The State of the Nation When Obama Entered Office
In order to accurately judge what Barack Obama was able to achieve as President of the United States, it's important to remember what the conditions were like when he entered office. When Obama was elected President, the United States was facing a harsh economic recession. In 2009, unemployment was at 7.8%, GDP was -5.4%, consumer confidence was 37.4, federal public debt was $10.6 trillion, the Dow Jones industrial average was 7949.09, median household income was $54,988, Americans living in poverty was at 43.6 million, the number of Americans without health insurance was 49 million, and the number of Americans receiving food stamps was 33 million. When evaluating those conditions, it's safe to say the Obama faced some of the harshest economic conditions entering office.
What Improved Under Obama
When comparing the conditions previously mentioned, it's clear to see that Obama was able to improve a lot as President. U.S. unemployment fell to 4.7%, GDP has risen to 3.5%, consumer confidence has risen to 113.7, the Dow Jones industrial average has risen to 19855.53, and the number of Americans receiving without health insurance has fell to 29.8 million, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
On the other hand, certain conditions under President Obama have barely changed or even gotten worse. The median household income has only risen by less than $2,000 and the number of Americans living below the poverty line has only fallen by 500,000. The federal public debt has risen to $20 trillion, and the number of Americans receiving food stamps has risen by 13 million to a total of 13 million people.
How War Has Changed Under Obama
When Barack Obama became President, the United States was actively involved in two foreign conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While campaigning, one of Obama's key promises was to pull out troops from these conflicts. In 2009, 140,149 American troops were stationed in Iraq and 34,400 troops were stationed in Afghanistan. Many changes have been made since then. Today, the number of troops stationed in Iraq is 5,200 and the number of troops in Afghanistan is 9,800. While the number of troops isn't quite at 0, many would consider this to be a promise kept by Obama.
Obama's Supreme Court
In his two terms as President, Obama was able to fill two Supreme Court vacancies. Obama's first appointment was Sonia Sotomayor, who was confirmed on August 6, 2009, by a vote of 68–31. His second appointment was Elena Kagan, who was confirmed on May 10, 2010 by the Senate by a 63-37 vote.
Some key Supreme Court victories for the Obama Administration include 2015 cases King v. Burwell, which upheld part of Obama's milestone Affordable Care Act, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage.
In March of 2016, Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the seat of Antonin Scalia, but was unable to get his pick confirmed because Republican Senators refused to hear the pick, as the end of Obama's presidency was nearing.