President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans in his State of the Nation address to Congress on Tuesday (February 24, 2009). While Obama was careful to include a sober assessment of the country's grim economic situation and his plans to fix it, he also made sure that recession-weary Americans knew to expect better days ahead.
"While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover," Obama, said in his televised speech to Congress, where Democrats control both chambers. "And the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," he said to the packed audience.
Doubtful Wall Street investors, who sent U.S. stocks to a 12-year low on Monday, rallied on Tuesday after Obama's speech. The Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assured that the country's troubled banks should be able to weather the downturn without being nationalized.
Biography: Barack Hussein Obama was born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was born of Luo ethnicity in Nyanza Province, Kenya. He grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British. Although reared among Muslims, Obama, Sr., became an atheist at some point.
Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in Wichita, Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he signed up for service in World War II and marched across Europe in Patton’s army. Dunham’s mother went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the G. I. Bill, bought a house through the Federal Housing Program, and moved to Hawaii.
Meantime, Barack’s father had won a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya pursue his dreams in Hawaii. At the time of his birth, Obama’s parents were students at the East–West Center of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.