With a highly combative presidential campaign behind him, President Barack Obama has had quite a year. In no particular order, NewsOne put together the commander-in-chief’s best moments of 2012!
1. Obama Slow Jams the News
During an unexpected appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” President Obama joined Jimmy Fallon and the Roots to “slow jam the news,” using the opportunity to talk about his education policies for students.
2. Obama Almost Reaches the DREAM
Regardless if the change in policy conveniently took place in an election-year, the Obama Administration announcing that it would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who entered the United States as children when they meet specific requirements was far more helpful in settling the longstanding political strife over immigration, than say, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and her state’s “show me your papers at random” legislation.
3. Obama Backs Gay Marriage
Somewhat pushed by Vice President Joe Biden’s declaration for marriage equality in a previous interview, President Obama revealed that he “evolved” on a stance about same-sex marriage during an interview with Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America.” That evolution was basically the position he held back in 1996, but hey, progress is progress. Obama has been a staunch supporter of gay rights in terms of both policy and in his public statements.
4. Obama Shouts Out Young Jeezy
During this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, President Obama quipped, “In my first term, I sang Al Green. In my second term, I’m going with Young Jeezy.”
Coolest president ever.
5. Obama Makes Key Compromise on Contraception Controversy
In response to Catholic bishops protesting the Obama administration’s plans to mandate that employer-provided health insurance plans provide co-pay-free birth control to their female employees, the new compromise dictated that religious-affiliated employers themselves didn’t have to pay for the coverage or have any communication with employees over the matter. As a result, the responsibility went straight to the insurance companies at no extra cost to consumers.
6. Obama Steps It Up In Second and Third Debates
Following a widely panned performance in the first debate, President Obama appeared energized in the second and third. He was far more engaged and much faster to respond to Mitt Romney’s misrepresentation on policy. As you can see in the below clip, Obama was also sharp in certain critiques – proving his experience as commander-in-chief set him apart from his challenger on key matters.
This year, Obama was the first presidential candidate to vote early – a symbolic nod to his re-election campaign’s strategy to get as many supporters to the polls early as possible, where applicable. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney thought about planning early too — only his planning involved creating a transition website announcing his presidential win. Oops!
President Barack Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Atlantic City, NJ. Obama traveled to the region to take an aerial tour of the Atlantic Coast in New Jersey in areas damaged by superstorm Sandy, (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
8. Obama Responds Appropriately to Hurricane Sandy
When Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast – killing more than 100 people, ravaging homes and property, and leaving millions without power – President Obama suspended his campaign in order to put the victims first and not politicize the natural disaster. As a result of his quickness to offer as much federal assistance as possible, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christiepraised the Obama administration’s post-storm relief efforts.
The President was barely in office during his first term, when Republicans — bitter about their 2008 loss — began campaigning for 2012. Punctuated with low blows, distractions, i.e., birth certificates, and the media spin machine, this year’s election was intense and often outrageous, with the President running against a competitor who blatantly changed his stance on key issues daily. If you add in voter suppression and intimidation, vacillating polls, and the Republicans incessant rejection of facts, it appeared that the President was facing a mountain of challenges in winning re-election.
But Obama prevailed.
And the whole world got to witness the President win gracefully and decisively, making this key moment the most momentous of all.
11. Obama Defends Susan Rice
During his first post-election victory press conference, Obama offered a blunt defense of United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, tellingSenator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC):
If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me. When they go after the U.N. ambassador apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me.
Between that and White House officials making it clear that they will not bend on their push to generate revenue by raising the tax rates on the top 2 percent of earners in this country it’s clear: President Obama will be far firmer with his opposition than he was in his first administration.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick