Looking back at Obama on election nights past

  • Barack Obama celebrates with his family following his victory over Republican Alan Keyes on Nov. 2, 2004, in Chicago.
  • Barack Obama, seated next to his wife, Michelle and daughters Sasha, 3, far left, and Malia, 6, as they wait for election returns in a Chicago hotel, on Nov. 2, 2004. 
  • Then-Senator Barack Obama shows a paper proving he cast his vote in the 2008 presidential elections in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2008. 
  • U.S. President-elect Barack Obama arrives to speak to supporters during his election night rally after being declared the winner of the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2008. 
  • U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and his family arrive on stage for his election night victory rally at Grant Park on Nov. 4, 2008 in Chicago. 
  • U.S. President-elect Senator Barack Obama leaves with his wife Michelle during his election night rally after being declared the winner of the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2008. 
  • In this image released by the White House, President Barack Obama makes an election night phone call to Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who would become the next House Speaker, from the Treaty Room in the White House residence, Nov. 2, 2010, in Washington. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama walks in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington on Nov. 3, 2010, towards the East Room for a news conference the day after the midterm elections. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama holds a post-midterm election news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Nov. 3, 2010. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama takes the stage during a campaign rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 5, 2012. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama calls volunteers as he visits a campaign office in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 5, 2012.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama greets supporters during an Election Day visit to a campaign office in Chicago on Nov. 6, 2012. 
  • U.S. President Barack Obama applauds after his election night victory speech in Chicago on Nov. 7, 2012.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia (R) and Sasha at their election night victory rally in Chicago on Nov. 7, 2012.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to supporters following his reelection on Nov. 6, 2012.

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Tuesday’s midterm election marks the beginning of the end of President Barack Obama’s career as an elected official — one that began 18 years ago in the Illinois Senate, and one that will end two years from now when he departs the nation’s highest office.

Though he’s a tried-and-true campaigner, Obama has had to stay out of sight this election cycle for fear of dragging down embattled Democrats with his tanking approval ratings. Though many races are tight, the GOP looks poised to pick up the six seats needed to seize control of the Senate.

Take a look back at one of history’s most gifted political campaigners before a series of second-term leadership crises forced him into the shadows.

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