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President Barack Obama speaks during his final presidential news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Barack Obama stepped behind the White House podium for the last time Wednesday, fielding questions from the crush of journalists crammed in for the occasion and offering assurances to Americans watching on TV.

But at times, his answers seemed aimed at an audience of one: the man who will replace him at noon Friday.

Obama gently chided Donald Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. might end its sanctions on Russia over Ukraine in exchange for nuclear stockpile reductions, saying it was in America’s interest to make sure “we don’t confuse why these sanctions have been imposed with a whole set of other issues.”

And, with Trump vowing to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that could further inflame tensions in the Middle East, Obama warned that when “sudden unilateral moves” are made in the region, the results can be explosive.

Obama also defended his decision to cut nearly three decades off convicted leaker Chelsea Manning’s prison term, a move Trump’s team has strongly criticized. Obama said the former Army intelligence analyst had served a “tough prison sentence” already.

With no elections left to win or legislative battles to fight, Obama used his parting words to deliver one set of messages to his successor, a man who is his opposite both temperamentally and politically. Obama said he expected a new president, particularly one from the opposing party, to “test old assumptions,” but he also suggested it would be important for the next administration to “understand that there are going to be consequences, and actions typically create reactions.”

The very fact that Obama was holding the afternoon news conference in the White House briefing room served as a symbolic counter to Trump. The president-elect’s aides have raised the prospect of moving daily news briefings out of their traditional West Wing home, sparking fears of attempts to eventually push reporters out of the White House altogether.

Obama specifically addressed that worry: “Having you in this building has made this place work better,” he declared.

“You’re not supposed to be sycophants, you’re supposed to be skeptics,” Obama said to the reporters he has often criticized for hyping scandals and hopscotching from story to story too quickly.

“You’re not supposed to be complimentary, but you’re supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here.”

Even the reporters the president called on seemed intended to send a pointed message to his successor. He kicked off the questioning with the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, which advocates for access on behalf of journalists. Reporters from Arab, Spanish-language, African-American, and gay and lesbian-focused publications followed.

In a sense, Obama was taking a page out of the playbook used by Trump advisers, who often try to communicate with their cable-news watching boss on the airwaves. The president’s press conference earned him prime real estate on the networks Trump keeps on his office television throughout the day, with most cable news outlets carrying the entire hour-long event live.

For years, Trump’s only presence in Obama’s orbit was as an irritant and the chief promoter of the lie that the president was born outside the United States. When Trump challenged for the presidency, Obama worked to stop him and seemed all but certain that Americans wouldn’t back the Republican’s brash and divisive politics.

Since Trump’s unexpected victory, Obama has largely set aside that history and sought to help ease his successor’s transition into office. He’s spoken with Trump by phone numerous times, sometimes at length, he said Wednesday.

Divulging some of his advice to the incoming president, Obama said he’s told Trump, “This is a job of such magnitude that you can’t do it by yourself.”

Trump was ridiculed by Democrats for saying during his Republican convention speech that “I alone” can fix the problems ailing the nation.

After eight years in office, the president suggested he’s eager to step away from the political spotlight for a time. “I want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much,” he said Wednesday. But he also served notice that as an ex-president, he would speak out if Trump violates America’s “core values.”

For all his campaign warnings about the dire implications of a Trump presidency and the threat the 45th president poses to his own policy achievements, Obama insisted he was at ease, even optimistic, upon stepping aside.

“At my core, I think we’re going to be OK,” he said.

AP writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.

PHOTO: AP

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38 thoughts on “Obama: ‘I Think We’re Going To Be OK’

  1. Carmen on said:

    Here’s more numbers Obama had 1.8 million ppl in attendence. Trump maybe 800 thou. Who’s fooling who?? This man is not popular and he’s going to ruin the country. I bet we get higher unemployment and our gas prices will rise. And our 401ks will take s hit. Also trump won’t be prez 8 yrs. he may not last 4. He’s a crook

  2. Carmen on said:

    Here’s some more numbers for u to remember. Going into office Obama 84%. the trumpster 40%. Worst numbers Ever!!!’!!!!!!

  3. Carmen on said:

    Your white pathetic incompetent prez will be the worst prez EVER. THE FOOL DOESN’T EVEN HAVE HIS CABINET IN PLACE. FORGIVE HIM BC HE IS ONE LOST PUPPY. HES SUPPOSE TO HAVE 600 PEOPLE IN PLACE READY TO SERVE AND HE ONLY HAVE 100. WHAT A PATHETIC SOUL

    • It’s going to literately rain on the trumpsters. The time he put his hand on the bible lightening will strike. Hahahaha. I noticed he tries to show affection to his wife. It comes off as fake as hell. You fake it until u make it. She’s fake too.

  4. All I see is a sea of white at this concert. That doesn’t represent the country I live in. It look like for whites only. He can Only wish he would get the crowd of the blk prez but he won’t bc ppl hate his white ass

    • Dr. Larry on said:

      ROTFL at the pathetic liberals as their heads explode. Keep going Debra, only 8 more years of your self imposed slavery of hate. LOL

  5. specialt757 on said:

    Only white people think America is GREAT. Blacks have the dog attacks, police brutality, fire hose attacks, slavery, jim crow laws, and other atrocities that make us think, we survived, but GREAT, hell no.

    • Tell us about your experience of being a slave? How many times did masa whip you?
      Where did those cops turn fire hoses on you I missed that news story
      And if blacks are so appressed why are there so many affluent blacks in this country
      And why are minority’s still coming here from those paradises they live in now?
      Talk about living in the past you have to go back 160 yrs and dwell on it no wonder people like you can’t succeed
      I know America is GREAT I’m dam glad to live here

    • Dr. Larry on said:

      Those who want to succeed, can. Those stuck blaming others and hating will always fail, but it will never be their fault.

  6. I don’t know about anyone else….but I will definitely be ok. I’m not going to lose any sleep over Trump. I think he was elected in part because people believe Trump will provide a job for them, and as some have said ‘he won’t take away my religious rights.’ Uuuum I’m still trying to determine what religious rights they think will be taken away(?) Just like the term Make America great again (for me…….I NEVER LOSE THE NOTION THAT THE COUNTRY WAS NO LONGER GREAT. I always SMH on that because if you go to, or are familiar with other countries…..then you realize the USA is STILL GREAT.

  7. Jose’, President is something you will never be…a GREAT black man. The way you use his name in every post makes me think you’re jealous of him. Get over it. He was something else you will never be POTUS. You were born to be a follower and nothing more, that’s why the tip of your nose is brown, your head is always up someone else’s butt.

    • “never be POTUS” NOW THAT’S FUNNY!!! Obama said the same thing about Trump on the Jimmy Kimmel Show speaking of brown nose he must have had his head up his ass when he stated that, as far as “jealous” that describes so many Hillary voters who now cry over a Trump administration, nothing wrong with following someone when they know where they’re going…. millions followed the “hope and change” and got nether

      • And when people in need see they won’t get a damn thing from his new administration but a hard way to go, we will hear crickets. A disaster is brewing. A incoherent nutcase was elected prez. He doesn’t have a blue what to do

      • specialt757 on said:

        “…had his head up his ass” What an impossible feat, but if you say so. “Jealous” do you know what the meaning of jealousy is? I don’t think Hillary’s supports were jealous, disappointed, quite naturally, but jealous, no.

      • {spec757}I can guarantee there will be one ol-girl at the inauguration tomorrow green with jealousy and envy,
        And maybe your right Hillary supporters aren’t acting out of jealousy more like Bat-shit Crazy
        {Deb} What the hell have people got for the last 8 years? Cheesecake photos of the first black president? Unemployment among black youths higher than any Republican OR Democrat, homicide the #1 cause of death among young black men, highest number of foodstamp and well fare recipients I guess that’s your view of Glory Days

  8. Yes we will be OK Obama can sit next to Hil-liar-ry
    And console her as her last glimmer of the oval office fades away tomorrow
    Dam she can’t even charge foreign dignitaries for access to her Sec of State
    Office anymore

  9. specialt757 on said:

    I for one am so glad that President Obama will be out of the public’s scrutiny after tomorrow. I’m also so sick of hearing all the disgusting and vile thoughts about that orange clown who will the nation’s 45 president, and those are just the ones in my own head. But as President Obama has said, we will be okay. That means we won’t be GREAT anymore, we will be on survival mode. As black people in this country (and I’m only speaking to and about black people, not fake black people), we’ve always seemed to land on our feet, we’re resilient, we should be proud at the progresses we’ve made but know we have a long way to go. We are still failing in so many areas and the only thing that will change that, is a change in our mindsets and behaviors. No one else can make our world better except US. Are you ready for the challenge?

  10. While I luv our current Prez-I beg to differ with him regarding the State of this Nation.

    He must be delusional to believe that things will not become WORSE under the REIGN OF CHUMP!!!!

    One can see this madness just from the people Chump has selected to run his cabinet.
    A POS RACIST KLAN MAN (J. SESSIONS) nominated to the highest law enforcement
    position-AG.

    Chump will be surrounded by folks who do not have this countries best interest in mind-but rather their own!!!!!!!!!!!

    May God bless this UGLY AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. “You’re not supposed to be sycophants, you’re supposed to be skeptics,” Obama would make millions doing stand up. He surrounded himself with a media that never vetted him, never questioned obvious lies and circled the wagons for eight years.

  12. I don’t care how Obama spin it. He’s concern as most ppl are about a trump presidency. Be afraid. Be VERY AFRAID!! It’s going to be a disaster. Where is his fake wife? The porn star future lst lady. Lol. Sad, sad, sad. Let the scandals begin. There will be many. Half of his cabinet won’t last 4 yrs.

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