“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.

Barack Obama Facts

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.

40. Heroes

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.

37. Gains

Obama can bench press 200 lbs.

36. Keepsake

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.

26. Left-Leaning

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!

17. Pin-Up

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.

Casablanca scene.

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.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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