Obama out: US President a cultural icon after eight years in the White House
Obama out: US President a cultural icon after eight years in the White House
From fist bumping Michelle Obama to sharing a few dad jokes, Barack Obama has defined his presidency through pop culture.
From fist bumping Michelle Obama to sharing a few dad jokes during his Thanksgiving addresses, Barack Obama has defined his presidency through pop culture.
It has allowed him to spruik political messages to niche audiences, genuinely engage with the public and attract Hollywood stars to amplify his message.
Take a look back at some of his coolest moments from the past eight years.
Correspondents Dinner 2016
Mr Obama hosted a number of memorable White House Correspondents Association Dinners during his time as US President.
The annual event, a long-standing tradition which usually includes a skit by the sitting President in front of the White House press corps, has allowed the public to see a different side of Mr Obama.
He also used his speech to poke fun at his wife’s ageless looks and his first meeting with Prince George.
Dancing the tango in Argentina
Not many world leaders would perform a tango in front of other politicians and waiting press, but Mr Obama made it look effortless when he made headlines for an impromptu performance at the Argentine state dinner in March, 2016.
At the end of the state dinner in Buenos Aires, the US President got up and sashayed from one side of the tiny dancefloor to the other with a female dancer, while the First Lady teamed up with her male counterpart for a spell.
After a few spins, Mr Obama drew a round of applause from the waiting crowd and, as the story spread over social media, from around the world as well.
Twitter war with Prince Harry and the Queen
The Obamas challenged Prince Harry while promoting the Invictus Games, an international sports event for wounded, disabled and sick military personnel and veterans, last April.
It started after the Obamas shared a video of themselves on Twitter challenging Harry and warning him to be careful “what you wish for” as military officers stood behind them with mock menace on their faces.
The Prince rose to the challenge, tweeting a reply video with his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Slow jamming the news on Jimmy Fallon
Mr Obama appeared on comedian Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show in 2012, singing his proposal not to charge interest on student loans.
It was a creative way of promoting his project and brought student loans to the forefront of people’s minds, with the late night television slot helping to solidify Mr Obama’s image as a “cool” President in the eyes of many.
President’s first dance with Michelle
What better entrance is there as President and First Lady than to perform your first dance to Beyonce?
In one of the iconic moments of the 2009 inauguration ceremony, Mr Obama and Ms Obama slowly swayed to At Last, sung by Beyonce, during the Midwestern Regional Inaugural Ball.
The significance of the song was interpreted by some US media outlets to have a double meaning — on a political level it hinted at the Democrats taking back power after eight years of George Bush and on another level, it was seen as a symbolic reference to the election of the country’s first African-American president.
Swatting a fly in CNBC interview
During a 2009 interview with CNBC, Mr Obama became distracted as a fly buzzed around him.
After telling it to “get out of here”, Mr Obama smacked it as it landed on his forearm.
Then, without missing a beat, Mr Obama continued with the interview.
Fist bump with Michelle
Playing it cool, Mr Obama chose to fist bump his wife after he claimed victory as Democratic presidential nominee in 2008.
“It captures what I love about my wife, which is that there is a reverence about her and a sense that for all the hoopla that I’m her husband and sometimes we’ll do silly things,” he told NBC of the fist pump afterwards.
The baby whisperer
The President is famous for his skills with children. When he picks up a baby, they are often mesmerised.
While on a visit to Japan last year, Mr Obama put his skills to the test, calming a crying baby at Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station.
Obama playing basketball
Mr Obama is a keen basketballer and was even photographed on election day last year, snapped coming off the court after playing a game.
In 2012, he even played a game of basketball with Chicago Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen.
Meeting Prince George
Who could forget Mr Obama and Prince George’s first meeting? George stayed up past his bedtime for a special visit from the world leader.
The two shook hands in a decidedly casual meeting at Kensington Palace after the Obamas took part in celebrations for the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Reading out mean tweets on Jimmy Kimmel
Remember that time Mr Obama took on some of his “haters” in the Twitterverse in Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets segment?
Taking it all in his stride, Mr Obama read out some of the online abuse, which included insults of his jeans and criticism of his presidency.
He was also quick to respond to some jabs, responding in one segment to a comment asking if he could “lift” with: “Well, I lifted the ban on Cuban cigars”.
Comeback to Zach Galifianakis on serving two terms
Despite being seen by some commentators as an odd choice, Mr Obama’s appearance on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns signified his commitment to reaching new and younger audiences.
Spruiking HealthCare.gov, Mr Obama went head-to-head with Zach Galifianakis, sending as much shade back to the Hangover star as he received.
At one point he was even asked how it felt to be “the last black President”.
But far from being thrown, Mr Obama dished it back.
“Seriously? What’s it like for this to be the last time you even talk to a President?” he said.
Trying to name all the GOT deaths
The President also proved that even world leaders like to spend their spare time watching Game of Thrones.
In a bid to get people to register to vote, Mr Obama attempted to name every character who had ever died on the HBO show.
Presidential songs — and covers
Mr Obama is known for unexpectedly crooning a song or two in public since coming to the White House.
So it comes as no surprise that over the course of his presidency Mr Obama has been caught on camera breaking out into song.
One standout moment was in January 2012, when Mr Obama sang hit song Let’s Stay Together in the middle of a speech after realising he was in the same room as the Reverend Al Green.
Not many world leaders would be so bold.
Mr Obama has also been the target of Baracksdubs, a YouTube channel devoted to mashing together his speeches to the tune of popular music songs, which included most recently Mr Obama “singing” Drake’s One Dance.
Dad jokes at Thanksgiving
Over the past eight years, Mr Obama made it his mission to bring another Thanksgiving tradition to the White House — jokes.
Admitting to embarrassing his daughters with the Thanksgiving puns, he certainly made a few people laugh during his speeches.
In a pun-filled address this year, Mr Obama recognised “the brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom”.
Twitter banter with Bill Clinton
After starting a new Twitter account in May 2015, with the handle @POTUS, Mr Obama was quick to draw scrutiny from a former president.
Bill Clinton, whose wife Hillary Clinton was the Democratic Party candidate in the 2016 US election, welcomed POTUS on Twitter but asked if the username stayed with the office.
Mr Obama causally responded with a reference to Mr Clinton’s potential role, at the time, as FLOTUS.
Dancing with famous people
Before he was President, Mr Obama cranked a few dance moves on Ellen to the delight of audience members in the studio and around America.
More than eight years later, Mr Obama was caught dancing on camera again — this time to Drake’s Hotline Bling at a White House music event.
Bromance with Biden
Most presidential candidates choose someone they can imagine working well with.
Spending his retirement?
Mr Obama has even poked fun at how he will spend his retirement, using a skit that aired at the Correspondents dinner to ponder his free time after leaving office.
After getting some advice following a number of failed bids to pursue other hobbies, Mr Obama decides that in his retirement he’ll “just be me” and wear his “mum jeans in peace”.