President Barack Obama, the first African American chief executive in the history of the United States, inspired millions of people to believe in his message of hope. His administration’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, came under persistent attacks as he sought to implement sweeping health-care reform. The Obama administration exercised executive powers aggressively—refusing to deport many undocumented immigrants who had entered the country as children, and refusing to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), becoming the first administration to support same-sex marriage. In the war on terror, President Obama used an elite team of Navy SEALS to kill al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden. Yet, he was criticized for using drones to kill American citizens on foreign soil, for continuing his predecessor’s use of NSA data collection to gather intelligence, and for overusing executive orders. President Obama’s presidency will doubtless be viewed as transformational; however, some critics will charge that he overreached in exercising his own executive authority, particularly in certain controversial areas that might have been left to Congress.
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