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2009-2017

The legacy of Barack Obama

President Barack Obama has been many things in his eight years in office. As the nation’s first African-American president, he will always symbolize a historic breakthrough. The Democrat’s ambitious agenda — ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reforming health care, retooling the economy for the 21st century, resetting policy toward longtime adversaries such as Iran and Cuba, improving race relations, leading on climate change — proved controversial and produced uneven results.

Despite his campaign promise, Obama was unable to change the culture of Washington. The race to succeed him revealed just how divided America is — and the next president, Republican Donald Trump, could reverse many of Obama’s policies, putting his long-term legacy in peril.

Here are assessments of Obama’s legacy as his tenure ends.

A look back at Obama's presidency

His impact

A look back at Obama's presidency

Barack Obama sought to be a transformational president. Eight years later, he prepares to leave office having overseen a turbulent time in history, Newsday's Yancey Roy writes.

AFP / Getty Images / Jewel Samad

What if Obama's 8 years had been a TV show?

Obama's arc

What if Obama's 8 years had been a TV show?

The story of the 44th presidency in 16 episodes, from the euphoric dawn of the Obama era to his chosen successor's loss to Donald Trump, a man who is his polar opposite in policy and temperament.

EPA / Jim Bourg

The last speech

Bowing out

The last speech

Top photos from President Obama's farewell address in Chicago.

AP / Charles Rex Arbogast

35 images to remember

Obama in photos

35 images to remember

Memorable images from Obama's presidency.

The White House / Pete Souza

Pop culture moments: Like 'em or not?

Cast your vote

Pop culture moments: Like 'em or not?

Obama has been more comfortable in a wider variety of pop culture settings than perhaps any of his predecessors.

AP / Charles Dharapak

10 things named after Obama

Inspired by Obama

10 things named after Obama

Have you heard about the spider named after the president? Or the Obama phone?

AFP / Getty Images / Peter Muhly

Cartoons: The Obama presidency

Fresh takes

Cartoons: The Obama presidency

Editorial cartoonists from around the country on Barack Obama.

Roll Call / RJ Matson

What’s next for Michelle Obama?

Leaving 'the White House bubble'

What’s next for Michelle Obama?

The world is Michelle Obama's oyster. What she'll take on in the future has sparked the imaginations of many.

Getty Images Entertainment / Paul Morigi

What will you remember most?

Parting thoughts

What will you remember most?

Loved him? Can't wait to see him go? Share your thoughts about President Obama.

AP / Jae C. Hong

Obama's visits from sports champions

In the house

Obama's visits from sports champions

It's a tradition for sports champions to visit the president at the White House after their victories.

AP / Charles Dharapak

Malia and Sasha through the years

First family

Malia and Sasha through the years

Take a look back at how the first daughters have grown up.

Getty Images / Mark Wilson

Front page news

Covering Obama

Front page news

See 40 of Newsday's most memorable covers on Barack Obama, from 2008 to 2016.

Newsday

Produced by Edward B. Colby, designed by Anthony Carrozzo, copy edited by Jennifer Martin