Democratic President Barack Obama
, who is seeking a second four-year term, is in a close race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Since becoming the 44th U.S. president in 2008, Obama has kept a campaign promise to revise the U.S. health care system. While the resulting law has been highly controversial, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld its major provisions.
In a bid to help the slumping U.S. economy, Obama pushed for, and Congress approved, a $787 billion economic stimulus package. He also implemented a bailout for the troubled U.S. auto industry.
He scored a major foreign policy victory in 2011, when he gave the go-ahead for the special operation in which U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
Obama also withdrew U.S. forces from Iraq and has pledged to remove combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
However, the president has faced headwinds in trying to lower the U.S. unemployment rate and bring about a full economic recovery. Opponents also blame him for a federal budget deficit that has topped $1 trillion each year that he has been in office.
He has also struggled to get legislation passed since Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 mid-term election.
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. He is the first African-American to be elected president. He is also the first sitting president to support the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Obama is a married father of two.
Barack Obama is sworn in as 44th US president by Chief Justice John Roberts beside wife Michelle on January 20, 2009 at the Capitol in Washington, DC.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dance at the Commander in Chief Inaugural Ball at the National Building Museum in Washington, Jan. 20, 2009.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speak together sitting at a picnic table, on the South Lawn of the White House, May 9, 2009. ( White House/Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama greets troops after delivering remarks at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 31, 2012. (White House/Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama hugs Donna Vanzant, the owner of North Point Marina, as he tours damage from Hurricane Sandy in Brigantine, N.J., Oct. 31, 2012. (White House/Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom stand during the playing of the national anthem during the Official Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn, March 14, 2012. (White House/Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama looks at the Nobel Peace Prize medal for the first time at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway. December 10, 2009. (White House/Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Malia, right, and Sasha walk from the White House to St. John's Episcopal Church for Easter service in Washington Sunday, April 8, 2012.
President Barack Obama gestures as speaks at a campaign event at Cornell College, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.