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Barack Obama farewell speech LIVE: POTUS ends 8 glorious years with 'show up, dive in and stay at it'

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Barack Obama farewell speech LIVE: POTUS ends 8 glorious years with 'show up, dive in and stay at it'
  • 09:04 (IST)

    So proud of @POTUS​: Michelle Obama tweets

  • 09:02 (IST)

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    via GIPHY

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    09:01 (IST)

    Barack Obama bids adieu: A tribute to the 44th US president in Gifs

    As hard as it is to fathom, we really are down to single digits now. That's right, it's a mere nine days till Barack Hussein Obama leaves the White House — having occupied it for eight years — and Donald Trump enters it.


    For a man who was able to evoke all sorts of 'feelz' (intense or otherwise) with the simple furrowing of his brow, pursing of his lips or pointing of a finger, the only fitting tribute would be one that encapsulates all these expressions. And what better format than the Graphics Interchange Format? See more GIFs here

    via GIPHY

  • 08:59 (IST)

    Sasha Obama: Where was she?

    The younger of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Sasha Obama, was noticeably absent in Chicago during her father’s farewell address. That’s because it was a school night. 

    The Washington Post reported that Sasha is still in high school, attending Sidwell Friends in Washington DC and the school is in session. The report says she has a report due on Tuesday morning, so she could not skip school.

  • 08:57 (IST)

    10 key quotes from Barack Obama's final address

    Barack Obama closed the book on his presidency Wednesday, with a farewell speech in Chicago. This speech was something to look forward to after Donald Trump's shock election.

    Obama's last trip on Air Force One is a pilgrimage to his adoptive hometown, where he addressed a sell-out crowd not far from where he delivered his victory speech eight years ago. Die-hard fans — many African Americans — braved Chicago's frigid winter to collect free tickets, which sold for upwards of $1,000 a piece on Craigslist.

    Joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, Obama's trip was a sentimental walk down memory lane, were it not slap-bang in the middle of a tumultuous presidential handover. Here are ten highlights from Barack Obama's eloquent final speech in Chicago.

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    Teary-eyed Obama

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    Thank you Mr. President

    Reactions pour in after Barack Obama bids goodbye to America as their 44th President in a powerful and emotional farewell speech

  • 08:27 (IST)

  • 08:26 (IST)

    Yes, we can. Yes, we did

    "My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won't stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my days that remain. For now, whether you're young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President -- the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.

    I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change -- but in yours.

    I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:

    Yes We Can.

    Yes We Did.

    Yes We Can.
    Thank you. God bless you. And may God continue to bless the United States of America."

  • 08:22 (IST)

    I leave this stage with optimism

    "That's why I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than I was when we started. Because I know our work has not only helped so many Americans; it has inspired so many Americans -- especially so many young people out there -- to believe you can make a difference; to hitch your wagon to something bigger than yourselves. This generation coming up -- unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic -- I've seen you in every corner of the country. You believe in a fair, just, inclusive America; you know that constant change has been America's hallmark, something not to fear but to embrace, and you are willing to carry this hard work of democracy forward. You'll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands."

  • 08:21 (IST)

  • 08:21 (IST)

    I've drawn from your energy: Barack Obama 

    "To my remarkable staff: For eight years -- and for some of you, a whole lot more -- I've drawn from your energy, and tried to reflect back what you displayed every day: heart, and character, and idealism. I've watched you grow up, get married, have kids, and start incredible new journeys of your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating, you never let Washington get the better of you. The only thing that makes me prouder than all the good we've done is the thought of all the remarkable things you'll achieve from here.

    And to all of you out there -- every organizer who moved to an unfamiliar town and kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time, every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change -- you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for, and I will forever be grateful. Because yes, you changed the world."

  • 08:20 (IST)

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    To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware's favorite son: you were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best.

  • 08:19 (IST)

    Obama thanks Michelle, Malia, Sasha and 'scrappy kid' Biden

    "Michelle — for the past twenty-five years, you've been not only my wife and mother of my children, but my best friend. You took on a role you didn't ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor. You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You've made me proud. You've made the country proud.
     

    Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion. You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I've done in my life, I'm most proud to be your dad.

    To Joe Biden, the scrappy kid from Scranton who became Delaware's favorite son: you were the first choice I made as a nominee, and the best. Not just because you have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother. We love you and Jill like family, and your friendship has been one of the great joys of our life."

  • 08:14 (IST)

    If something needs fixing, then lace up and do something: Barack Obama

    "We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character are turned off from public service; so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are not just misguided, but somehow malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others; when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt, and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them.

    It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen.

    Ultimately, that's what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there's an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you're tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you're disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Persevere. Sometimes you'll win. Sometimes you'll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America -- and in Americans -- will be confirmed."

  • 08:12 (IST)

    Our Constitution has no power on its own: Barack Obama in his last address to Americans

    "Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it's really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power -- with our participation, and the choices we make. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured.

    In his own farewell address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning of our safety, prosperity, and liberty, but "from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken...to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth;" that we should preserve it with "jealous anxiety;" that we should reject "the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties" that make us one."

  • 08:05 (IST)

    Protecting our way of life is just not the job of our military; Democracy can buckle if we give in fear: Barack Obama 

    "Our democracy won't work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. Today, the economy is growing again; wages, incomes, home values, and retirement accounts are rising again; poverty is falling again. The wealthy are paying a fairer share of taxes even as the stock market shatters records. The unemployment rate is near a ten-year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower. Health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. And if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we've made to our health care system -- that covers as many people at less cost — I will publicly support it.

    That, after all, is why we serve -- to make people's lives better, not worse."

  • 08:03 (IST)

    Obama's warning on what will become if the world expects too much of uniformity


    "That's what I want to focus on tonight -- the state of our democracy. Understand, democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders quarreled and compromised, and expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity -- the idea that for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one. There have been moments throughout our history that threatened to rupture that solidarity. The beginning of this century has been one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality; demographic change and the specter of terrorism -- these forces haven't just tested our security and prosperity, but our democracy as well. And how we meet these challenges to our democracy will determine our ability to educate our kids, and create good jobs, and protect our homeland.

    In other words, it will determine our future."

  • 07:59 (IST)

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    Politics is the battle of ideas: Barack Obama

    "For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles…surrounded by people who look like us. We all have to try harder...to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do. Without some common baseline of facts...and that science and reason matter, we’ll keep talking past each other."

  • 07:57 (IST)

    American actor and comedian Whoopie Goldberg 

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    "I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10, or 20, or 30 years ago, no matter what folks say. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. If we’re unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants...we diminish the prospects of our own children."

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    "Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system. Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women."

  • 07:51 (IST)

    All of us have more work to do: Barack Obama in his farewell speech in Chicago

    "The long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all. It’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face."

  • 07:48 (IST)

    Obama on change, democracy and the importance of jobs

    "Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it. Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity."

  • 07:46 (IST)

    America is a better and a stronger place: Barack Obama

    Marriage equality, take out the Al-Qaeda chief and 9/11 mastermind and climb over recession - Obama lists out a few landmarks of his eight year tenure in the USA. "It’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face." Depsite our party differences, we should concentrate on the state of our democracy, says Obama. "Our youth and drive, our diversity and openness, our boundless capacity for risk and reinvention mean that the future should be ours."

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    "The long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all."

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    "Our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard…contentious and sometimes bloody," Obama says.

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    "For 240 years, our nation’s call to citizenship has given work and purpose to each new generation. A great gift our Founders gave us. The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat, toil, and imagination."

  • 07:38 (IST)

    Obama says

    "I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it. It’s the insistence that...We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union."

  • 07:36 (IST)

    My fellow Americans, Obama begins his farewell speech

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    Obama in Chicago

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    In less than a minute, Barack Obama to address the Americans for the last time as their president

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    Vice-President Joe Biden reflecting on the last 8 years serving the American people alongside President Obama

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  • here ">

    07:10 (IST)

    Eight years ago, Obama gave hope and promised change to Americans. Watch the victory speech video from 2008 here

  • 07:08 (IST)

    Behind the lens: Barack Obama's eight glorious years in photographs

    For the eighth and final time, I am presenting my annual year in photographs, Barack Obama wrote. 

    "All of them were taken either by me or a White House photographer on my staff. For many of the images, I’ve included the backstory behind the image to provide further context or to share why that image was particularly important to me. As always, the editing for this project is both subjective and personal. Yes, there are some historic moments included but mostly I was looking for behind-the-scenes moments that give people a more personal look at the President and First Lady. And I’ve included a few that I thought were just cool photos."

    See the slideshow here

  • 07:08 (IST)

    Behind the lens: Barack Obama's eight glorious years in photographs

    For the eighth and final time, I am presenting my annual year in photographs, Barack Obama wrote. 

    "All of them were taken either by me or a White House photographer on my staff. For many of the images, I’ve included the backstory behind the image to provide further context or to share why that image was particularly important to me. As always, the editing for this project is both subjective and personal. Yes, there are some historic moments included but mostly I was looking for behind-the-scenes moments that give people a more personal look at the President and First Lady. And I’ve included a few that I thought were just cool photos."

    See the slideshow here

  • 06:58 (IST)

    A Look Back at Eight Years Through Letters to the President

    "Every day I’m lucky to receive thousands of acts of hope — every time somebody sits down and picks up a pen, and writes to me and shares their story…I want you all to know that I’m listening,” said President Obama.

    People reached out to share their stories, their concerns, and their hopes for themselves and for America. It would be impossible to fully capture the breadth, depth, and vibrancy of the mail that has reached 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue throughout President Obama’s time in office. 

  • Read their letters here ">

    06:56 (IST)

    3 Americans read their letters to President Obama on faith, hope, and progress

    For Patrick, a registered Republican in Massachusetts, it gave him a chance to choose hope over cynicism. For Aleena in Maryland, it’s meant tolerance and acceptance of her faith. And for Katy in Rhode Island, it’s meant stepping into adulthood with the peace of mind that comes with health care coverage.

    Read their letters here

  • 06:53 (IST)

    President Obama live on Facebook

    For Michelle and me, Chicago is where it all started. It’s the city that showed us the power and fundamental goodness of the American people.

  • 06:51 (IST)

    Obama presidency - In review

    Countless words have been written, spoken, printed, posted, and tweeted about the Obama presidency and the digital age. Certainly, President Obama is the first “social media president”: the first to have @POTUS on Twitter, the first to go live on Facebook from the Oval Office, the first to answer questions from citizens on YouTube, the first to use a filter on Snapchat. Over the past eight years, the President, Vice President, First Lady, and the White House have used social media and technology to engage with people around the country and the world on the most important issues of our time.

    Here are a few of our favorites from the past eight years

  • 06:47 (IST)

    White House tweets

  • 06:45 (IST)

    President Obama's Reflections Ahead of His Farewell Address

Barack Obama closes the book on his presidency Tuesday, with a farewell speech in Chicago that will try to lift supporters felled by Donald Trump's shock victory. Obama's last trip on Air Force One will be a pilgrimage to his adoptive hometown, where he will address a sell-out crowd not far from where he accepted the presidency eight years ago.

Diehard fans — many African Americans — have braved Chicago's frigid winter to collect free tickets, which now sell for upwards of $1,000 a piece on Craigslist. The First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden will come along on for the ride.

Obama's cross-country trek would be a sentimental trip down memory lane, were it not slap-bang in the middle of a tumultuous presidential handover. Trump has smashed conventions, vowed to efface Obama's legacy and hurled personal insults left and right.

The 2016 election campaign has raised serious questions about the resilience of US democracy. In a virtually unprecedented move, US intelligence has accused the Kremlin of tipping the electoral scales in Trump's favor.

Democrats, cast into the political wilderness with the loss of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives plus a majority of statehouses, are struggling to regroup. With an approval rating hovering around 55 percent, Obama will hope to steel them for new battles ahead.

President Barack Obama. AP

President Barack Obama. AP

Lead speechwriter Cody Keenan said the address will be about Obama's vision for where the country should still go.

"It's not going to be like an anti-Trump speech, it's not going to be a red meat, rabble rousing thing, it will be statesman-like but it will also be true to him," Keenan told AFP. "It will tell a story."

Life after White House

Trump's unorthodox politics has thrown 55-year-old Obama's transition and post-presidency plans into flux. Obama, having vowed a smooth handover of power, finds himself being increasingly critical of Trump as he prepares to leave office on 20 January.

After that there will still be a holiday and an autobiography, but Obama could find himself being dragged backed into the political fray if Trump were to enact a Muslim registry or deport adults brought to the United States years ago by their parents.

Having vowed to take a backseat in politics, Obama's second act could yet be as politically engaged as Jimmy Carter — whose post-presidency has remade his image as an elder statesman.

Many Obama aides who had planned to take exotic holidays or launch coffer-replenishing forays into the private sector are also reassessing their future and mulling a return to the political trenches.

Obama's foundation is already gearing up for a quasi-political role — funneling idealistic youngsters into public life.

Presidential precedent

Presidents since George Washington have delivered a farewell address of sorts.

Washington's final 7,641-word message — which is still read once a year in the Senate by tradition — contained warnings about factionalism and interference by foreign powers that seem oddly prescient.

But speechwriter Keenan sees few obvious templates: "Bush and Clinton did theirs from here (the White House), George HW Bush went to West Point, gave a foreign policy speech," he told AFP. "They are all totally different."

The trip to Chicago is not just for nostalgia, Keenan indicated.

"The thread that has run though his career from his days as community organiser to the Oval Office is the idea that if you get ordinary people together and get them educated, get them empowered, get them to act on something, that's when good things happen," he said.

"For him, as someone who started as a community organizer, whose campaign was powered by young people, ordinary people, we decided we wanted to go back to Chicago."

"Chicago is not just his hometown, it's where his career started."

And now it is also where Obama's presidential career will effectively end.


Updated Date: Jan 11, 2017 09:04 AM

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