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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

CHICAGO (Reuters) – With a final call of his campaign mantra “Yes We Can,” President Barack Obama urged Americans on Tuesday to stand up for U.S. values and reject discrimination as the United States transitions to the presidency of Republican Donald Trump.

In an emotional speech in which he thanked his family and declared his time as president the honor of his life, Obama gently prodded the public to embrace his vision of progress while repudiating some of the policies that Trump promoted during his campaign for the White House.

“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 told a crowd of 18,000 in his hometown of Chicago, where he celebrated his election in 2008 as the first black president of the United States.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, proposed temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country, building a wall on the border with Mexico, upending a global deal to fight climate change and dismantling Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Obama made clear his opposition to those positions during fiery campaign speeches for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, but has struck a more conciliatory tone with Trump since the election.

In his farewell speech, he made clear his positions had not changed and he said his efforts to end the use of torture and close the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were part of a broader move to uphold U.S. values.

“That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans,” he said in a clear reference to Trump that drew applause.

He said bold action was needed to fight global warming and said “science and reason” mattered.

“If anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our healthcare system, that covers as many people at less cost, I will publicly support it,” he said in another prodding challenge to his successor.

Trump has urged the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the law right away.


Obama, who came to office amid high expectations that his election would heal historic racial divides, acknowledged that was an impossible goal.

“After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America,” he said. “Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.”

However, Obama said he remained hopeful about the work that a younger generation would do. “Yes we can,” he said. “Yes we did.”

In an indirect reference to the political work the Democratic Party will have to do to recover after Clinton’s loss, Obama urged racial minorities to seek justice not only for themselves but also for “the middle-aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change.”

Trump won his election in part by appealing to working-class white men.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, his wife Jill Biden, and many current and former White House staff members and campaign workers attended the speech. Obama wiped his eyes as he addressed his wife and thanked his running mate. They all appeared together on stage after the address.

The Chicago visit is Obama’s last scheduled trip as president, and even the final flight on the presidential aircraft was tinged with wistfulness.

It was the president’s 445th “mission” on Air Force One, a perk he has said he will miss when he leaves office, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

All told, Obama will have spent more than 2,800 hours or 116 days on the plane during his presidency.

Obama plans to remain in Washington for the next two years while his younger daughter, Sasha, finishes high school. Sasha, who has an exam on Wednesday, did not attend the speech but her older sister Malia was there.

The president has indicated he wants to give Trump the same space that his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, gave Obama after leaving office by not maintaining a high public profile.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton and Eric Beech; Editing by Peter Cooney, Richard Borsuk and Paul Tait)

IMAGE: President Barack Obama (R) is joined onstage by first lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia, after his farewell address in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Copyright 2017 The National Memo

43 Responses to Yes We Can: Obama Defends American Values In Emotional Farewell

    • Your comment just shows what a classless and negative person you are. Trolls like yourself never have anything of value to offer.

        • No not self righteous standards, you just show yourself to be ignorant, classless and not the least bit interesting. That’s all.

          • That’s the typical whine I see from all of you juvenile trolls. You can write anything you want to even stupid comments like you write . I will just reply to your juvenile little thoughts.

          • Ooh getting a little touchy aren’t you. Well juvenile little twits like you can never carry on a mature dialogue. You always resort to name calling because you have nothing worthwhile to say.

          • What part of my statement bothers you so much? That Obama is leaving, your lying cheater didn’t get elected, Chicago is a he!! hole…I mean, what is it?

          • Calm little boy, no need to get so upset. Your original comment in total was unnecessary and showed you to be a mean spirited troll with nothing to offer. As for liars Trump has proven himself to be a liar even when he doesn’t have to be.

          • Typical name calling troll, can’t argue with facts so you resort to some low level name calling. As I said before your original comment was unnecessary, classless and of no value.

          • I see you vacillate between being a little whiney child – “What part of my statement bothers you so much?” to tough guy troll. Once again your original comment offered nothing of value, you just had to write some smug, petulant comment about President Obama’s speech. That is all you ever do write some childish insignificant comment, never are you constructive.

          • I see you are a typical liberal empty minded hypocrite. Glad we voted you liberal losers out. MAGA !!

          • Your razor-like wit is way too sharp for me to duel with. Not really you are just the run of the mill right wing troll, like on information or proof just a lot of blather. I don’t know where you live but in my lifetime America has always been great but then again you trolls live in your own little bubble world.

          • It would really be refreshing if you could come up with an original idea instead of just passing on the usual right wing tripe. The 1st part of of your 1st sentence is totally correct and you should have stopped there. Well at least you are whining like a little child.

          • We winners are not whining. My God man, you had you shirt handed to you and you are in complete denial. Keep it up, so you keep losing – you libs keep doubling down !!

          • Sure you are a whiner – “What part of my statement bothers you so much?” or “You called me a troll first”. That’s just 2 examples of your whining like the little child you are. Your comment of having my “shirt” handed to me is meaningless, it’s just another example of your troll babble. Trump did win the Electoral College but lost the popular vote by close to 3 “million” votes.

          • Popular vote doesn’t matter, and you know it (or should know it). Kick the talking point, you libs got your a$$ handed to you across the nation.

          • Read my comment twit, I stated that Trump won the Electoral College. However many trolls like you have claimed that the election showed that Democratic Party policies were rejected. Since the people of this country voted more for the Democratic Party candidate – 65,844,610 to the Republican candidate – 62,979,636. So tell me how the people voted to reject the Democratic Party policies. Trump will be the president next week but the Electoral College favors the smaller populated states at the expense of the largest populated states. Small states get at least 3 EC votes – 2 for their Senators and 1 for the House of Representatives. There can only be 435 H of R districts by law so a state like California get only 53 H of R members but should based on its % of total US population while Wyoming has 1 H of R even though its % of total population doesn’t warrant one.

          • I’d argue that being rejected is better than being a low info, Trump-news parrot with zero useful information to offer.
            Just lies, crowing about one of the narrowest victories in American politics, and mentally jerking himself off on generating disagreement. So classy!

            Sad troll. Go find someone to give you a hug.

            Don’t worry, President-Elect Loser will self-destruct. He can’t help it.

            I recommend you enjoy the hell out of your “win”, and your desperate frotting over finally having your favorite racist fantasies “validated” by a “landslide”…. because it’s going to be:
            1) Brief.
            2) End in a massively embarrassing corrupt legally actionable mess as Cheeto Jesus continues to act like Putin doesn’t own him, and like he’s really really not going to make any decisions to personally enrich himself… LOL

            So… Tell us again how much you “won” by? :O

            (Don’t worry… it doesn’t make you look like a desperate loser at all…. *v* )

          • “MAGA” sounds a lot like you’re gagging on your own stupidity… and yes that does make me feel immensely better.

            Sorry… were you going to tell me how much you “won” by again?
            I was all excited…

          • By 74 electoral votes, that’s how much (it’s real easy to find, just Google it). Dumb loser liberals.

    • Alas not yours.
      Also a great trivia question.

      Plus didn’t you hear?
      Trump is already taking credit for the state of the USA and the events happening in it before even being inaugurated… so according to F**kface Von Clownstick’s own words those homicides are Trump’s fault.

      Thanks Trump!

      • Trump has taken credit for things that have happened as a result of, and since, his election. Chicago has been a murderous cesspool for eight years. Nice try though.

        • Your specific point was, and I quote:
          “How many homicides took place in Chicago during his (Obama’s) farewell speech?”
          I’m not entirely certain, but wasn’t this exact time period “…since, his (Trump’s) election.”??

          Apparently critical thinking isn’t your strong suit.
          Not unexpected given your growing record of irrational drivel.
          I assume you’re a sockpuppet for one of the regular troll names that has recently been silent.

          I’ll look into it.

  1. Great, speech from a great man, I have a feeling he is the last of the honorable men to hold a high ranking position. Thank You to the Obamas, you will be greatly missed. We love you.

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