Barack Obama and the Racing Presidents at Nationals Park

Barack Obama and the Racing Presidents at Nationals Park

When President Obama took office in 2009 he vowed to “make government cool again.” Eager young workers, inspired by Obama’s slogan of “hope and change” flooded D.C — a town already in the throes of change itself. Eight years later on the cusp of a Trump administration, D.C. is a town transformed both physically and socially. Gentrified neighborhoods boast Michelin-starred restaurants, the city has a growing tech sector and gleaming new buildings have replaced dilapidated neighborhoods. But while the Obamas and their staffers made a significant mark on the city, they also missed opportunities and quashed expectations of longtime D.C. residents. We examine how the Obama years changed the District and we explore the impact of political cycles on the vibrancy of the city.


  • Daniella Gibbs Leger Senior Vice President, Communications and Strategy, Center for American Progress
  • Elaina Plott Staff Writer, Washingtonian Magazine
  • Maurice Jackson Professor of History, Georgetown University; author of "Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism" (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press)

The Obamas In Local Washington

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