In Close Race, Obama Battles for Second Term

    As the November 6 election nears, President Barack Obama seems to have come back from his poor performance at the first presidential election debate against contender Mitt Romney. In the campaign’s final days, Obama is trying to project himself as presidential and in charge.
     
    Four years ago, Obama was elected 44th president of the United States. The Democratic Party nominated him at a highly charged convention that focused on public disenchantment with the nation’s struggling economy. Obama capitalized on the issue with his motto, “Change We Can Believe In.”
     
    The president has been in the White House now for nearly four years. The economy has improved, but not as much as many hoped. Some political experts say Obama has learned the vast difference between campaigning and governing.
     
    Jennifer Lawless directs the Women & Politics Institute at American University.

    “A lot of the promises he made were contingent on the idea there would be some kind of bipartisan effort in Washington. And right after John Boehner was elected speaker of the House of Representatives, it became clear that the Republicans' number one goal was to make sure that was not going to happen,” said Lawless.
     
    One example is the so-called Dream Act. It would have granted citizenship to law-abiding immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children. It was endorsed by the president, but never made it out of Congress.
     
    In June, Obama announced that the U.S. will temporarily stop deporting the immigrants who qualified under the Dream Act. Meanwhile, his administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any president in history.
     
    Obama kept his campaign promise to reform the nation’s health care system. While the resulting law has been highly controversial, the Supreme Court upheld its major provisions.
     
    He pushed for, and Congress approved, a $787-billion economic stimulus package and then implemented a bailout for American automakers General Motors and Chrysler.
     
    On Obama’s watch, Osama bin Laden, blamed for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, was located in Pakistan and killed in a surprise military operation.
     
    The president withdrew U.S. forces from Iraq, increased the number of troops in Afghanistan and signed a new arms control treaty with Russia.  
     
    Obama is the first African-American to be elected president. He also is the first sitting president to support legalizing same-sex marriage.  

    As Obama faced his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, in their first debate, the president enjoyed a small but consistent lead in national public opinion polls. But the president performed poorly in that debate and Romney gained ground.
     
    Obama has been directing his campaign message mostly to younger voters, women, minorities and the middle class. In recent weeks, the country's economy improved marginally,which could help the president.  
     
    In the final week of the campaign, Obama cancelled campaign appearances to direct the government’s response to Hurricane Sandy. The Republican governor of New Jersey, who had been a harsh critic, praised Obama for his role in the disaster.
     
    Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
     
    Vice President Joe Biden again joins Obama on the Democratic ticket. Biden was a six-term U.S. senator and is considered a foreign policy expert.

    Carolyn Presutti

    Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters. She has also won numerous Associated Press TV, Radio, and Multimedia awards, as well as a Clarion for her TV coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, Google Glass & Other Wearables, and the 9/11 Anniversary.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora