-like approach to politics. Drawing heavily on his experience as co-founder of Bain Capital, Romney stated that his role corroborated management and leadership skills and led to the creation of thousands of jobs at the company.

As the Governor of Massachusetts, Romney brought many pivotal changes to his constituents. Among them, his support of an increase in fees from drivers’ licenses to gun licenses, using the state legislature to cut spending by $1.6 billion, and signing the Massachusett shealth reform law, colloquially known as “Romneycare”. That law requires almost every resident of the state to buy health insurance coverage or face a hike in tax penalties.

In areas of foreign affairs, Romney has positively reinforced Poland’s model of small government and free enterprise.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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About me:

I’m from Dhaka, Bangladesh, presently studying abroad in my second year as an undergraduate student in Computer Science under Northumbria University.
 
I’m a Junior Researcher at  Pollinet, a regular blog writer and passionate about British and European politics. I am a Columnist for The New Federalist, Voices of  the 7 Billion, and Shifting Grounds, and a STEMNet and IMechE Ambassador.
 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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