By Sarah Rix
Next Tuesday, Americans will head to the polls to determine if their sitting president, Barack Obama, will win a second term in office.
Along with his challenger, Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the two have spent a lot of time on the campaign trail this year, debating issues ranging from economic plans to foreign policies. As the candidates look for swing state votes, they’ve been under intense scrutiny in their behaviour and presentation.
Obama, a Democrat and the first African American to take office as the 44th president, has faced challenges in the White House and there has been less grassroots enthusiasm on the campaign trail than when he first ran in the 2008 election.
Chief among these issues were failed attempts to bridge the gap between both parties and perceived shortcomings of economic reform in a faltering financial climate. This contributed to a loss for the Democrats during the 2010 midterms with the party losing control of the House of Representatives.
With voters and the media keeping a close eye on his campaign – and with Republicans quick to point out any problems – below is a timeline of Obama’s 2012 run.
For Romney’s 2012 election campaign, click here.
Name: Barack Hussein Obama II
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
State(s) of residence: District of Columbia and Illinois
Facebook likes: Over 31.5 million likes as of 10 a.m. on Oct. 30
Twitter followers: More than 21.5 million
April 4, 2011: Obama formally confirmed his 2012 campaign with a video of supporters talking about his 2008 election and plans to back him for re-election. Donations also opened up online.
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April 7, 2011: Obama held his first fundraising events in Chicago.
Jan. 3, 2012: The first Democratic primary was held in Iowa. Obama received almost 99 per cent of the vote, running against members of the Occupy movement.
April 3, 2012: Wins in Maryland and the District of Columbia Democratic primaries ensure he has more than the 2,778 delegates needed to secure his party’s nomination.
June 5, 2012: Final primaries wrapped up in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. By the end of the primaries, Obama handily carried all 50 states, as well as D.C.
Sept. 5, 2012: On the second day of the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina, former president Bill Clinton officially nominated Obama.
“… Fellow Democrats, we are here to nominate a president. And I’ve got one in mind. I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. I want to nominate a man who ran for president to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before his election saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery.”
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Sept. 6, 2012: Obama spoke at the final day of the Democratic National Convention, accepting his party’s nomination.
“… Ours is a future filled with hope. And if you share that faith with me, if you share that hope with me, I ask you tonight for your vote. If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election.”
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Oct. 3, 2012: The first debate between Romney and Obama was held in Colorado. More than 67 million people watched the debate – breaking a record set 32 years ago. A Gallup poll afterward showed 72 per cent of voters thought Romney had done a better job than Obama – who critics found to appear removed and unclear – received 20 per cent of the vote. Obama later said he was clearly having a bad night.
Oct. 16, 2012: The second presidential debate took place in New York with a focus on domestic affairs. The debate showed a more focused Obama who polled better (46 per cent to Romney’s 39) and also benefited from his opponent’s “binders full of women” gaffe.
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Here, Obama speaks on the terrorist act that occurred in Libya on Sept. 11, 2012:
“The suggestion that anybody on my team, whether the secretary of state, our UN ambassador… anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we lost four of our own, governor, is offensive.”
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Oct. 22, 2012: The final presidential debate again ruled in favour of Obama, getting 56 per cent of votes in a Gallup poll based on the question “who do you think did the better job?” Romney polled at 33 per cent.
One mistake in the debate came from neither candidate, but from moderator Bob Schieffer who stumbled in saying “Obama’s Bin Laden.”
Oct. 24, 2012: Real estate mogul Donald Trump – who had previously asked Obama to show his birth certificate to confirm he’d been born in the United States – said he would donate five million dollars to charity if the president would hand over college and passport records and applications.
“We know very little about our president.”
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Obama responded to Trump’s request in an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In the segment, responding to a question about Trump’s vendetta against him, Obama joked:
“You know, this all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.”
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Oct. 25, 2012: Obama visited Chicago to cast an early vote in the election. He encouraged Americans to follow suit as the campaigns entered their final days and Romney was experiencing a surge in the polls the day before, pulling ahead of Obama by one per cent.
Oct. 30, 2012: The president declared New York a major disaster following Hurricane Sandy’s barrage of the east coast. The deadly storm left more than eight million people without power. Both Romney and Obama cancelled events on the campaign trail because of the hurricane.
With the campaigns ending Nov. 6, the decision comes down to voters picking between the Republican’s arguing against a weak Obama presidency versus the Democrats pushing the idea of their better, more progressive plan for the future.
A CNN poll on Monday suggested that Romney and Obama were neck and neck, with each getting 48 per cent support nationally.
But all eyes will be on the swing states come election day.
The battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin will play an important part in determining whether Americans will get four more years of President Obama or whether they’ll elect a new occupant for the White House, President Romney.