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President Obama Bids Farewell to Nation Tonight in Chicago Speech

  • VOA Staff

President Barack Obama steps off Air Force One during his arrival at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver what the White House describes as "a forward looking" farewell address tonight to the American people.

"We've run our leg in a long relay of progress, knowing that our work will always be unfinished," Obama wrote Tuesday in a Facebook post previewing his speech. "And we've reaffirmed the belief that we can make a difference with our own hands, in our own time."

The speech will recap Obama's accomplishments over the past eight years in office. It also is intended to “motivate people to want to get involved and fight for their democracy,” White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett told reporters Monday.

People brave the cold temperatures in hopes of getting a ticket to attend President Barack Obama's farewell speech in Chicago, Jan. 7, 2017.
People brave the cold temperatures in hopes of getting a ticket to attend President Barack Obama's farewell speech in Chicago, Jan. 7, 2017.

"The president is not one to be overly sentimental, but given the circumstances, I think it would be unrealistic to expect anybody to not feel some nostalgia for this moment," his spokesman, Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with Obama.

The address will be delivered at 9 p.m. ET at McCormick Place, the lakefront convention center in Chicago, Obama’s adopted hometown.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the speech will be shorter than a State of the Union speech, which averaged 63 minutes during Obama’s presidency.

The inauguration for President-elect Donald Trump will be held January 20, at which time he officially becomes the 45th president of the U.S.

Aides say President Obama is heavily involved in writing his farewell speech, and he may continue to refine it up to moments before he takes the stage.

Obama’s trip to Chicago is scheduled to be his last one outside Washington as president, and the final time he will fly on Air Force One.

Air Force One lands with U.S. President Barack Obama and his family at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Jan. 2, 2017.
Air Force One lands with U.S. President Barack Obama and his family at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Jan. 2, 2017.

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