He's the president who made history before even taking his oath of office - the first African American ever to be elected to the White House. He won the Nobel Peace Prize after just nine months as president. He looks pretty great in sunglasses. But Obama has also had a far tougher time as president than the lofty rhetoric his campaign was founded on might have suggested. Inheriting an economy in a dire state, he's overseen a slow and unsteady recovery, while his healthcare reforms polarized the nation following vitriolic attacks from his political opponents.
As Barack Obama prepares for his public inauguration as U.S. president on Jan. 21, we look back at the life and career of a president who has proved to be transformative and divisive in equal measure.
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