Obama's tumultuous first term: By the numbers

The Week
President Obama approaches the podium for his first prime time news conference on Nov. 9, 2009.
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President Obama approaches the podium for his first prime time news conference on Nov. 9, 2009.

Democrats and Republicans vehemently disagree over just about everything concerning President Obama. These figures might explain why

The first four years of the Obama presidency have been, as the Grateful Dead might say, a long, strange trip. There was the flurry of lawmaking — stimulus bill, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank banking bill — the Tea Party backlash, a massive oil gusher, the never-ending debt-ceiling fights, then the never-ending, budget-busting 2012 election. But "is the nation better off than it was four years ago?" asks Mark Murray at NBC News. It depends on the statistics you focus on. "There are plenty of numbers suggesting that the country is on more solid footing than it was when he first took office," but also plenty more "indicating that the nation isn't better off than it was four years ago — and that the Great Recession continues to take a toll on families." So here, for better or worse, are some of the key numbers from Obama's first term in office:

7.8
Jobless rate (in percent) when Obama took office

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7.8
Jobless rate (in percent) in December 2012 (latest figure)

10.2
Highest jobless rate (in percent) of Obama's presidency, in October 2009

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7,949.09
Dow Jones Industrial Average close on Jan. 20, 2009

13,649.70
Dow Jones Industrial Average close on Jan. 18, 2013

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-5.3
GDP (in percent) when Obama took office (Q1 2009)

+3.1
Most recent GDP figure (in percent — Q3 2012)

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37.4
Consumer confidence level in January 2009

65.1
Consumer confidence level in December 2013

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$52,195
Median household income in 2009 (adjusted for inflation)

$50,054
Median household income in 2011

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$972
Price for an ounce of gold in 2009 ($1,039 adjusted for inflation)

$1,595
Price for an ounce of gold in 2012

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$10.6 trillion
National debt when Obama took office

$16.4 trillion
National debt at the end of his first term

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$1.4 trillion
Federal budget deficit in fiscal year 2009

$1.1 trillion
Federal budget deficit (projected) in fiscal year 2012

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140
U.S. bank failures in 2009

51
U.S. bank failures in 2012

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$275.6 million
Value of the White House when the Obama moved in, according to Zillow.

$294.9 million
Value of the White House today (a 7 percent increase)

139,500
U.S. troops in Iraq when Obama took office

200
U.S. troops in Iraq now

34,400
U.S. troops in Afghanistan when Obama took office

66,000
U.S. troops in Afghanistan now

79
Press conferences Obama held in his first term

89
Press conferences George W. Bush held in his first term

133
Press conferences Bill Clinton held in his first term

1
Ranking of ABC News among media outlets called on most frequently in Obama press conferences, according to Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota

9
Ranking of Fox News among media outlets called on most frequently in Obama press conferences, following CBS (No. 2), The Associated Press (No. 3), NBC (No. 4), Bloomberg (No. 5), Reuters (No. 6), The New York Times (No. 7), and CNN (No. 8).

2
Supreme Court justices appointed by Obama (Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan)

70
Vacancies on federal courts as of Jan. 2, 2013. 

55
Vacancies on federal courts when Obama took office

720
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits in the past two years

562
FOIA lawsuits during the last two years of the George W. Bush administration

49 million
Americans without health insurance in 2009

48.6 million
Americans without health insurance in 2012

Sources: ABC NewsDave Manuel (2), The Huffington Post, Legal TimesMSNBC (2), People for the American Way, Smart Politics, The Washington Times

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