Barack Obama: 5 standout moments from his presidency

Guest commentary by Stéphanie Thomson

Before he’d even stepped foot in the White House, Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States, was destined to make history. In a country where segregation between black and white Americans was legal as late as 1964, that was already quite an achievement.

 Barack Obama’s election poster

Barack Obama’s election poster Barack Obama’s election poster Image: Library of Congress
Now, as his two terms at the helm of the world’s most powerful country draw to a close, what else will he be remembered for? That’s a tricky thing to predict; a “fools errand” even, according to what the Pulitzer-winning historian Gordon Wood told New York Magazine when asked the same question. Often, a person’s legacy only becomes clear decades later.

But while it might indeed be too soon to identify the defining policies of Obama’s presidency, there have been a few memorable moments that say as much about him as a person as they do about his time as president.

The beer summit

   President Barack Obama at the

When Henry Louis Gates Jr, an African-American Harvard professor, was arrested outside his home by a white police officer responding to a burglary report, it triggered a national debate about racial profiling. The situation intensified when Obama said that the police had “acted stupidly” during the incident.

Obama’s attempt to de-escalate the situation by inviting both parties to the White House for what the press dubbed “the beer summit” led to this iconic photo, earning him a reputation for a sometimes unconventional approach to diplomacy.

President Barack Obama at the ‘Amazing Grace’

Six years later, and race relations in the US had hit a new low, after several high-profile shootings of unarmed black men. It was against this backdrop of heightened racial tensions that Dylann Roof, a white supremacist, shot and killed nine African Americans during a prayer service in Charleston.

At the funeral of one of the victims, senior pastor and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, Obama gave a moving eulogy, breaking out into song at the end. It was, the Atlantic wrote, “his single most accomplished rhetorical performance”.

Shedding a tear for the victims of gun violence

Several mass shootings have taken place in the US during Obama’s presidency, none more shocking than Sandy Hook, where 20 children aged between six and seven were murdered. At the time Obama had hoped their deaths would help galvanize the country into action, but all subsequent attempts at gun control were blocked.

Four years later, in an emotional speech announcing fresh plans to push through change, Obama shed his normally cool exterior and openly cried as he spoke of the “college kids in Santa Barbara, high schoolers in Columbine, and first graders in Newtown”, whose “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were stripped”.

A stand-up comedian in the White House

“Obama has a comic sensibility that’s edgier and more pop-culture-influenced than we’re used to hearing from politicians,” the Washington Post wrote in an article on the role comedy has played in Obama’s presidency.

Who can forget the White House Correspondents Dinner when he finally laid to rest speculations about his country of birth, or the time he appeared on Zach Galifianakis’ cult comedy show Between Two Ferns.

But he almost always used his comedy to make more important points – like the time he posed with a selfie stick to promote health insurance.

Obama the family man

“Kids love me – partly because my ears are big, and so I look a little like a cartoon character,” Obama told Jerry Seinfeld in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. And Obama seems to love kids.

Some of the most defining photos from his time in office aren’t those from state visits or with other world leaders: they’re of Obama with children. So much so that at the start of the year, #ObamaAndKids was trending online.

And this could be one of his most important legacies, according to the New York Magazine profile of the outgoing president. “He was most effective as a ‘normal’ president, and he helped put the presidency back on a human scale … Future historians will give him full marks for that.”

This article  originally appeared on the Forum Agenda of the World Economic Forum.

Wie reagiert Amerika auf den Mordaufruf von Trump?

Wie berichtet hat Donald Trump ein noch tieferes Niveau erreicht und indirekt zum Attentat auf Hillary Clinton aufgerufen. Die Reaktionen auf diese gezielte Provokation haben nicht lange auf sich warten lassen.

Secret Service (Gewaltaufrufe gegen Präsidenten oder Kandidaten sind in den USA strafbar):

Weniger zurückhaltend ist Elizabeth Warren, die ja schon seit längerem zu seinen schärfsten Kritikern gehört:

Gabrielle Giffords, die selbst Opfer eines politisch motivierten Attentats wurde, hat alle Mitbürger dazu aufgerufen, Trump für seine Äusserungen zu verurteilen:

Und Hillary Clinton selbst? Sie antwortet gar nicht direkt auf die Drohung, sondern stattdessen mit einem Video, das die gesamte Rhetorik Trumps noch einmal allen schmerzhaft vor Augen führt.

Schüsse auf Clinton? Trump-Rede sorgt für Eklat

“Es gibt die Zweite-Verfassungszusatz-Leute”: Donald Trump während seiner Rede.

Es ist der nächste Eklat im US-Wahlkampf: Während einer Rede in Wilmington (US-Bundesstaat North Carolina) hat Donald Trump indirekt Schüsse auf seine Rivalin Hillary Clinton angedeutet. Der republikanische Präsidentschaftskandidat sagte:

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick — if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Übersetzt heißt das in etwa:

“Hillary will den zweiten Verfassungszusatz abschaffen, wirklich abschaffen. Ganz nebenbei, falls sie es schafft, ihre Richter auszuwählen, kann man nichts dagegen machen, Leute. Andererseits gibt es die Zweite-Verfassungszusatz-Leute, vielleicht ist es das. Ich weiß nicht.”

Der zweite Verfassungszusatz in den USA besagt, dass die Regierung das Recht auf den Besitz und das Tragen von Waffen nicht einschränken darf. Hat Trump nun tatsächlich zu Schüssen auf seine demokratische Gegnerin aufgerufen?

In den sozialen Netzwerken verbreitet sich das Video der Rede wie ein Lauffeuer. Zahlreiche US-Medien (beispielsweise CNN, “Politico“, “Vox” und “The Hill“) haben das Thema aufgegriffen.

Trump-Berater Jason Miller wies die Vorwürfe zurück. Der Kandidat habe die “Zweite-Verfassungszusatz-Leute” als politische Kraft und Inspiration gemeint. Klar ist jedoch: Trump liebt die Provokation. Es wäre nicht das erste Mal, dass er mit einer scheinbar beiläufigen Äußerung Grenzen auslotet und überschreitet. Es ist Teil seines Wahlkampfs, seine Anhänger bewundern ihn dafür.

Via Twitter teilte das Clinton-Lager mit: “Was Trump sagt, ist schlicht gefährlich. Eine Person, die Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten werden möchte, sollte Gewalt in keiner Weise vorschlagen.”

“Die Korrupte und der Irre” – Evan McMullins offener Brief

“Die Korrupte und der Irre”: Was wie der Titel eines Films mit Bud Spencer (RIP) und Terence Hill klingt, ist im wesentlichen die Charakterisierung von Evan McMullin, der seit gestern als unabhängiger, konservativer Kandidat ins Rennen um die Präsidentschaft eingetreten ist.

McMullin hat auf seiner Website heute einen offenen Brief an seine amerikanischen Mitbürger (und potenziellen Wähler veröffentlicht). Darin schildert er seine Vision von Amerika und beschreibt die Gründe für seine Kandidatur. Bemerkenswert sind wie gesagt seine Charakterisierung von Hillary Clinton und Donald Trump.

In Hillary sieht er folgende Charakterzüge:

Hillary Clinton is a corrupt career politician who has recklessly handled classified information in an attempt to avoid accountability and put American lives at risk including those of my former colleagues. She fails the basic tests of judgment and ethics any candidate for President must meet. Moreover, she only offers stale economic ideas like the same old top-down government control that has brought us eight years of historically low growth.

Zu Trump hat er folgendes zu sagen:

Donald Trump appeals to the worst fears of Americans at a time when we need unity, not division. Republicans are deeply divided by a man who is perilously close to gaining the most powerful position in the world, and many rightly see him as a real threat to our Republic. Given his obvious personal instability, putting him in command of our military and nuclear arsenal would be deeply irresponsible. His infatuation with strongmen and demagogues like Vladimir Putin is anathema to American values. We cannot and must not elect him.

Den gesamten Brief könnt ihr hier nachlesen:

UPDATE: Kandidatur von Evan McMullin scheint sich zu bestätigen

UPDATE 17:30

Evan McMullin hat jetzt auch auf Facebook seine Kandidatur bekräftigt. Der rüde Umgang Trumps mit den Eltern des gefallenen Soldaten Khan habe ihn unter anderem zu diesem Schritt bewegt. Eine Verfahrensfrage könnte die Kampagne von McCullin aber frühzeitig ersticken: in über 20 Staaten ist die Frist, sich als Kandidat einzuschreiben (und zuvor die nötigen Unterschriften zu sammeln) bereits verstrichen. Das hat die einschlägige Seite RollCall errechnet.


UPDATE 16:35

Evan McMullin meint es offenbar ernst mit seiner Kandidatur. Unter ist seine Kampagnenwebsite live gegangen. Auch auf Twitter verweist er auf seine Absicht, Präsident zu werden. Seine Kurzbiographie lautet dort:

“Former CIA operative, businessman, House Chief Policy Director. Standing up to run for president because it’s never too late to do the right thing.”


Die Hinweise auf einen unabhängigen, konservativen Kandidaten spitzen sich zu. Ursprung der Meldung ist der NBC-Moderator Joe Scarborough.

Vor einer guten Stunde twitterte er über den (dann noch namenlosen) Kandidaten.

Vor einer halben Stunde das folgte prompt die Präzisierung:


Wer also ist Evan McMullin?

Seit etwa zwei Jahren ist McMullin Chief Policy Director im Repräsentantenhaus der Republican Conference. Zuvor war er in folgenden Positionen tätig:

  • Berater im Auswärtigen Ausschuss
  • Berater bei Goldmann Sachs
  • CIA Agent
  • Freiwilliger beim Flüchtlingshilfswerk
  • Studium an der Wharton School

Momentan sind es wirklich nur Gerüchte, auch wenn andere Networks wir Bloomberg die Nachricht schon aufgegriffen haben. To be continued.

A Question of Character(s): Hillary vs Trump on Twitter

A combination photo shows U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) in Los Angeles, California on May 5, 2016 and in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. on May 6, 2016 respectively.

By Matthias Lüfkens

The election campaign in the United States is entering its decisive phase. Both candidates are fighting it out on every medium from newspapers to television – and social media is no exception.

So who’s top on Twitter? According to the latest Twiplomacy analysis, Donald Trump is in the lead, at least in terms of followers and engagement.

As of July this year, @realDonaldTrump had 10,267,655 followers, placing him in 177th position among the global Twitterati. If elected tomorrow, he would be the third most followed world leader. (Pope Francis has 30 million followers and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has 20 million.)

With her 7,765,519 followers @HillaryClinton is in 275th position worldwide and would be the fourth most followed world leader.

Both candidates have witnessed exponential growth in the number of their Twitter followers during their respective primaries. According to, in late 2015 Trump overtook Clinton in terms of followers. His account is still growing, adding an average of 30,574 new followers per day. The @HillaryClintonaccount, meanwhile, counts 22,086 new followers each day.

Image: Wall Street Journal

Which candidate is more effective?

In terms of efficacy, Donald Trump would seem to outperform Hillary Clinton, since his tweets have been retweeted a total of 12 million times – twice as many as Clinton’s, which have been retweeted 5.5 million times.

Trump has also received 33 million likes for his tweets, almost three times as many as Clinton, who has a total of 12 million likes. Trump averages 5,639 retweets per tweet, compared with 2,154 retweets per tweet for Clinton. It’s not possible to say at this point whether the Trump campaign uses paid promotion to boost its posts.

Donald Trump, who set up his account on 18 March 2009, has sent a total of 32,697 tweets, almost five times as many tweets as Hillary Clinton, who only joined four years later, on 9 April 2013, after leaving the State Department. However, Clinton has been more prolific over the past six months, averaging 18 tweets per day compared with Trump’s 12 tweets per day.

One in every five tweets on the @HillaryClinton account is either a retweet or a quoted tweet, mainly from @TheBriefing2016 and the @HFA campaign accounts. Only 5% of Trump’s tweets are retweets or quoted tweets, including several tweets from his children @EricTrump and @DonaldJTrumpJr.

Do they talk to each other?

Hillary Clinton’s most popular tweet, with more than a million interactions, was her quip at Donald Trump to delete his Twitter account. Donald Trump replied by asking: “How long did it take your staff (…) to think that up”. It became his most popular tweet.


However, in general the two opponents do not directly interact with each other on Twitter.

While Hillary Clinton only mentions other Twitter users in every fifth tweet, 92 of the 580 user mentions are for the @realDonaldTrump, more than any other Twitter user mentioned on her account, including @POTUS (81 mentions) and her husband @BillClinton (51 mentions).

Donald Trump’s team, on the other hand, does not mention @HillaryClinton’s Twitter handle. Donald Trump consistently mentions other Twitter users in two-thirds of his tweets, often mentioning his own account @realDonaldTrump (226 mentions), but also @FoxNews (71 mentions), @CNN (52) and Fox News anchor @MegynKelly (42 mentions) for their allegedly biased and unfair reporting.

It remains to be seen which strategy is better: engaging with and mentioning your opponent’s Twitter account or simply ignoring it.

Neither of the two candidates are very conversational on their Twitter channels: Clinton has replied to 16 other users, including a personal message to singer Jennifer Lopez, while Trump has sent 20 @replies, to praise positive contributions and sometimes challenge media reports.

Hashtags wars

Donald Trump includes a hashtag in almost every other tweet, including #Trump2016, used 279 times, and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, used 186 times. Hillary Clinton is more sparing, using hashtags in only 14% of her tweets; most commonly #DemDebate and #DemTownhall. She has also used hashtags to react to her opponent during the Republican National Convention (#RNCinCLE used 50 times) and the #GOPDebate.

Both candidates make good use of visuals, and both accounts post photos in 17% of their tweets. Clinton posts more videos and animated gifs (one in every six tweets). Only 5% of Trump’s tweets contain a video, and these are often a link to his YouTube channel. He also includes fewer links, with only one in every fifth containing one, while 43% of Clinton’s tweets contain a link, often to her campaign website.

Who is most followed by other world leaders?

Foreign leaders seem to favour Hillary Clinton: 124 heads of state, heads of government and ministers of foreign affairs follow the presidential candidate. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is only followed by 24 of the 800 world leaders on Twitter, including the @IsraeliPM and Ghana’s president @JDMahama. So far, neither Trump nor Clinton have reciprocated and do not follow any other foreign leader on Twitter.

Nationally, Clinton is following the @WhiteHouse, @POTUS and @FLOTUS. These official administration accounts, however, are legally prohibited to follow, endorse or @mention either candidate. Among the 690 Twitter users Clinton follows are her campaign staff as well as her husband @BillClinton and daughter @ChelseaClinton.

It is interesting to note that while President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention he has not mentioned her on the @BarackObama campaign account, which is the most followed account of any world leader (it has 76 million followers).

Donald Trump currently follows only 44 other Twitter accounts, including his different properties (hotels and golf courses), his wife @MelaniaTrump and his children @DonaldJTrumpJr, @IvankaTrump, @EricTrump and @TiffanyATrump.

And finally, it’s somewhat ironic to note that while their parents fight it out on social media, daughters @ChelseaClinton and @IvankaTrump follow each other on Twitter.

About this study

Twiplomacy is an award-winning global study of world leaders on social media, conducted by Burson-Marsteller. The 2016 edition has analysed 2,146 tweets by @realDonaldTrump and 3,198 tweets by @HillaryClinton, sent between 1 February and 27 July 2016. Find out more at @Twiplomacy

This article has been originally published by the World Economic Forum.

Trump entlarvt Trump

Kein Witz: Donald Trump will 2017 ins Weiße Haus einziehen.

Schon viele Politiker mussten sich im Wahlkampf anhören, wankelmütig, beliebig und völlig prinzipienlos zu sein. Mittlerweile dürfte eines klar sein: Mit Donald Trump hat das “flip-flopping” eine bislang unbekannte Dimension erreicht. Der Beweis im Video:

Arianna Huffington ist konsequenter als die gesamte Parteiführung der Republikaner. Hier ist der Beweis.

Wenn führende Republikaner nur halb so konsequent im Umgang mit dem Donald wären wie Arianna Huffington, hätte der Schreihals es nicht zur Spitzenkandidatur gebracht.

Strategie: In der zweiten Jahreshälfte 2015 hatte Arianna Huffington entschieden, Artikel über den Donald stehen nicht mehr in der Politik-Sparte, sondern im Entertainment-Bereich zu veröffentlichen. Mit seiner Äusserungen über eine Datenbank für Muslime in den USA, nahm sie diese Entscheidung zurück. Anders als die GOP-Führung gab sie also zu, den Mann unterschätzt zu haben und korrigierte ihre Strategie.

Abbinder: Unter jedem Artikel über den Donald steht der folgende Text:

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

Twitter: Arianna hat dutzende Tweets abgesetzt, in denen sie Trump kritisiert und gehört auf Twitter viellicht zu seinen schärfsten Kritikern. Als Bonus hat sie hier noch eine Watsch’n für Sarah Palin mit dazu gepackt.

Wir sagen: Nicht schlecht für eine ehemalige Republikanerin.