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CHICAGO (AP) — Conceding disappointments during his presidency yet offering vigorous encouragement for the nation’s future, Barack Obama issued an emotional defense Tuesday night of his vision to Americans facing a moment of anxiety and a dramatic change in leadership.

Obama’s valedictory speech in his hometown of Chicago was a public meditation on the trials and triumphs, promises kept and promises broken that made up his eight years in the White House. Arguing his faith in America had been confirmed, Obama said he ends his tenure inspired by America’s “boundless capacity” for reinvention, and he declared: “The future should be ours.”

His delivery was forceful for most of his speech, but by the end he was wiping away tears as the crowd embraced him one last time.

Reflecting on the corrosive recent political campaign, he said, “That potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

He made no mention of Republican Donald Trump, who will replace him in just 10 days. But when he noted the imminence of that change and the crowd began booing, he responded, “No, no, no, no, no.” One of the nation’s great strengths, he said, “is the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.”

Earlier, as the crowd of thousands chanted, “Four more years,” he simply smiled and said, “I can’t do that.”

Soon Obama and his family will exit the national stage, to be replaced by Trump, a man Obama had stridently argued poses a dire threat to the nation’s future. His near-apocalyptic warnings throughout the campaign have cast a continuing shadow over his post-election efforts to reassure Americans anxious about the future.

Indeed, much of what Obama accomplished over the past eight years — from health care overhaul and environmental regulations to his nuclear deal with Iran — could potentially be upended by Trump. So even as Obama seeks to define what his presidency meant for America, his legacy remains in question.

Even as Obama said farewell to the nation — in a televised speech of just under an hour — the anxiety felt by many Americans about the future was palpable, and not only in the Chicago convention center where he stood in front of a giant presidential seal. The political world was reeling from new revelations about an unsubstantiated report that Russia had compromising personal and financial information about Trump.

Steeped in nostalgia, Obama’s return to Chicago was less a triumphant homecoming and more a bittersweet reunion bringing together Obama loyalists and loyal staffers, many of whom have long since left Obama’s service, moved on to new careers and started families. They came from across the country — some on Air Force One, others on their own — to be present for the last major moment of Obama’s presidency.

Seeking inspiration, Obama’s speechwriters spent weeks poring over Obama’s other momentous speeches, including his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention and his 2008 speech after losing the New Hampshire primary to Hillary Clinton. They also revisited his 2015 address in Selma, Alabama, that both honored America’s exceptionalism and acknowledged its painful history on civil rights.

After returning to Washington, Obama will have less than two weeks before he accompanies Trump in the presidential limousine to the Capitol for the new president’s swearing-in. After nearly a decade in the spotlight, Obama will become a private citizen, an elder statesman at 55. He plans to take some time off, write a book — and immerse himself in a Democratic redistricting campaign.


— billy eichner (@billyeichner) January 11, 2017

Watch the entire speech below:

What did you think of the President’s speech? 

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25 thoughts on “WATCH: President Obama Says Farewell To An Anxious Nation

  1. Honestly on said:

    Don’t waste your time trying to reason with cave n!@@ers. They have an infinite capacity to lie. These piss gum gorillas should have never been let out of the caves of Europe.

  2. Alberta on said:

    We didn’t agree on every thing Mr. president…but that’s how politics works…we win some and we lose some. There’s No way all Americans will ever come together on every single agenda we’re still arguing over “red & blue” colors what are we political gang members?! Agree on what’s really important not party names or colors or how much each party failed to do it’s job…because NOBODY got everything they wanted.

  3. Where’s the Tweeter n Chief?? It’s like he disappeared….crickets. Oh…..he did finally tweet huh, and said something about it’s all lies. Why is it he always insinuates that everyone lies but him. Yeah….Right Donald. For those that tend to always defend Trump…..LET US NOT FORGET that during the campaign he (seemingly) encourage Russia to hack Hillary. Talk about chickens coming home to roost. LOL LOL

  4. Wow why hasn’t the Donald commented on his sexual perversion escapades in Russia. I knew this clown was a joke and its seeing the light of day. He also have mob ties. It’s shameful ppl voted for his con artist. I’m loving how this mobster is being exposed. Where are the trolls?

  5. Great speech prez Obama. Your replacement will be a mere disaster. The Russians arecomng!! They have all kind of dirt obmthd rascit bigot. Haha. Sad they didn’t report on if before election. This is going to be a travesty

    • Jackie: It appears that Trump isn’t really all that intelligent. He can’t spell, sometimes talks like a 5th Grader, is very immature, and Un-President like, and relishes in being an entertainer. Really….seriously this is who has been elected as President of the Free world. SMDH!!

  6. Ms. Wms on said:

    We will be watching the best President in the world give his farewell speech. As a black person I am so proud of the best President in the world. He is the best who did it and would ever do it. I don’t want him to leave. The devils try to obstruct him and ever way possible. Now look what you all have the orange combover idiot. He could never hold up to the best of President Obama standards. Going to miss President Obama and family who have no scandals.

  7. We LOVE the Obama’s the most favorite thing in my heart and mind is they lead this country proudly with O scandal. Wow beautiful black family I am proud to know that my grandchildren will have a royal American family that they will be able to relate to. 😘

    • Led the country with highest unemployment rate among black males and almost doubling the number of recipients on welfare. Will your grandchildren relate to that?

      • Larry the Troll…. Hope you are being paid to troll. Are do you work for free? LOL Get a Life Bro….get a Life. You probably go from website to website spreading negativity. Bottom line is most people on this site don’t give a rat’s A what you say LOL Pleeeez no need to reply (in fact speak to the hand LOL)

      • Tiffany on said:

        Larry, you should keep your negative feelings to yourself. Why are you trying to manipulate the conversation to your thoughts? You said what you said so shut up and move on. Why keep harping on your negativity when clearly all comments are positive! Geez!

      • Jackie: And, in addition to the rumored info Russia has on Trump; what about allegations that Fox News settled a S#@%@# Harrassment case against Bill O’Reilly. Yeah self righteous, always judging everyone else…..Fox News highest rated show on TV (According to OReilly who always brags about this….like the average person gives a ‘S’ because it’s not putting any money in our pockets Self righteous…..hypocrite

    • Don’t lie to your grandchildren. His tenure saw an astounding number of scandals: Benghazi, Fast and Furious gunrunning, Solyndra and green energy subsidies for campaign donors, cash for Iranian hostages, IRS targeting of conservative groups, spying on journalists, Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the Veterans Administration disaster, trading deserter Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held in Guantánamo, droning American citizens without due process, and firing inspector general Gerald Walpin for investigating an Obama crony who was abusing federal programs. And that list isn’t exhaustive.

      • Jackie on said:

        Hey Larry what does ur dumbass have to say about the Russians coming after ur prez elect. We now knw they have dirt on the con artist in Cheif. I don’t see his dumbass on Twitter since the news broke. This is going to be s administration full of scandal. My prez had none

  8. We will be watching Mr. President!! Words alone can’t express our gratitude for the tone, and example you have set for our kids (and, adults….I might add. LOL) for the last 8 years. Ride off into the sunset proud!!

    • swmorris1 on said:

      Terri I completely agree with you. President Obama has been the most outstanding President of the United States of America that we have had I think since President Carter. He has been a very good role model for all young men to look up to. As I watch tonight, I’m going to have my box of kleenex on standby and thinking of the song, “it’s so hard to say goodbye” because it will be bittersweet memories of all he has done and tried to do for our country. Farewell Mr. President, farewell and thanks for all you’ve done and especially the memories.

      • “since President Carter” OMG, thank you, that is gave me a much needed laugh. I have to share this at the office tomorrow. Jimmy Carter, right? ROTFLMAO

    • Can you name 5 accomplishments over the last 8 years that made you so proud? Was it Cash for Clunkers or your free Obama Phone?

      • Jackie on said:

        Bitch I told u at least 5 great accomplishments. Starting with the auto bailout. 1.5 million jobs saved and it wasn’t a farce like dumbass is trying to claim. He saved the economy from a depression your 401k is up unemployment down. Gas prices were $4. And millions have healthcare weather u like it or not. And he did it in spite of the racsium that he had to endure. He made great gains in spite of the obstructions

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