Updated: 17 January 2013 05:45 AM | By Tom Phillips
Career in Pictures: Barack Obama

Barack Obama

Barack Obama (© Jim Young / Reuters)
  • Barack Obama (© Jim Young / Reuters)
  • Early life (© Ho New / Reuters)
  • Chicago and Harvard (© Steve Liss/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
  • Teaching law (© AP Photo/Obama for America)
  • 'Dreams From My Father' (© AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
  • Emerging on the national scene (© MIKE SEGAR/Reuters)
  • 2008 primaries & election (© REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
  • Victory (© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jim Young / ReutersShow Thumbnails
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He's the president who made history before even taking his oath of office - the first African American ever to be elected to the White House. He won the Nobel Peace Prize after just nine months as president. He looks pretty great in sunglasses. But Obama has also had a far tougher time as president than the lofty rhetoric his campaign was founded on might have suggested. Inheriting an economy in a dire state, he's overseen a slow and unsteady recovery, while his healthcare reforms polarised the nation following vitriolic attacks from his political opponents.

As Barack Obama prepares for his second inauguration as US president on January 20, we look back at the life and career of a president who has proved to be transformative and divisive in equal measure.

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