It’s been a roller coaster of a year, but since January, President Obama has been holding down his second term like a boss.
Whether it was creating a gun-control task force in the wake of the Newtown shootings, searching for Easter eggs at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll Hunt, or eulogizing South Africa’s first black president, Obama has done it with style, grace, efficiency and best of all, humor.
Here are our favorite presidential moments from 2013.
1. That Time He Became President Again (January)
Seriously, name another president who has ever said this in their inauguration speech: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.” That’s pretty damn bossy, bold, and badass American.
2. That Time He Invited 30 Gun Victims To The State Of The Union Address (February)
In the wake of the Newtown tragedy in December 2012, Obama pushed hard for gun control reform, though he was met with strong opposition. To make a real statement, he invited victims of gun violence as guests to the address, as part of the push for new gun safety legislation, including the parents of Hadiyah Pendleton, the 15-year-old Chicago girl shot dead just days after she performed at the President’s Inauguration.
3. That Time He Said Chicago Has A Newtown Every Month (February)
Addressing a crowd of students and Chicago residents, the President said this: “Last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under. So that’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months.” Hours after that moving speech, a little girl standing behind Obama would lose her own sister to gun violence. Read about it here.
4. That Time He Collaborated With Kid President (February)
Just adorable and epic and we can’t get enough.
5. That Time A Relative Of Rosa Parks Liked His Hair (February)
We’re not sure if adorable Terrell Anderson Jr. of Detroit wanted to caress Obama’s grey tresses, cup his brow in endearment, or wipe the sweat from his forehead, but it was a great moment at the unveiling of Rosa Parks’ statue in the U.S. Capitol.
6. That Time He Gave Back 5% Of His Salary To Federal Workers (April)
After announcing that the sequester earlier this year was “dumb” (and yes, he said that), Obama voluntarily returned five percent of his salary to the treasury to relieve federal workers who were going to be furloughed. Selflessness. We should all take a note.
7. That Time He Blasted Senators For Dropping The Gun Background Check Amendment (April)
Six months after the Newtown massacre, Obama blasted U.S. Senators who dropped legislation that would strengthen gun background checks. Obama responded with this: “This was a pretty shameful day for Washington. But this effort isn’t over. I see this as just round one…We are going to get this done, we are going to get this right.” See the rest of his speech here.
8. That Time He Said He Had Better Things To Worry About Than Cuba, Jay Z & Beyonce (April)
“We’ve got better things to do!” Damn right, we do!
9. That Time He And First Lady Michelle Obama Paid Their Respects To Boston After Marathon Bombing (April)
10. That Time He Supported Jason Collins After The Basketball Player Announced He Was Gay (April)
When Jason Collins came out as the first gay professional sports player ever, guess who was first to congratulate him and offer support? President Obama. According to a White House aide, the President called Collins to express his support and said he was impressed by his courage. Read about it here.
11. That Time He Tweeted Us A Hug (May)
When the President tweeted, “It’s Wednesday. Need a hug?” we didn’t think it would be THIS cute.
12. That Time We Saw His Prom Date (May)
Before there was Michelle Obama, there was Meghan Hughes in the blue dress. Thanks for the throwback TIME!
13. That Time He Promised To Shut Down Guantanamo Bay (May)
During a speech in May, which was the first in his second term that addressed counterterrorism, drones and Guantanamo Bay, the President promised to shut down the detainment center, as it threatened to create new enemies of the state and diminish America’s moral standing. “I know the politics are hard. But history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it. Imagine a future – ten years from now, or twenty years from now – when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not a part of our country.” Read more here.
14. That Time Chris Christie & Obama Reunited On The Jersey Shore (May)
In May, President Obama traveled to New Jersey to meet Governor Chris Christie, where they both toured the shore to survey the recovery of Superstorm Sandy, and what’s left of the $40 billion damage. But it was the pictures of the two bro’ing out that we loved so much. Check them out, here.
15. The Time This Photo Happened (May)
And yes, Obama totally tweeted, “Suits and ties.” Epic.
16. That Time He Urged All Dad’s To Be Great (June)
In his weekly address before Father’s Day, President Obama stressed that being a father isn’t easy whether one is gay, straight, a grandparent, or even an adoptive parent. He also suggested fathers be more involved in their children’s lives, adding that it’s his goal to encourage fathers to get engaged with children by reforming child support laws.
17. That Time He Addressed The George Zimmerman Verdict (July)
After George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, Obama surprised a group of reporters at a White House briefing when he made an unscheduled appearance to discuss an issue that had gripped the nation. He sent his prayers to Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, but most notably, he discussed his own experiences as a black man in America. “There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. And there are very few African-American men who haven’t had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven’t had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often.” Read more here.
18. That Time He Turned 52 (August)
And we gave him 11 reasons why he should turn up!
19. That Time He Called Hero Antoinette Tuff (August)
Remember when Antoinette Tuff, a school secretary at a Georgia elementary school, thwarted a would-be-shooter by talking him down? Well, the President didn’t let that just slide by him. He called the hero to let her know how much he appreciated her for saving hundreds of lives. And it totally made her year.
20. That Time Obama Spoke At The 50th Anniversary Of The March On Washington (August)
When Obama took the stage in the drizzling rain on August 28, 2013 to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King and the 1963 March on Washington, we all realized that while King’s dream had come full circle, the necessity and urgency to fight for justice, equality and jobs was still there…and very real. Click here to see the 14 most inspiring moments from that special day.
21. That Time He Addressed The Navy Yard Shooting (September)
It’s not one of our favorites, but it marked yet another speech Obama had to make in the wake of a mass shooting during his presidency, this time in his own backyard. “We cannot accept this,” Obama said of the Sept. 16 attack that killed a dozen people at the Navy Yard. “As Americans bound in grief and love, we must insist here today there’s nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work.”
22. That Time He And Russian President Vladimir Putin Agreed On Something (September)
In the midst of Syria’s civil war and the U.S. threat to take military action due to the country’s use of chemical weapons, the U.S. and Russia came to an agreement on a draft resolution to enforce the handover of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapon stockpiles. Read about it here.
23. That Time The U.S. Talked To An Iranian President For The First Time Since 1979 (September)
The last time the United States has had communication with Iran on a political level was during the Iranian Revolution in 1979. But leave it to Obama to have a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani discussing the relations between the nations and efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program (which was reached later in the year). History!
24. That Time He Ate A Sandwich (October)
Because, we can never get enough of seeing Obama do really regular tasks.
25. That Time He Told Republicans Off During The Government Shutdown (October)
Thousands of federal workers were furloughed, national parks closed, and government programs shut down during a very avoidable government shutdown perpetuated by Republicans upset over the Affordable Care Act. And in the 16th day, President Obama had this to say: “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election.” Now THAT was a read. Check it out, here.
26. That Time He Saved A Woman From Fainting (October)
Because who didn’t swoon when President Obama came to the rescue of a young pregnant woman with Type 1 diabetes, as she fainted while he gave a speech to address glitches in the rollout of Obamacare?
27. That Time He Spoke At Nelson Mandela’s Memorial Service (December)
This year, we saw the passing of freedom fighter and former South African President Nelson Mandela. It was another full circle moment for the President — the first black president traveled to South Africa to eulogize a man who he credits for his own activism. “It took a man like Madiba,” Obama said, invoking Mandela’s clan name, “to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well, to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you, to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth.” For highlights on Obama’s speech, click here.
28. That Time Obama Shook Cuban President Raul Castro’s Hand (December)
And Republicans lost their shit. Read about it here.
29. That Time Obamacare Started Working (December)
The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) marketplace might have gotten off to a rocky start in October, but by December, numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that nearly 1.2 million people are on track to have health coverage come January. Mazel Tov!
30. That Time Obama Took A Firm Stance Against The War On Drugs (December)
Most recently, the President commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates convicted of crack cocaine offenses. Each of those inmates has been imprisoned for at least 15 years and six were sentenced to life in prison. Most of the eight would have been released in 120 days. It was the first time retroactive relief was provided to a group of inmates who would have received significantly shorter terms if they had been sentenced under current drug laws. Now that’s deep!
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter | VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube