Barack Obama: Things People Still Don't Know About Him

Updated on August 13, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.

Barack Obama was in the White House for eight years, and people still don't know some interesting things about him. In honor of his birthday on August 4, here are many unique things about the 44th President of the United States that do not involve politics.

Barack Obama's Birthday

Barack Obama shares his August 4th birthday with other famous people:

  • Jeff Gordon, former professional stock car racing driver, was born on August 4, 1971. He turns 47 years old.
  • Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, was born on August 4, 1981. She turns 37 years old.

Barack Obama's Name

Barack in Swahili means “one who is blessed.” His mother, Ann Dunham allowed his father Barack Hussein Obama Sr. to name him Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. However, no one referred to him by his middle name or Jr.

He did have several nicknames while growing up. His late grandmother who raised him nicknamed him "Bar." She died one day before he was elected President of the United States.

Because of his basketball skill in high school, he was known as "O'Bomber." He was called Barry until college when he asked to be addressed by his full name. His Secret Service code name was "Renegade."

Food and Drinks

Obama loves fruits especially Granny Smith apples. His favorite meal is shrimp linguini when his wife Michelle cooks it. Other favorite foods include cobbler and broccoli. He loves to cook chili himself.

When he was a teenager, he worked at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop. Now can't stand ice cream. His favorite snacks are chocolate-peanut protein bars. He also likes Fran’s Smoked Salt Caramels. His enjoy Black Forest Berry iced tea. He doesn't drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol

While living in Jakarta, Indonesia as a child in late 1960s, he ate dog meat, snake meat, and roasted grasshoppers.

Other Career Options

Once Obama thought about giving male modeling a try. He applied to appear in a black pin-up calendar while at Harvard but was rejected by an all-female committee.

If he hadn't become a politician, he would have become an architect.

Like Other Presidents

Obama has something in common with seven other presidents. He is the eighth left-handed United States Presidents.

  1. James A. Garfield
  2. Herbert Hoover
  3. Harry S. Truman
  4. Gerald Ford
  5. Ronald Reagan
  6. George H.W. Bush
  7. Bill Clinton
  8. Barack Obama

Health and Fitness

He jogs plays basketball and golfs. He takes in a variety of fitness and strength training activities, including being able to bench press over 200 pounds.

President Obama is 6’1″ tall and weighs 180 pounds. Obama was one of the tallest U.S. presidents.

Obama's Firsts

Barack Hussein Obama Jr. was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is the first American president to be born outside the 48 contiguous states.

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama is elected president of the United States, the first African American to ever hold the office. Obama’s maternal grandmother died of cancer on November 3, one day before her grandson was elected.

Obama was 47 years old when he was sworn in on January 20, 2009. He was the fifth youngest person to become president.

Obama was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

A mistake was made in the wording when he took the oath of office during his first inauguration in 2009. He had to do it over in a ceremony the next day. He became the second President in history to take the oath of office four times. The first one was Franklin Roosevelt.

The First President to Use Social Media

President Donald Trump might hold the record for the most tweets of a president, but Obama was the first president to tweet when he was a senator. He is the president who ushered the world into the social media era. He was the first president to have a YouTube channel with over 289 million views each week.


Obama used to collect Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics. He has read every Harry Potter book. His favorite book is Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father.

President Obama has written multiple books, two of them are best sellers. Barack Obama won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for The Audacity of Hope, and Dreams from My Father. He earned enough money from his book deal to pay off his student loan.

He wrote a book on race relations, which was published in 1995 as his autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.

Other Obama books include:

  • Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters
  • Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise

Prized Possessions

When he was president, Obama kept a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg on his desk. It is a Kenyan symbol of the fragility of life.

He owns a set of red boxing gloves autographed by Muhammad Ali.

He carries a couple of good luck charms with him. One is a Madonna and Christ child statue. The other is a bracelet that belongs to a soldier who was in Iraq.

Movies, Music, and Art

He took Michelle to see the Spike Lee film Do The Right Thing on their first date. His favorite films are Casablanca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. His favorite fictional television programmes are Mash and The Wire.

Obama loves the music of Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and The Fugees.

People who have influenced his life include Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Pablo Picasso, his favorite artist.


While living in Indonesia, Obama kept a pet ape called Tata.

He promised his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, a puppy if he won the presidential election. Their first dog was a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo. Then they gave Bo a companion that they named Sunny.

Clothes and Appearance

When he was president, Obama wore $1,500 Hart Schaffner Marx suits. At the time, he owned four identical pairs of black shoes size 11.

He got his hair cut once a week by his Chicago barber, Zariff. It cost him $21.

One of his pet peeves was seeing some youth wearing their pants sagging with their underwear showing.

Sports and Games

Barack Obama’s favorite sport is basketball that began at an early age. He played throughout school and was on his high school varsity team. He had the tennis court at the White House adapted into a basketball court. He still shoots many three-pointers. He also loves playing golf. He enjoys watching boxing matches.

While on the campaign trail he refused to watch CNN. The television sets were always turned on a sports channel instead.

He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker. His other hobbies include reading and writing.


He promised Michelle he would quit smoking before running for president. He didn't then, but he did quit while he was in the White House in 2010.

As a teenager, he took drugs including marijuana and cocaine.

Even though he is not in the White House, he is still popular among the people.


Barack Obama's parents were not religious. His father was an atheist. However, Obama himself was baptized as a Christian in 1988. He attended the United Church of Christ while living in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the Evergreen Chapel at Camp David while he was president.

Did you learn any new about President Barack Obama?

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    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      20 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Tim, thanks for reading and commenting on my article about former President Barack Obama. Since he will celebrate his 57th birthday this Saturday, I wrote the article in his honor.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      20 months ago from U.S.A.

      Former President Obama was certainly a special leader. I knew he loved basketball because he correctly predicted UNC-Chapel Hill to win the Final Four one year. I didn't know about the pet ape or his favorite foods. It's interesting how many of our presidents were "left" handed as you pointed out in your article.

      Thanks for an interesting piece.




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