Everything you missed from Obama's emotional farewell speech as president

With 10 days to go before the US gets a new commander-in-chief, Barack Obama has given his farewell speech to the country. Here are all the key parts from his moving speech in his hometown of Chicago.

On hope

(Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Even though it was a tearful farewell, Obama returned to the theme of his 2008 campaign: hope.

Arguing his faith in America had been confirmed, he said he ended his tenure inspired by its “boundless capacity” for reinvention, declaring: “The future should be ours.”

Protecting America’s way of life, he said, was the job of citizens as well as the military, adding: “Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear.”

On his successor

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Obama only made passing reference to Donald Trump, pledging that his administration would “ensure the smoothest possible transition” just as his predecessor George W Bush did for him, and the nation’s politics needed to reflect “the decency” of the American people.

When Obama noted how soon the change was going to happen and the crowd began booing, he responded, “No, no, no, no, no”, saying one of the nation’s great strengths “is the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next”.

Even though Trump was only fleetingly mentioned by name, much of what Obama said seemed to be a response to his successor’s vision for America. He lamented politicians who questioned climate change, warned of the threat of fake “news” and urged people to get out of their “bubbles” and fight for unity.

On inequality

The president acknowledged the “stark inequality” that was damaging America’s democratic principles, in a nod to the economic uncertainty that helped pave Trump’s way to the White House.

He said too many inner city and rural families had been left behind, convinced the “game is fixed against them” and the government serves only powerful interests.

On race

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Obama said that race relations in America were indeed better than they were 10, 20, or 30 years ago: “But we’re not where we need to be. And all of us have more work to do.”

On immigration

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Referring to Trump’s calls for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration, Obama rejected discrimination against Muslim Americans who are “just as patriotic as we are”.

On his family

(Nam Y. Huh/AP)

Obama took the opportunity to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by his wife and daughters throughout his tenure as president.

He praised his wife for taking on her role “with grace and grit and style and good humour” and for making the White House “a place that belongs to everybody”.

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Obama’s speech was greeted with chants of “Four more years”, to which he simply smiled and said: “I can’t do that.”

After returning to Washington, he will have less than two weeks before Trump takes on the mantle. Obama then plans to take some time off, write a book, and immerse himself in a Democratic re-districting campaign.


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