President Barack Obama gave a 55 minute farewell speech in defense of his legacy from his hometown of Chicago. He set out what he considered the greatest accomplishments of his two terms, and encouraged his supporters to follow on in his progressive ideology.
“Tonight it’s my turn to say thanks…you made me a better president, and you made me a better man,” he began.
The raucous crowd applauded often, and at one point even began clamored, “four more years,” a suggestion Obama denied.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 11, 2017
He seemed to take subtle veiled shots at President-elect Trump, for instance in the warning, “If we don’t create opportunity for all people, the disaffection and division… will only sharpen in years to come.” In another section he offered, “Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear. So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are.”
Obama also spoke at length about race relations in the country, saying that undoubtedly they had improved over the last decades, but more work was needed to be done. “Our law enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever,” he continued, “We’ve taken out tens of thousands of terrorists.” He lauded his fight against terrorism, repeating again the monumental killing of Osama Bin Laden under his watch.
“Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift,” he continued, pivoting to encourage his crestfallen supporters. “But it’s really just a piece of parchment… We, the people, give it power.”
Obama wiped away a tear as he reflected on the support of First Lady Michelle Obama, saying she made her role at the White House her own “with grace and with grit and with style.” He then told his daughters Sasha and Malia that of all he had down, he was most proud of being their father. He then moved on to Vice President Joe Biden, calling his m a brother.
He ended the speech reprising his campaign motto of “yes we can,” adding, “yes we did!”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 11, 2017
Some pundits noted that it appeared to be a darker speech than they expected, as he only reached the soaring rhetoric that he’s known for at the end of the speech.
President-elect Trump is set to relieve Obama of the burden of the Oval Office in just nine days.