Popular but politically humbled, President Barack Obama says goodbye to the nation Tuesday night in a dramatic reinterpretation of a presidential farewell address.
Hoping to capitalize on a well of goodwill that's expanded in the final year of his tenure, Obama has discarded the staid Oval Office or East Room for his last formal set of remarks. Instead, he'll travel to Chicago, the city where he declared victory in 2008 and 2012, to address a sold-out crowd of ardent supporters.
The moment, conceived months ago, is meant to recall the most iconic moments of Obama's historic tenure, ones rooted in the "hope and change" message that carried the first African-American to the White House.
As he departs office leaving scores of progressive policies in place, there's ample evidence of change. But for his backers, the "hope" aspect of that original mantra is diminished by the prospects of Donald Trump's presidency. On Tuesday, Obama aims to revive the spirits of progressives who he'd hoped to rally behind Hillary Clinton. Though his speech won't be policy-oriented or carry any direct contrasts with Trump, his message will offer a "hopeful" vision for the future, according to administration officials.
Obama in his speech wants to cast a "forward-looking" vision for a country, those officials say, insisting his message won't be directed solely at his successor. Planned declarations that the nation benefits from diversity and fairness, however, will surely be regarded as admonitions to the future commander in chief.
The President and his daughters watch on television as the first lady gives a speech at the Democratic National Convention in September 2012. President Obama greets his wife and daughters after being sworn in for his second term in January 2013. The first daughters take a selfie of themselves during the presidential inaugural parade on January 21, 2013, in Washington. Malia was 14 and Sasha 11 at the time of their father's second inaugural. Obama, with Sasha,
center, and Malia, pays for a purchase at the Politics & Prose bookstore in northwest Washington in November 2013.
The first lady and her daughters receive an escort from Patrick Prendergast, provost and president of Trinity College Dublin, during their June 2013 visit to Ireland. Obama and Sasha make burritos at DC Central Kitchen as part of a service project on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January 2014. Michelle Obama shares a light moment with her daughters as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in March 2014.
The Obamas head to Marine One as they leave the White House for a wedding in August 2014.
The first family takes the stage during a taping of the "Christmas in Washington" program in December 2014. Sasha, left, and Malia join their dad as he delivers remarks for the turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House in November 2015. Malia and Sasha Obama, grandmother Marian Robinson, the first lady and President attend the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse south of the White House in December 2015. Malia attends a state dinner at the White House in March 2016. The dinner was in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and first lady Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau.
Sasha attends the Trudeau state dinner in March 2016. Obama and the first lady head to the tarmac to board Air Force One with their daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, left, at Air Station Cape Cod in Massachusetts in August 2016. Barack Obama, then a Democratic presidential hopeful, addresses voters at a January 2008 rally in Des Moines, Iowa, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha, then 9 and 6, respectively. Obama takes the oath of office with his family by his side on January 20, 2009, at the US Capitol. Sasha is at far right, next to Malia. Sasha and Malia play with Bo as they wait for their dad's helicopter to land at the White House in September 2009. Sasha looks at a turkey named Courage during a Thanksgiving tradition to "pardon" a turkey in November 2009.
Malia and Sasha read a book to children during a visit to a hospital in Washington in December 2009.
With an assist from his wife and daughters, Obama presses the button to light the National Christmas Tree on December 2009 at the Ellipse near the White House.
Sasha and her mother serve meals to the needy in Washington in January 2010. The President and Malia also helped in the dining room. President Obama and Sasha watch a WNBA game in Washington in August 2010.
The first lady and her daughters read to children as they visit a community center in Johannesburg in June 2011.
The first family greets children dressed as elves at a museum in Washington in December 2011.