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Yes We Can.
Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America, succeeding George W. Bush, and succeeded by Donald Trump. Born in Honolulu to a white American mother and a Kenyan father, he spent his childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii before attending Harvard Law School and eventually settling in Chicago, where he worked as a community organizer and a college professor before being elected to the state Senate in 1996, and from there to the U.S. Senate in 2004.
He's relatively young (47 on taking office), quite intelligent, physically attractive, in a visibly loving relationship with his equally attractive wife, and is often seen publicly with his school-age children in non-political contexts. He is also the first American president to be mixed-race (the son of a White mother and a Black father), and is cited as proof that the Civil Rights Movement has paid off.
Satirical portrayals of Obama play up his idealism. Leftists attack him for being too nice to Republicans, while right-wingers attack him for having a naive idea of how things work in the real world. We also see his ginormous ears. The racial dynamic has resulted in Obama being treated oftentimes as The Generic Guy. Nobody wants to run into the Magical Negro archetype so they play it safe. If the continued success of satirical shows like The Daily Show is any consideration, this actually hasn't been anywhere near as limiting as it sounds.
A note from admin about examples: Barack Obama as a modern politician is noteworthy to this site as a performer. He uses rhetorical techniques to obtain a specific outcome. That's storytelling. The examples here are of the guy's techniques, and how he is used in media, not about your political opinions. No subjective tropes or "audience reaction" tropes are wanted here. Recall the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.
And no, He's not dead.
Barack Obama provides examples of:
- AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: Jon Stewart will occasionally pronounce the President's name flatly as "BA-ruck OH-buh-muh" instead of "ba-ROCK uh-BAH-muh". British media favours either "BA-ruck" (like the word 'barrack') or "buh-RACK uh-BAH-muh". The President feeds some of this himself, as he tends to use pronunciations (especially of foreign proper nouns) which are more accurate than but different to common American pronunciation. e.g. He pronounces Pakistan "pock-uh-STON" rather than "PACK-uh-stan". It should also be noted that while Obama pronounces his given name with the accent on the second syllable, his father, economist Barack Hussein Obama I, did indeed stress the first syllable.
- Analogy Backfire: Comparisons to Lincoln and Kennedy, who were both assassinated. Lampshaded in a "Between the Lines" segment of Mock the Week:
Greg (Obama): Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to attempt to emulate my political heroes: Lincoln, Kennedy, Martin Luther King.
Hugh (Inner Obama): I'm going to be assassinated.
- Angry Black Man: Averted HARD. Obama normally projects an unflappably calm demeanor, and is often nicknamed "No-Drama Obama" by insiders. No matter how incendiary the situation, Obama has never been seen to yell angrily at people, and at worst simply raises his voice and speaks forcibly like a stern father. Some believe this is due to social training of many black professionals, who constantly keep their emotions in check to avoid being seen as volatile.
- Awesome McCoolname:
- Yes, he has gotten a lot of flak over the fact that his middle name is "Hussein", and people keep saying how "Obama" sounds a lot like "Osama", but people rarely mention that "Barack" means 'blessed' in his father's native language (Kiswahili, a.k.a. Swahili), and also has that meaning in Hebrew. It also sounds like the Hebrew word for lightning, but that's spelled/transliterated differently ("barak" -- like the Israeli politician). In Hebrew, his name means both "bless" and "curse," it is used both ways in the book of Job, so translators had to guess for each iteration based on context.
- Chris Rock commented in one stand-up about how awesome Obama's name is:
Chris Rock: Barack Obama. That sounds like a guy waving a spear!
- Michael McIntyre did a bit subverting this trope:
Michael McIntyre: Barack Hussein Obama is a terrible name to run for american president. "Barack" sounds like "Iraq", "Hussein" reminds one of Saddam Hussein and "Obama" sounds like "Osama". But still he did. He became president. And I imagine many young black kids here in Britain see this and think "I could get elected Prime Minister! If I work hard and devote myself, I can make it" -- "No, I don't think so Adolf Mugabe Fritzl."
- Patton Oswalt did a similar thing in a bit about time-traveling to his 1998 self:
Patton Oswalt: His real name is Barack Hussein Obama. So, we basically elect a jamba juice supplement with a dictator's middle name...(later on) Yeah, I'm gonna vote for Ginseng Hitler Bee-pollen.
- Spoofed when President Obama made a state visit to Ireland, and joked about trying to reclaim the apostrophe that got dropped from his family's name. He himself once said:
"When I call, they would wonder what this Muslim, or worse, this Irish O'Bama wants to do."
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Screwed up slightly. During the biggest inauguration ceremony in decades, John Roberts flubbed part of the oath, which Obama repeated. Roberts misplaced the word "faithfully", which Obama paused for him to correct, then repeated the mistake himself. They corrected that later, and most of the rest went smoothly. The redo didn't stop certain elements from declaring the entire thing illegitimate on account of the flub, of course. However, they forget that whether the Oath is taken correctly at precisely twelve noon or not, the President-elect automatically becomes President at precisely noon on Inauguration Day, so the whole thing is moot.
- Background Halo: Taking various photos of Obama with a halo around his head has become a meme.
- Bait and Switch Comparison
"So I've cut the tension by bringing a new friend to the White House. He's warm, he's cuddly, loyal, enthusiastic. You just have to keep him on a tight leash. Every once in a while he goes charging off in the wrong direction and gets himself into trouble. But enough about Joe Biden."
- Black and Nerdy:
- He collects comics (his favorites are Spider-Man and Conan, and he made a Superman reference during the campaign).
- He greeted Leonard Nimoy with the "Live long and prosper" Vulcan salute, and reportedly mocked his wife's fancy belt buckle by using it as a Star Trek communicator and announcing that "we have the dilithium crystals."
- He looks distinctly nerdy in these photos.
- His tech-focused campaign and apparent love of astronauts also gain him some nerd points.
- During a March, 2010 stop in Iowa, he stopped in a local bookstore and was photographed buying a copy of all six Star Wars movies.
- He plays video games. At a minimum, we know he plays Wii Sports bowling. On the other side of the spectrum, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk gifted him The Witcher 2 when he visited Poland in May 2011.
- He was on Myth Busters. That's the nerd Brass Ring.
- He follows Aperture Science on Twitter.
- Blessed with Suck: Congratulations on becoming President of the United States! Now you have to deal with a recession, two wars, crumbling infrastructure, very angry people on both sides, healthcare reform, myriad foreign affairs difficulties, environmental degradation of various types... good luck! Obama himself once joked that this might be the first time the winner of an election would have reason to ask for a recount. The Onion ran an article after he was elected with the headline "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job."
- Both Sides Have a Point: Obama's book The Audacity of Hope often employed "On the one hand... on the other hand" examinations of the merits of both sides of political impasses, and at his first major national speech at the 2004 Democratic convention he confidently declared "We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states — we coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states." Unfortunately for him, conservatives quickly attacked him as a closet radical socialist, while liberals grew frustrated with his perceived caving to Republican interests.
- But Not Too Black: Many black people were concerned about this early in the election. Some claimed he wasn't really black because they considered blacks to be those descended from slaves, whereas Obama's father was a native African. This may have been to his advantage though, as he didn't have the baggage of 350 years of oppression. Even aside from the early election, perspectives vary, partially due to mixed race rarely being a cultural identity in the US; most feel pressured to fit into one of the existing cultural groupings.
- But Not Too Foreign: Some say he is ineligible to be president because it is constitutionally illegal for any but a natural born US citizen to be elected to the office. Since Obama brought forth his birth certificate the issue has been dropped, except by a few fringe conspiracy theorists.
- Catch Phrase: "Yes We Can!", "Change", "Hope for America", "What I have said is", "There are those who say", and "Let me be clear".
- The Chessmaster: Andrew Sullivan noted how Obama seems to play "the long game", in which Obama seems to waffle on a topic early on, only to reveal he had been waiting either for a proper alignment of political allies or else waiting for his enemies to self-destruct.
- Conspiracy Theory:
- A faction of individuals called "Birthers" believe, despite his birth certificate being viewed and verified several times during his life before he even ran for president, that Obama is actually Kenyan. A slightly less frequently aired theory about his citizenship is his giving up his US citizenship when he was living in Indonesia.
- Another theory is that Obama has dual American and British citizenship, the British being inherited from his Kenyan father. Allegedly this is illegal for a president (although Grover Cleveland still held office with dual American and British citizenship).
- A good many people have dedicated YouTube videos to proving that "Yes We Can" backwards is "Hail Satan!" Ignoring the fact that the number of syllables are different, all of the videos point out to the viewers what they ought to be hearing before playing the phrase backwards, thus creating bias. Lovely.
- For the record, we're pretty sure Obama is neither gay nor in love with Oprah. Both of which are courtesy of the Sun, even though the two stories contradict each other.
- Let's not even get into the ones that think that he's a secret Muslim.
- Or a communist trying to destroy the country.
- And now there's people claiming that he carefully timed or even outright faked Osama Bin Laden's death to boost his popularity. The same ones who claim Bin Laden's admission to terrorist acts were fake, no doubt.
- Curb Stomp Battle: His race against Alan Keyes in 2004, taking the Senate seat from the Republican Party with a massive 22% swing, in what was otherwise a good year for the Republicans. People have, with varying degrees of seriousness, suggested why Keyes is one of the most prominent "birthers".
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Defeat Means Friendship: He has added some former political rivals to his cabinet, most notably including Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State.
- Determinator: Health care reform. He would not give up on it.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Inverted. Growing up he'd been known by the nickname "Barry" (as had his father, Barack Sr.), but in college he decided he preferred to be addressed by his given name.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- No, a black president who was very positively portrayed was not responsible for helping Obama win the election. The people of Twenty Four have no idea why you would get that idea.
- Rewatch the final presidential election on The West Wing and note how eerie the similarities are to the 2008 election. Pure coincidence, you say? The writers based the character of Matt Santos on then state-senator Barack Hussein Obama. Also, Josh Lyman became Santos' chief of staff in this story, and Lyman is known to be heavily based on Rahm Emanuel, a Clinton-era staffer... who went on to become Barack Obama's first chief of staff.
- The late 90's manga EAGLE: The Making of an Asian-American President details a year 2000 presidential election where an Asian-American senator gets elected as POTUS. Change the ethnicity of the main character, and interesting similarities appear: He starts out as a dark horse candidate who quickly eclipses his rivals who had gone into the primaries assuming their victory, one of the senator's early main obstacles is an expy of Hilary Clinton, his VP pick is an established Washington insider (an expy of Al Gore rather than Joe Biden, but the reasoning behind the picks are similar) and his Republican opponent is an elderly military hero whose supporters are very hostile to the idea of a non-white president, who they fear would be in the pocket of foreign powers.
- Fans of one Dr. Gregory House might have had a feeling of deja vu during the '08 campaign
- Blair Underwood's character of President Elias Martinez on The Event bears a lot of similarity, down the to idealism (and criticism for it), and older, more 'traditional' VP.
- Dramatic Pause: Gets into very awkward, choppy pausing like this at times.
- Embarrassing Middle Name:
- His full name is Barack Hussein Obama II. Several people hastened to point out that his middle name sounds Muslim and is shared with part of the name of infamous Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. When asked who decided to name him, Obama replied, "Someone who never thought I would run for President of the United States."
- Chief Justice Roberts fumbled part of Obama's oath of office during his inauguration right at the start when he had to say his middle-name, which combined with another Justice Robert error lead to a second, private oath later on. No-one made a big deal about it.
- Everyone in Obama's Staff Owns a Mac: Obama has been shown having a Mac. Most of his staffers also apparently own Macs and are accustomed to using them, which has caused user-adjustment and system-compatibility issues since government systems use Windows.
- Five-Man Band: The most notable members of his cabinet and outward.
- The Hero: Himself, being the President of the United States and the Commander-in-chief of the US Armed Forces.
- The Lancer(s):
- As his first Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel served as Obama's 'manager' within the cabinet, acting as one of, if not the top adviser to the president on most affairs for the first two years of his presidency.
- Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be seen as Obama's "spear", using her influence to push for a number of controversial bills when it seemed that they wouldn't get passed, while attempting to keep the opposition party from blocking the Democratic agenda.
- Another qualifier is Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader for the Democrats. Contrasting Pelosi, Reid is more of a "shield", defending the president and the Democrats' decisions, bills and goals when they come under heavy attack from the Republicans.
- The Smart Guy: Timothy Geithner, his Secretary of Treasury (head of economics), and William Daley, his current Chief of Staff.
- The Big Guy: Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State (head of foreign affairs).
- The Chick: Joe Biden, the vice president.
- Friend to All Children: When he and Michelle were doing a meet and greet outside the White House there was a family with a crying baby, she continued wailing while Michelle held her, but as soon as she was handed to the President she stopped.
- Full-Circle Revolution: Those hoping that Obama would change everything (especially things they disliked) on entering office were to be disappointed. Many of Obama's Cabinet picks are ex-Clinton advisers -- including Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady, as his Secretary of State, which is both useful and brilliant, as she is easily the most politically active First Lady in history and knew most of the world's leaders already. He also kept former President Bush's pick for Secretary of Defense. It's been a matter of some concern,in spite of his new terminology. He also extended the PATRIOT ACT, completely unreformed.
- Grammy Award: Two. Best Spoken Word Album, for the audiobooks of Dreams from My Father (2006) and The Audacity of Hope (2008).
- Happily Married: Barack and Michelle, sometimes bordering on Sickeningly Sweethearts.
- Henpecked Husband: On occasion, such as when she catches him smoking or on his Blackberry when he shouldn't be.
- History Repeats:
- The right says his presidency is a mess, the left says he inherited a mess.
- The unpopularity of George Bush results in a Democratic politician in his mid-forties winning the presidency by a healthy margin, the president spends his first two years in a long battle over healthcare, loses popularity, and at the midterms the House of Representatives in the biggest Republican win in decades. New Majority Leadership in the House announces they will obstruct the president's agenda and launch countless subpoenas against the White House.
- A torch is passed to the first President from his generation and the first from a large ethnic group, who is notable for lofty rhetoric, boundless optimism, an ability to inspire, and a tendency to make really damn good speeches, who selects as his running mate a long-tenured Senator from the older generation. The parallel, one really friggin' hopes, stops there.
- He follows a two term president who left office with low popularity due to an unpopular war and and a recession, promising to fix things. He is noted for his appearance, and his vice president is a politician noted for his stability. After winning the election handily, his cabinet is quickly mired in controversies, and his detractors accuse him of incompetence and being the puppet of those around him. Again, let's hope the parallel stops there.
- Hopemongering: He used the word as a way to characterize how his detractors might respond to his message.
- Identical Grandson: Compare him with photos of his mother's father, Stanley Armour Dunham. Despite the different racial backgrounds, the resemblance is remarkable.
- Instant Win Condition: His campaign for U.S. Senate. His initial opponent, Jack Ryan (not him, not him), dropped out of the race upon the revelation of an (alleged, anything someone claims during a divorce should be taken with a box of salt) sex scandal involving his ex-wife Jeri and he beat the replacement candidate, Alan Keyes, by more than a two-to-one margin.
- Is This Thing Still On?: The source of his famed (with bi-partisan agreement) claim that Kanye West is a jackass. Oh Crap ensued when he realised that, yes, it was still on.
- The Load: Joe Biden is noted as being an odd inverse Straw Man Has a Point, where many of his comments meant in praise of Obama would, if anyone else were saying it, be savage criticism (such as suggesting that if Obama was elected a crisis would appear to test him, after he was selected as VP).
- Memetic Mutation:
- The fame "Hope" portrait, subject to countless parodies.
- Variations on "Yes we can!"
- The Merch: The sheer amount of commemorative plates and T-shirts with Obama's face on them could very well restart the economy all by themselves. There are Barack Obama "Hope-Flavoured" Condom vendors in NYC. The same New York City condom vendors sold John McCain ones as well, giving them full reign to use the pitch line, "Either one, you're screwed."
- Misaimed Marketing: The plush dolls of Obama's daughters are probably the most outrageous example, but almost as bad are the commemorative coins that turned out to be American currency with Obama stickers on them. Further examples here. But the there's the Obama Chia Head. A roughly full-minute ad features somber, majestic music with waving flags and a message of hope, all to honor the historic presidency of Barack Obama with a small bust in his likeness by the fine makers of Chia Pets - a tribute of respect interrupted for just a couple seconds for the requisite woman's voice cheerfully intoning "Ch-ch-ch-chia!" while the bust grows a green grassy afro in time-lapse. This is either epically Misaimed Marketing or a magnificent parody, but I can't tell which.
- My New Gift Is Lame:
- For their first visit to the White House, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom and his wife Sarah brought some awesome and symbolic gifts. As is traditional for the hosts, the First Couple gave less impressive gifts in return...except they were a little too lame. The President gave our closest allies 25 incompatible DVDs of classic American movies, and the First Lady gave Mrs. Brown two models of Marine One (the presidential helicopter) for their sons. The models sell for fifteen bucks apiece at the White House gift shop.
- President Obama's later gift of an iPod loaded with Americana to Queen Elizabeth II was initially believed to be a repeat offense, but apparently she'd actually asked for it (to replace her outdated one).
- At the same time as the iPod, he also gave the Queen an extremely rare autographed Richard Rogers songbook, but the media, desperate for a gaffe, ignored that.
- And the first instance wasn't that bad. Apparently, giving a lame gift is a tradition or some such. Bush got the Queen a cowboy statue, some stuff from the Smithsonian gift shop, and a DVD of herself.
- Name's the Same:
- Obama is also the name of a town in Japan.
- He could be Irish with a gratuitous apostrophe. (He actually is of Irish descent on his mother's side.)
- New Media Are Evil: Subverted. A good portion of his success is attributed to judicious use of New Media, including holding teleconferences with bloggers. But on the other hand, he appointed some ex-RIAA/MPAA lawyers to the Justice Department, finally culminating in his approval of the Anti Counterfeit Trade Agreement.
- Nice Hat: The hat Aretha Franklin wore to Barack Obama's inauguration has taken on a life of its own. The Smithsonian has asked for it due to its cultural and historical significance.
- Older Sidekick: Joe Biden, who also counts as Plucky Comic Relief, a welcome change from his, to be diplomatic, more distant and less-congenial predecessor. Biden is also shaping up as a (vice) President Buffoon thanks to his many verbal gaffes.
- Older Than They Think: Pretty much every joke made about his name during his Presidential campaign were made during his Senatorial campaign.
- One of Us: See Black and Nerdy above. This is a man that once posed on the White House lawn for a photo while holding a toy lightsaber.
- Our Presidents Are Different: President Minority, obviously. Could also probably join up with Jed Bartlet to form the new category of President Geek.
- Overprotective Dad: Easier to pull off when you have the world's most advanced armed forces at your command. The Jonas Brothers had better watch out:
"Sasha and Malia are huge fans, but boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: Predator drones. You will never see it coming."
- Punctuated for Emphasis: YES! WE! CAN!
- Salt and Pepper: Obama and his number two, Vice President Joe Biden.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them: This is the general mentality the Republicans seem to have about President Obama. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) even went so far as to declare that if the GOP sent any bill to President Obama's desk no matter how unpopular it was, "he'll sign this puppy".
- Self-Deprecation: When Stephen Colbert wondered how Obama could know what Colbert was saying halfway across the world, he asked Obama if his satellites were that good.
Obama: No, but my ears are really that big.
- Shirtless Scene: Ever wonder why we consider him Mr. Fanservice? Look here and see why.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Came into office very idealistic. Time will tell how far he drifts.
- The Smart Guy: Well-known for his calm, intellectual demeanor. Some have accused him of being too cerebral for the American public.
- Sophisticated As Hell: When quoting a swear-happy classmate named "Ray" in the audio book version of Dreams from My Father, he maintains his famed calm speaking voice. Contrast him calling Kanye West a "jackass", where his tone is distinctly much more casual.
- The Southpaw: He's a lefty. That's also his favored hand, hiyo!
- Stop Being Stereotypical: A regular aspect of his speeches to black audiences.
- Touch of Death: Non-Lethal, Non-intentional version known by some as the "Obama Curse". There's been a trend where Obama will express his support for a team, candidate, or cause, only for the side he's rooting for to lose.
- Unfortunate Names: See Embarrassing Middle Name above.
- The Vietnam War: Notable for being the first serious Presidential candidate whose Vietnam war record (or lack thereof) was not brought up as an issue or scrutinized by the press... because he was 9 years old. (He was criticized at least once for "not serving in Vietnam" anyway.) He mentioned this in a speech or two where he commended his opponent's bravery through his Vietnam POW ordeal, but noted that a war that happened 40 years ago should not dictate what the country does going forward.
- A Worldwide Punomenon: He's made a few, such as the 2012 State of the Union where he lambasted a law that treated milk as an oil and required farmers to protect the land against milk spills. Many groans ensued at the "crying over spilled milk" joke that followed.
- Would Be Rude to Say Genocide: He promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide during his campaign, but so far has not followed through in order to not upset Turkey.
Barack Obama in fiction:
- Numerous advertisements use lookalikes, sound-alikes, silhouettes, and other No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of Obama. Some, usually pushing some sort of financial service, often featured clips of Obama shortly after the election discussing the economic crisis. Others just begin the ad with a gratuitous name drop ("Barack Obama is repairing the economy..."), to the point of becoming an Ear Worm. Interestingly, other countries are even more likely to include fake Obamas in their ads than the US. One famous campaign in Spain is for a free weekends cellphone plan called "Yes Weekend." It features an Obama lookalike chanting "YES, WE KEND! YES, WE KEND!"
- The man himself does appear in a commercial encouraging and supporting public service.
Anime & Manga
- After a trip to Japan, he discovered that the town he was visiting was in fact called "Obama". Consequently, Japanese media has been referencing him for a while.
- There is an Obama H-Doujinshi (My Neighbour Taro-kun) out there. It's even weirder than you're probably thinking. Starring Obama and other political leaders, the 'story' involves (most prominently) Obama having sex with his neighbor's kinky maid - and then an orgy with Hillary Clinton present. (And she's not half bad looking, either- her chest gets a bit of a boost.)
- A blatant Captain Ersatz of Obama ("John Omaha") has appeared in the Air Gear manga.
- Obama has made several Lawyer Friendly Cameos in the 2008 Yatterman anime. One of the more memorable ones featured a preadolescent Obama romancing a preadolescent Hillary Clinton, that episode being broadcast while the two of them were still competing fiercely IRL for the democratic presidential candidacy.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00:
- The leader of the United Nations bears a remarkable resemblance to Obama, earning him the nickname '00bama. His replacement at the end of the series is a woman. Think about that for a moment.
- Gundam 00 also has a minor (but sympathetic) squad leader in the A-Laws who looks possibly biracial and is named Barack.
- To Aru Majutsu no Index: The "Angel Fall" spell causes everyone's appearance to change without them noticing, except for a few who managed to escape the effects. The lead turns on the news, only to discover that President Obama has been swapped with a certain lesbian schoolgirl, who uses Obama's "Yes we can!" Catch Phrase.
- The very first promo for Minami-ke Okaeri had Kana also using the "Yes we can!" catchphrase in the exact Obama intonation.
- Axis Powers Hetalia:
- The personification of America excitedly shouts "Yeah Obama we can change!" after helping Estonia catch a cracker (...cracker?) who was putting Russian propaganda in Estonia's computer. The strip is based on an event that took place only a few months after then-Senator Obama announced his presidential run, so apparently he was a supporter since the beginning.
- The author also drew a sketch of America holding Bo, the new little puppy of the Obamas.
- Obama Mifuyu of Kurogane Pukapuka Tai is unrelated... probably.
- In Gintama 165 episode, which is in bigger part a halucination caused by fever, Katsura due to virus became a cross between Will Smith and Barack Obama, and a catchphrase "Yes, we can!" used.
- In the 20th chapter of Sora no Otoshimono, Obama cameos during the global emergency of... a zoo animal breakout.
- In the Tournament Arc of Gamble Fish, Obama gets a cameo in the form of King Omaha, introduced as the hero who will turn the tide of depression in the US. Complete with the "Yes we can" catchphrase. He also nets a few moments of Heroic Resolve.
- In Tiger and Bunny, the mayor of Sternbild and his wife bear more than passing physical resemblances to Barack and Michelle Obama, although said mayor has a baby son who figures into one of the episodes, instead of two daughters.
Comics -- Books
- President Obama has proven to be quite popular with comic book writers, having made appearances in Savage Dragon, Spider-Man (the latter of which is a special treat, as Mr. Obama has confessed to being a lifelong Spidey fan) and Thunderbolts.
- In the Marvel Universe, President Obama won the electoral vote, but in a three-way race, a plurality in the popular vote went to Stephen Colbert.
- Though his face was not seen, it was implied that he was the one who elected Norman Osborn as King of Everything at the end of Secret Invasion via the shade of the President's hand that presented osborn. It was later retconned that Obama's predecessor was the one who held the Idiot Ball during that particular decision. Later, Obama pardoned Captain America for his crimes during Civil War and authorized Osborn's takedown.
- President Obama's comic book ubiquity continues to rise as there is at least one entire comic book series about himself but there's even one specifically about his wife. Seeing those comics on the shelves at the local comic shop is rather surreal. There's even a comic book about his dog.
- He is also at the center of the next Army of Darkness comic arc, entitled "Ash Saves Obama".
- And in another independent series, Barack The Barbarian (written by Larry Hama), he's the lead of a barbarian fantasy parody title which casts all the major players of the '08 election in a Conan-type universe.
- He is accepted by the fanbase to be the natural choice of sector 2814's blue ring bearer. For those who don't read Green Lantern, Blue Lanterns symbolize hope. This all assumes the DC verse actually has an Obama, instead of the latest in its long line of various generic "president" characters however.
- And of course, on an alternate DCU Earth, he's actually Superman. He wasn't kidding.
- Antarctic Press is publishing a mini-series entitled President Evil which features President "Ba-rot" Obama fighting zombies. Covers so far parody Army of Darkness, 28 Days Later and The Evil Dead, and the last fourth issue will apparently be sub-titled "Yes, We Cannibal!" Bonus points to Arctic Press, as the cover is the "Hope" poster featuring zombie Obama.
- Obama appears in the IDW series Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters, lamenting that if dealing with a bad economy, a war, and a giant oil spill weren't bad enough, now he has a giant radioactive monster destroying Japan. As of the second issue he became "President Ogden."
- Appears as a cyborg within the Steampunk Palin comic book.
- In the Daria Expanded Universe, the "Daylight" fanfic The Hope Mission has a relief effort begun on a decimated Earth by the citizens of another Earth where Obama is President. Among the items sent is a laptop computer and a DVD with a message of support to the survivors. The speech he gives sounds just like a real President Obama speach.
- In Fuck the Jesus Beam, Obama appears as a villain. His in-story character is named, prepare yourself, BaROCK Dominatus Caesar Inferno Vespucci Giovanni Goku Super Sexy Awesome Absolute GOD O.B.A.M.A. He is apparently a KenyaN terrorist. And yes, those capitalizations are actually in the story, but no, the story is not filled with errors. It's intentional.
Films -- Live-Action
- Mentioned very briefly as being escorted to an undisclosed location in the Mojave Desert in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Word of God was that this was Michael Bay's tribute to Obama. Overall, however, the film puts Obama in a bad light. Director Galloway, an Obstructive Bureaucrat who works against the heroes, repeatedly states that he gets his authority from President Obama as his National Security Advisor.
- Special Guest Appearance: on the first episode for Operation Iraqi Stephen, the real President Obama shows up to "order" the chief of operations to give Stephen Colbert an army buzz cut to fully show his support for the troops. He even makes a joke about his own ears.
- In the final episode of Gilmore Girls, Rory leaves Stars Hollow for a job as a campaign reporter following the Obama primary campaign.
- In an interesting twist of reality-imitating-fiction, the last season of The West Wing had Hispanic candidate Matt Santos winning the Presidency. Matt Santos was based on a then barely-known senator named Barack Obama. Not only that, his opponent was a much older Republican centrist. AND both Santos and Obama appointed a major rival Presidential candidate as his Secretary of State. We're through the looking glass, people.
- A villain in Engine Sentai Go-onger became Prime Minister of Japan and promised change... by destroying a ton of buildings. And, he said "Yes we can!" in all of its engrishy glory.
- The 22nd running of the Ninja Warrior obstacle course had a Barack Obama impersonator, complete with the entire crowd waving handheld US flags and chanting, "Yes we can!" "Obama" falls at the Jumping Spider obstacle. The announcer cries out, "No, you can't!" when he loses.
- In House, one of the patients of the week was a young, eloquent black Senator, former community organizer and Presidential candidate. What makes that episode particularly freaky was that it first aired in April 2005, almost two years before Obama officially announced his run for the presidency, back when he was only a lowly Senator known almost solely for his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.
- Similarly, an optimistic black community leader is the Victim of the Week in Cold Case while a (white) aspiring politician from a rough background (so rough that his sister is effectively his first lady, if you know what I mean) is featured in another episode.
- Obama is played by Fred Armisen (who, like Obama, is of mixed origin, only Armisen is Venezuelan on his mom's side and German and Japanese on his father's side) on Saturday Night Live, who, despite being white enough to regularly play Steve Jobs (or Prince [who, like Obama, is also half-black, half-white]), does the part with just a wig and some tape to make his ears stick out. These sketches seem a lot less afraid of Unfortunate Implications than most parodies, though SNL has made similar casting decisions in the past, most famously the even-whiter-than-Armisen Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson (with Hammond in tan make-up). Dwayne Johnson (who is Black-Canadian on his dad's side and Samoan on his mom's side) also played Barack Obama -- or to be more precise, his Incredible Hulk-esque alter ego called "The Rock" Obama, who throws anyone who angers or disagrees with him out the window of the Oval Office.
- Royal Canadian Air Farce has Alan Park playing Obama. Unlike Armisen, he has absolutely nothing in common with Obama (this is common with both him and Roger Abbott's George W Bush). They don't even try to get the voices down.
- Sketch-comedy show Little Britain USA was filmed prior to the November 2008 elections, but twice featured a serious and competent black president playing straight man to the flamboyant and bumbling Prime Minister of England.
- Appears in the first part of the Doctor Who story "The End of Time", with a lot of blocking shots and hands covering his face. As per Russell T. Davies' tendency to mock the US in his scripts, the Master transforms him (and all of humanity) into Master clones.
- The two younger kids in the Britcom Outnumbered have mentioned him a few times; Ben believes that in his spare time, Obama drives a London bus ("he's the leader of the free world, he can do anything he likes"), while 7-year-old Karen is upset that he hasn't answered any of her letters and likes to add him into her drawings, usually doing something suitably awesome like riding a dragon.
- As had been pointed out, 24 did a plot of the first black man being elected president. This is commonly credited for Obama's election.
- Obama has made an cameo appearance on Myth Busters in December 2010.
- Obama is the president in both of the Fringe universes. The way they introduced the alternate universe was to show a newspaper with the headline that's he taken office and then reveal that Olivia was actually standing inside one of the World Trade Centre towers. Apparently the Obama in our universe dislikes Broyles. Because Broyles beat him at golf.
- He isn't directly namedropped, but in Stephen King's Under the Dome the local selectman receives a letter from the President and notes that "he'd signed all three of his names, including the terrorist one in the middle." And a bumper sticker with the slogan "Yes We Can, Again" implies not only a timeframe for the novel, but that Obama was elected to a second term in King's universe.
- French satirical show Les Guignols De L Info has a puppet for Barack Obama. He is portrayed in a much less caustic manner than former president George W. Bush was. The sketches tend to mock Obama's Marty Stu portrayal in the media, as well as his perceived wide-eyed idealism, often pairing him up with Mickey Mouse. He also sometimes played the Straight Man to President Sarkozy's antics, though more recently, he's been turned into a Jive Turkey and Soul Brotha.
- During the drawn-out primary WWE once had Obama and Hilary impersonators, who wrestled each other. This was after videotaped appearances from both Democratic hopefuls, as well as John McCain.
- WWE has taken to using footage of Obama's press conferences, to create mock conferences of their own, to promote their "Capitol Punishment" Pay-Per-View event. It's exactly as silly as it sounds.
- This action figure from Japan just says it all.
- A popular nickname for the Pokémon Abomasnow is Obamasnow.
- During the campaign, Mercenaries 2 released DLC that made Obama a playable character, along with Sarah Palin.
- Japanese game company AlCot has released a eroge called My Girlriend Is The President, in which due to a freak accident involving aliens and brainwashing, Japan adopts a presidential system similar to that of the US, with Yukino Ohama (the girlfriend of the title) as the President of Japan. We couldn't make this up if we tried.
- One of the promotional videos for Scribblenauts had the playtesters try to summon Barack Obama. It didn't work. In the first game, the President is a white man in a blue suit, in the sequel, they changed the president's model, it now looks like Obama in the game's lighthearted style. He's also one of the playable avatars.
- In the Xbox Live game, Angry Barry, a Hulked-out Obama beats old ladies to death with busses to collect votes.
- Obama also appears in an advertisement for Rabbids Go Home, where he is about to deliver a speech when the Rabbids come in and steal his clothes.
- Main character in Obama Alien Defense: http://www.miniclip.com/games/obama-alien-defense/en/
- Advertisements for his campaign were implemented by Electronic Arts for updating billboards in Burnout Paradise if the player was connected online with his/her console.
- In Perfect Dark, the president of the United States is a black man that bears a remarkable resemblance to Barack Obama, despite the fact that it was made several years before Obama's presidency.
- In Madden NFL 11 and 12 and NBA 2K11, the players can go meet Barack Obama post-game for a congratulatory meeting.
- Appears briefly in Shortpacked in his senator-competing-for-presidential-candidacy days. He is shown physically wrestling with Hillary Clinton. During the election proper, he appears in this strip with opponent John McCain.
- Is a recurrent character in Sinfest as Barackstar and a superhero, among other things.
- The Symmetrical Breadpazoid has the No Celebrities Were Harmed version.
- Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff: Barack Obana weighing in on matters of the econony is a recurring feature of the series. He's the subject of a bit of Non Standard Character Design: whereas everyone and everything else is low-quality MS Paint scribbles, he's a low-quality photo. Apparently, "not even BARACK obana can bail him out of THIS JAM!", this jam being the theft of videogames by a squirrel. Obana even has his own Twitter account.
- Given a staring role in the Fafnir the Dragon webcomic arc "Barack to the Future!", starting here.
- Obama appeared in a Scrambled Eggs comic and performed Elton John's "Rocket Man." Quint hoped that Obama would then insult the Teen Idol scheduled to appear that night, but after he refused to, Quint exclaimed, "What good is Obama if he won't tell you what you want to hear?"
- Tragic Deaths has a character named "Ranch Obama" which is either a bottle of ranch with Obama's head, or Obama with a bottle of ranch for a body... no-one's really sure which.
- What do you get when you cross the 2008 presidential campaign, Steampunk, and pulp fantasy? Barack Obama vs. the Pirates of Wichita and its various sequels, where politicians are Physical Gods whose wars for the Oval Throne shake... eh... can't think of a way to end this sentence, so just read it already.
Also, according to rumor, a single tear from Obama's cheek can slay demons and cure vilitigo and impetigo. His stride is as of a titan's, seven leagues at a time, and while he holds a microphone in his hand he canst take no mortal wound nor shed a single drop of his own blood. He speaks the native tongue of birds, and converses happily with all beasts of hoof and paw, even to the lowliest vole and marmot. Gracious as the kings of old, Obama carries no money nor answers unkind word with like. Peonies spring up where his feet trod, and were he to lay his weary head upon the ground a mighty cedar, like unto the old father trees of Bsharri and Barouk, would spring forth to shade his noble brow. In the elven tongue he is Lothlornienel, with means "Laughter in the High Places", and the dwarves call him earthfriend, as well as "Khazad ak Manu", which means "He who does not wear patriotic lapel pins." His is the drill that shall pierce the heavens: believe in him believing in you! The Neocons speak of him in hushed tones in their shadowed, dusty halls, and refer to the ancient scrolls of the fallen empire of Mnem, which foretells of the coming of the Dusky Childe, who shall scourge their number from the halls and rotundas and tear down the altars in the high places and bring the three terrible plagues of Health Care and White Guilt and Political Transparency. They say that he will travel to Shibboleth – where the heart of Karl Rove is kept, inanimate, inside a Canopic jar – and break the seals and feast upon the contents therein: and with the power thus consumed he will erect a throne of jade and jasper and lapus lazuli, and rule upon it, and the thunderous gnashing of teeth from the Red States will play Hail to the Chief as he ascends the dais.
- When discussing a plot point in the video game Tom Clancy's HAWX, Zero Punctuation uses him as the President, when Yahtzee is dissecting the idea of schemers plotting to kill The President. Weird how disconcerting it is to see a general smiling-Obama face with Xs over the eyes, even when the point of the talk is how stupid that kind of plot would be to any self-respecting greedy evil corporation. He also uses him as a stand-in for Louis in his Left 4 Dead review.
- In the Spoony One's review of Make My Video (from the '90s), there's a wheelchair-bound Corrupt Corporate Executive with an Evil Laugh whom Spoony notes bears a remarkable resemblance to then-Senator Obama, whom he dubs "Evil Barack Obama". He ends the video by popping up again to declare "I'm Evil Barack Obama, and I approve this message. Mwahahaha!"
- In the Jib Jab '08 election animated short, Obama is shown as something akin to a Disney Princess, frolicking with cuddly forest animals. A later video portrays him as a superhero.
- Given The Salvation War is an Alternate History which branches off from the real world in early 2008, it's not the least bit surprising to see Barack Obama as the US President in the second book, Pantheocide.
- In Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72 (an Alternate History scenario about a different 1972 presidential election), Obama has not appeared in person but apparently authored some of the books that the timeline takes extracts from: he seems to have become a professor in political history.
- In Metalocalypse Episode "Dethhealth", Murderface has a series of hallucinations, one of which is a very brief, few-seconds long shot of President Obama standing outside the White House.
- He appears in the American Dad episode "Incident at Owl Creek", where, after accidentally defecating into his neighbor's pool, Stan is humiliated by everyone. He devises a plan to make President Obama make the same faux-pas, negating his shame. It was All Just a Dream but Stan still shits himself.
- The Boondocks has a decidedly negative depiction of the president. Since the season 3 premiere, he has been depicted as an Obstructive Bureaucrat whose long and inspiring speeches do nothing in the face of uncertain times.
- In Batman the Brave And The Bold, he suddenly appears at the end of "Cry Freedom Fighters!" to thank Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters. Plas doesn't recognize him. Of course, Plas' knowledge of U.S. history is...a bit off in general.
- In the Family Guy episode "New Kidney in Town", Obama visits Quahog, and Chris' entire English class is assigned to write an essay about hope. Chris uses things he heard from Meg to write his essay, and he's selected to read it to introduce Obama. Chris and Meg eventually read the speech together. After that, Obama appears dressed like Conrad Birdie and performs the song "Honestly Sincere".
- Barack Obama also appears in The Cleveland Show, challenging Cleveland to a game of basketball. And winning handily.
Obama: I better call my Secretary of Education because... you just got schooled. I can also call my Secretary of Treasury... because that jump was money. I'd also like to--
Secret Service Man: Sir, we really have to go.
Obama: Uh, one moment. I can also call my Secretary of Defense... because I am the bomb. Wheels up!
- In South Park, Obama is the main character in the episode "About Last Night". The episode deals with the results of the presidential election -- and the fact the episode came out THE DAY AFTER it was declared Obama won the election. It is awesome enough, but just read the description. It is about how the entire presidential election was a ruse by Obama, McCain, Michelle Obama, and the surprisingly intellectual Sarah Palin to steal the Hope Diamond from the Smithsonian Museum, Ocean's Eleven style.
- ↑ the oath of office is a non-binding speech, the president elect becomes president the day of the inauguration regardless of events during it