President Obama gave his final press conference at the White House on Wednesday and in looking forward concluded by saying, "at my core, I think we're going to be OK" as stated on the National Public Radio website. But as he prepares to leave office, the question that needs to be addressed is, how did he fare as the leader of the free world? Was he a good or a bad president? Let us investigate.


On November 4th, 2008, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois was elected President of the United States (US) having beaten Senator John McCain of Arizona.

As the 44th President, Obama was elected amidst huge euphoria, mainly because he was the first african american to be elected to office as reported on the History channel website. Four years later Obama was reelected having beaten Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The good

In many ways, it is fair to say that Obama did a lot of good as President. Domestically there were many achievements. In 2010 he signed the Affordable Care Act which from 2014 was meant to cover 32 million uninsured Americans. In addition, in 2009 Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in an attempt to "spur economic growth" amidst the recession according to the Washington monthly magazine. As a result of this Act, unemployment "began to subside" and more jobs were created as a result.

Abroad, there were also many positive achievements. One major accomplishment was ending the war in Iraq; the last troops left in December 2011. Another was 'eliminating' Osama Bin Laden. In 2011 the terrorist was killed after Special Forces raided his compound in Pakistan. Another major positive was the repeal of the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy.

As a result gays and lesbians were allowed to "serve openly" in the military for the first time.

And the bad

However, despite the successes, there were many failings too. In a poll which asked whether Obama's presidency was more a success or a failure, more than 52% said failure, as reported on The Federalist website. Domestically, one major problem sited was that Obama failed to heal the racial divisions in the country.

Although his election victory in 2008 was viewed as "historic", he was accused of being "uninterested and ham-handed" in dealing with the issue. In addition it has been claimed that the stimulus package "didn't stimulate". Although he took office amidst an economic crisis, it has been alleged that he presided over the "slowest, weakest economic recovery" since the Great Depression. There were even criticisms over ObamaCare. Although claimed to provide cover for 32 million people, it turned out to cover between 10% and 20% of what was promised. Even abroad there were criticisms too. Many believed that Obama withdrew too prematurely from Iraq which gave rise to the terrorist group, the Islamic State.

There are those who also feel that Obama "blew the Arab Spring" as he seemed to fail in not adopting "any meaningful policy" to deal with the situation. Further on from this, there are some who believe that he "made America irrelevant". He campaigned on the promise that America "would be more respected" in the world, but many believe that that has simply not happened.

Concluding thoughts

It is clear that Obama did a lot of good. He stabilised a nation in a difficult time. He did remove Bin Laden and he did exit from Iraq. But for many, it seems that his time as President was a huge opportunity missed. Riding on the wave of euphoria as the first African American President, he failed to take advantage of his situation, leaving us wondering instead how that was allowed to happen.