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Rivals like Russia or China can’t match our influence around the world, says Barack Obama in his farewell speech

India TV News Desk Chicago 11 Jan 2017, 12:33:39 IST
India TV News Desk

Outgoing President Barack Obama today ‘goodbye to the US citizens in a dramatic reinterpretation of a presidential farewell address’ in Chicago -- the same city where his political career began.

"I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties, still trying to figure out who I was; still searching for a purpose to my life. This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it," Obama said. 

Obama, the first President born outside the United States, said that he received a lot of messages and it was his “turn to say thanks”. 

While noting that he America was a better place now, Obama told his supporters that they made him a better President. 

"After eight years as your President, I still believe that, and it's not just my belief. It's the beating heart of our American idea -- our bold experiment in self-government," he said and promised a smooth transition of power to his successor Donald Trump. 

Instead of the Oval Office or East Room for his last formal set of remarks, Obama chose Chicago -- the city where he declared victory in 2008 and 2012 -- to address a sold-out crowd of supporters. Earlier, he wrote on Facebook that he was returning to the city "where it all started."

Highlights: 

My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you: Obama 

* To every American who lived & breathed the hard work of change—you are the best supporters and organizers anyone could hope for: Obama 

* Not just because you (Biden) have been a great Vice President, but because in the bargain, I gained a brother: Barack Obama 

* A new generation sets its sights higher because it has you (Michelle) as a role model: Obama 

* If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life. More often than not, your faith in America – and in Americans – will be confirmed: President Obama 

* For all our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud title…Citizen. Our democracy...needs you. Not just when there’s an election...but over the full span of a lifetime: Obama 

* When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes. America is no fragile thing. But the gains of our long journey to freedom are not assured: Obama 

* Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions: Obama  

* The global coalition we are leading against ISIS has taken out their leaders, and taken away about half their territory: Obama 

* No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years: Barack Obama

* So let's be vigilant, but not afraid. ISIL will try to kill innocent people. But they cannot defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in the fight: Obama 

Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence around the world - unless we give up what we stand for, and turn ourselves into just another big country that bullies smaller neighbors: Obama

To simply deny the problem not only betrays future generations; it betrays the essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that guided our founders

* Going forward, we must uphold laws against discrimination – in hiring, in housing, in education and the criminal justice system: Obama 

* Last year, incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and for women: President Obama 

* If we are unwilling to invest in the children of immigrants...we diminish the prospects of our own children: Obama

* 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: Obama 
 
* Our democracy won’t work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society: Obama 

* It’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face: Obama

* You answered people’s hopes, and because of you…America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started: President Obama 

* Our progress has been uneven. The work of democracy has always been hard…contentious and sometimes bloody: Obama 

* For 240 years our nation’s call for citizenship has given work and purpose to each generation. We the people through the instrument of our democracy can form a more perfect union: Barack Obama

'I can’t do that!' says Obama as the crowd stops him and chants of four more years.

* My fellow Americans, Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well-wishes that we’ve received over the last few weeks. Tonight it’s my turn to say thanks, whether we’ve seen eye to eye or rarely agreed at all

* They have kept me honest, they have kept me inspired, they kept me going. Every day I have learn from you. You made a better President. You made a better man: Obama