Obama to Make Farewell Speech Next Week

Cites George Washington’s precedent in saying goodbye to American people

President Barack Obama greets people at a Hillary Clinton campaign rally at the University of Central Florida in October. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)
President Barack Obama greets people at a Hillary Clinton campaign rally at the University of Central Florida in October. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)
Posted January 2, 2017 at 10:18am

President Barack Obama will say goodbye to the American people from his hometown of Chicago next Tuesday.

The 44th president cited the first, George Washington, noting he will be following in the Revolutionary War general’s footsteps by delivering a farewell address. The White House did not announce a specific time for the speech, which will come 10 days before Donald Trump, is sworn in.

[White House Watch: No Chance for a Smooth Transition]

Obama, in a statement, did not specifically lay out what he intends to tell the country, saying he was “just beginning to write my remarks.”

“But I’m thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here,” the outgoing president said.

Obama added that he believes the country is “stronger” than when he took office.

[Trump Blasts Obama, Says Smooth Transition Not Possible]

“That’s because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better,” he said. “So I hope you’ll join me one last time.  Because, for me, it’s always been about you.”

Obama is on track to leave office with an approval rating higher than many expected even a year ago. Fifty-five percent of those polled in Gallup’s most recent poll approve of Obama’s performance. 

In late December of his second term, George W. Bush’s approval rating was 31 percent. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both had approval ratings even higher (63 percent for each) than Obama’s at that point in their tenures.