Here Are the Very Best Bits from President Obama’s Emotional Farewell Speech

“Reality has a way of catching up with you.”


President Barack Obama gave his farewell address on Tuesday night from McCormick Place, a huge convention center in Chicago.

News cameras captured images of the jubilant, 20,000-strong crowd crying and waving smartphones throughout Obama’s speech. “Four more years!” they chanted. (“I can’t do that,” Obama joked.)

The speech capped a turbulent day in the political life of the country, which began with sometimes-fractious confirmation hearings of attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions, and ended with news that intelligence officials told president-elect Donald Trump that Russia might be keeping a compromising dossier on him.

And Obama didn’t waste any time mentioning the upcoming inauguration. “In ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next,” he said. “I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.”

He didn’t mention Trump again.

Obama argued he was now leaving the country in better shape than when he took office in 2008—a big applause line came when he spoke about securing “the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens”—while warning that “there are no quick fixes” to some of the country’s most entrenched problems.

Watch some of the best bits from Obama’s final speech above.

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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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