President Barack Obama, America's 44th president, seeks re-election in 2012.
Obama was born in Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961, to a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas. His maternal grandfather served in Patton's army, and his grandmother was a bank manager.
Obama worked his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans. He attended the Punahou School, Occidental College, Columbia University, and later Harvard Law School.
During his college days Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked as an organizer to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.
At Harvard, he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he took a job teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago.
He also remained active in his community, leading a drive that registered more than 150,000 voters in Illinois leading up to the 1992 election. Obama was first elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, and moved on to the U.S. Senate in 2004.
He and first lady Michelle Obama have two daughters, Natasha and Malia.
- Jobs and the economy - Obama touts 31 straight months of job growth during his presidency. He said more than 1 million jobs were saved by the government's bailout of the U.S. auto industry, and all government loans were paid back ahead of time by the auto companies. Manufacturing in America has added 459,000 jobs since January 2010 - the most growth in a decade, according to Obama. He has a plan to bring jobs back to the U.S. by eliminating tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and creating incentives for businesses to bring jobs back to America.
- Medicare - Obama said his national health care law added eight years to the solvency of Medicare by getting rid of $716 billion in waste, fraud and needless spending-including $156 billion in wasteful subsidies to insurance companies.
- Energy - Obama advocates an "all of the above approach to energy independence." Obama said he has made one of the most significant federal investments in clean coal technology in history. Under the Obama administration, the industry has attracted more than $10 billion in private investments, and in 2011 employment in the coal sector hit its highest level since 1996, according to the Obama campaign. He also suggests increasing domestic oil and natural gas production, as well as sources for wind and solar energy.
- Social Security - Obama said he is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security for future generations, without putting current retirees at risk. He noted he "won't accept reform that slashes benefits for future generations or turns Social Security over to Wall Street."
- Spending - The war in Iraq has ended, the war in Afghanistan will end in 2014, and now is the time to rebuild America, Obama said. The president's plan uses half the money the nation is no longer spending on war to put Americans back to work rebuilding road, bridges, runways and schools here at home and uses the other half to help pay down the debt.
- Health care - The Affordable Care Act is holding insurance companies accountable and putting an end to the worst abuses, such as capping or dropping your coverage when you get sick, Obama said. It is helping people with Medicare save on the care they need to stay healthy-from free preventive services to lower costs on prescription drugs and monthly premiums, he added.
- Taxes - Obama noted he has put forward a specific, balanced plan of spending cuts and revenue increases that reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, including $1 trillion in spending cuts he signed into law last summer as part of a deal with congressional Republicans.
- National defense - Obama is drawing down troops in Afghanistan as the nation transitions security responsibility to the Afghan people, and is on track to responsibly end the war there in 2014. He added he made the decision to order a raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, eliminating the man responsible for the 9-11 attacks and the only leader al Qaeda had ever known. Obama noted he has strengthened the country's alliances around the world with other countries such as Israel, our NATO allies, and U.S. partners in Asia and Latin America.