“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American to serve as president. His historic presidency, however, is only one of the many interesting facts about Obama. Here are 44 facts about the 44th president.
44. The 50th’s First Son
Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was the first president to be born in the 50th state and the first born outside of the continental United States.
43. Melting Pot
Obama is biracial, and his extended family is incredibly multicultural. Obama’s Kenyan father, Barack Obama Sr., met his white American mother, Ann Dunham, while taking a Russian language class at Honolulu University. His stepfather is from Indonesia.
42. He Ate What?
While in Indonesia, Obama tried some pretty intriguing foods: snake meat, dog meat and roasted grasshopper.
41. First Pets
While he was in Indonesia, Obama had a pet ape named Tata. The Obama family now has two Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny.
Obama’s real-life heroes include: Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Pablo Picasso, and John Coltrane.
39. What’s in a Name?
Obama’s first name, Barack, is an African name that means “blessed.”
38. You’ve Been O’Bombed
In high school, Obama was known as the “O’Bomber” in reference to his basketball skills.
Obama can bench press 200 lbs.
Obama owns a pair of boxing gloves autographed by Mohammed Ali.
35. A Grandmother’s Love
His grandmother, with whom he lived in Hawaii for many years, had cute nicknames for him that included “Bear” and “Bar.”
34. Barry Who?
People called Obama “Barry” until university. Once he got to Harvard, he asked that people called him “Barack.”
33. First Ladies
Obama married Michelle Robinson, a fellow Harvard law graduate, in 1992. They have two daughters: Malia, born in 1998, and Sasha, born in 2001.
32. Smarty Pants
Obama was the first African-American to be elected President of the Harvard Law Review. He also graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law.
31. Favourite Foods
Obama’s favourite meal is his wife Michelle’s shrimp linguini.
30. First Chef
It’s a good thing Michelle cooks for her husband, because she says Obama doesn’t often get the chance to prepare meals. When he does, Michelle says the former president likes to cook chilli.
29. Cold Shoulder
One treat Obama doesn’t enjoy? Ice cream. He worked at Baskin and Robbins as a teenager and had his fill of the frozen dessert.
28. Renaissance Man
Obama is also a published author. He has written three books: Dreams From My Father in 1995, The Audacity of Hope in 2006, and Of Thee I Sing in 2010.
27. Grammy Winner
In 2006, Obama won a Grammy for best spoken word album for the audiobook of Dreams From My Father. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter have also won grammys in the same category for their books.
Obama is left-handed, and is the sixth post-war president to be a southpaw.
25. First Visits
He was the first sitting president ever to visit Japan, Laos, and Myanmar, and the first sitting president in 88 years to visit Cuba. The visits all happened in 2016.
24. Freezing for a First
Obama was also the first sitting president to enter the Arctic circle: In 2015, he visited Kotzebue, Alaska to view firsthand the effects of climate change on the area.
23. Institutional First
Another presidential first was his visit to a federal prison: the Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno in Oklahoma.
22. Hit the Books
Obama’s favorite book is Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.
21. Cleaning the Closet
Obama was the first president to declare his support for same sex marriage; he did so during his second term.
20. Game Night
Obama’s favourite games are Scrabble and poker.
19. Yes, He Did Inhale
Obama has been very open about his teenage drug use. He has openly admitted to using marijuana and cocaine in high school. “I inhaled frequently. That was the point.”
18. I Wish I Knew How to Quit You
Obama jokingly admitted to a UN official that he quit smoking because he was afraid of his wife. The offhand comments were inadvertently caught on a hot mic!
While studying at Harvard, Obama put his name forward to be a model for a black pin-up calendar. The all-female committee rejected him.
16. You’re a Wizard, Barry!
Obama has read every single Harry Potter book with his daughter Malia.
15. No News
While campaigning, Obama refused to watch CNN and instead opted for checking out sports channels.
14. Film School
Obama’s favorite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
13. Beer Me
In 2008, a microbrewery in Williamsburg created a new brew called Hop Obama. It sold out in six days.
12. Ok, Not Him
Obama himself seldom drinks alcohol and never drinks coffee. His favourite drink? Black forest berry iced tea.
11. Building the Future
If he hadn’t discovered politics, Obama says he would have become an architect.
10. Trim and Fit
Obama gets his hair cut every week by his barber, Zarif, in Chicago. The cost? $21.
9. On a Streak
Obama made Time magazine’s list of the “100 most influential people in the world” in 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2014.
8. Banner Year
He was also named Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 2008.
7. The Nobel Laureate
In October 2009, Obama won the Nobel Peace prize.
6. Seeing Double
Obama owns four of the exact same pair of black shoes in size 11.
5. Couch Potato
Obama’s favourite television shows are The Wire and Homeland.
4. Date Night
Michelle and Barack Obama went to see Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing on their first date.
3. Popularity Contest
At his 2009 inauguration, Obama achieved one of the highest ever approval ratings for an incoming president–69%!
2. The Renegade
The Secret Service agents who guarded Obama called him “Renegade,” and the code name was actually used because Obama had chosen it. He was given a choice of four nicknames, which all started with “R.” As per tradition, his family member were given code names starting with the same letter. His wife, Michelle, was known as “Renaissance,” and his daughters Malia and Sasha were respectively known as “Radiance” and “Rosebud.”
1. Twitter Star
Obama holds the record for the tweet with the most likes of all time. In response to the Charlottesville tragedy in August 2017, Obama tweeted the beginning of a Nelson Mandela quote. The inspirational tweet was retweeted 1.7 million times and liked a whopping 4.5 million times.