The night Barack Obama changed his sweet home Chicago for a new address at the White House, he was riding a tide of hope across the country.
It marked an end to the eight-year Bush administration.
Obama said in his victory speech: “It’s been a long time coming, but tonight because of what we did on this day in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”
The new leader inherited an economy weighed down by the debt-financed US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Then came the subprimes disaster and the failure of Lehman Brothers bank, and national recession.
The automobile industry was in meltdown, symbolic Detroit was suffering badly, with vehicle sales plunging by 40%.
To rescue it, Obama threw the industry a 60 billion dollar life preserver. It saved a million jobs, ensured a lot of gratitude.
When they had reached the light at the end of the tunnel, in July 2010 Obama said: “Today for the first time since 2004, all three US automakers are operating at a profit, first time in six years.”
Obama also set about correcting malpractice on Wall Street, promising regulation. When that was ready for presentation, he said: “With the reforms we are proposing today, we seek to put in place rules that will allow our markets to promote innovation while discouraging abuse.”
His longest battle was to pass legislation to make certain that fewer Americans went without health care insurance – through measures such as subsidies and tax credits. The nation was divided over a principle of being obliged to get something. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the package.
Finally, in March 2010, the president could announce: “Today, after almost a century of trying, after over a year of debate, health insurance reform becomes law in the USA.”
Then in 2012, Obama also took a historic step as the first US president to publicly support homosexual wedlock.
“For me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married. “
The first law signed into existence by the former civic rights lawyer, in 2009, had been to ensure that victims of pay discrimination could effectively challenge it.