Barack Obama final speech to press: ‘I am worried about inequality; we got more work to do on race’

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New Delhi | Updated: January 19, 2017 4:32:39 AM

President Obama delivered the final press conference of his presidency today and touched upon a number of issues including Donald Trump, Russia and more.

US President Barack Obama is expected to explain the reasons behind many of his top decisions that affected America. (AP)US President Barack Obama is expected to explain the reasons behind many of his top decisions that affected America. (AP)

President Barack Obama’s second term is coming to an end and president-elect Donald Trump is all set to take over from him on the 20th of the month. Today, President Obama will be giving his final press conference of his presidency that has been marked by a number of highs and a few lows from the social, health, security to the economic sphere. While Donald Trump  has dubbed most of the 8 years of the Obama admin as detrimental to the US interests, or at least not increasing the power of the only superpower on the planet to its potential, others point to the fact that he was the glue that was required to further cement the country together as well as ensure its global image did not deteriorate after the Bush years. Obama is expected to explain the reasons behind many of his top decisions that affected America. According to reports, authorities are expecting some 800,000 to 900,000 people. That may sound like a lot, but to put things in perspective, Barack Obama’s first inauguration had as many as 1.8 million attendees. The speech is expected to start after 12:30 pm (IST) Thursday (tonight):

Stay tuned for the live updates of President Barack Obama’s last press conference at the White House.

02:00 AM: Watch This:

01:37 AM: Shift in Cuba policy meant ‘wet foot dry foot’ immigration policy for Cubans was a carryover of the old way of thinking that didn’t make sense anymore.

01:35 AM: I continue to be worried about Israeli-Palestinian issue because the status quo is unsustainable, bad for both countries, the region and national security.

01:32 AM: According to AP, Obama is avoiding a question on whether he supports about 50 House Democrats planning to boycott Trump’s inauguration. He says he’ll be there along with outgoing first lady Michelle Obama.

01:25 AM: Don’t think the expansion of LGBT rights in the U.S. is reversible. Society’s attitudes have changed too much to turn back the clock. More work to do on subject, but acceptance by young people has made a difference. Could not be prouder of country’s transformation on these issues, most of it coming during my tenure as president. Credit for this goes to individuals and couples who were courageous in saying ‘this is who I am and I’m proud of it.’ That opened people’s minds and hearts and the legal system eventually caught up.

01:20 AM: Had cordial talks with President-elect Donald Trump but I am under no illusions that we share many policy goals. Trump won the election. It’s appropriate for him to go forward with his vision and values. I think a lot of Trump’s views will be shaped by advisers. Important to pay attention to confirmation hearings.

01:17 AM: Watch This:

01:15 AM: When I said that ‘I will be back’, I did not mean I was going to be running for any office. I will be writing a lot more. I will spend more time with my girls. However, I am still a citizen. I will still debate tax, air pollution and such things. If our core values are at stake, like right to vote, it would merit me speaking out.

01:03 AM: Russia has been unwilling to negotiate at all on preserving Ukraine as a free country. US has to be on the right side of issues/values – Russia, China will not uphold basic human values or those of other countries.

01:02 AM: Reason for sanctions was not Nukes. But ukraine’s sovereignty encroached on. This war also the world’s view to. I told Russia as soon as you stop that sanctions will be lifted.

01:01 AM: On Sanctions on Russia to be lifted by Donald Trump: First it is in US interest to have constructive relationship with Russia. Since, Putin came back to presidency anti-US rhetoric increased. It returned relationship to cold war era.

01:00 AM: In this new cyber age, have to find right balance of accountability and recognize bad actors who want to to use it to hurt us from terror to those who want to fool with our elections.

00:59 AM: Manning’s sentence war disproportionate.

00:58 AM: The Process was carried out. It made sense to commute her sentence. Justice has been served.

00:57 AM: Hope you keep working with the same tenacity to force those in power to stay in line.

00:56 AM: Chelsca Manning has served a tough prison sentence; nationa that he went unpunished is not right impression.

00:55 AM: Free press is essential. That is how this government has towards. You are the conduit through which we receive information that heads to progress.

00:54 AM: Sorely tempted to wear tan suit today but Michelle spiked that idea, says Barack Obama.

00:54 AM: Barack Obama starts press conference.

00.45 AM: As soon as the Trump inauguration is over, President Barack Obama, wife Michelle and both the daughters travel to Palm Springs in California for a vacation.

00.21 AM: As far as US relations with India is concerned, Barack Obama, Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi got on well. According to Obama admin improving relations with India served the US’ economic interest and national security interest. Obama visited India on 2 occasions.

00.15 AM: US relationship with Pakistan, which was crucial to India’s interests, was reportedly quite a complicated affair, according to Obama administration. However, despite Pakistan rarely obeying what US ordered it to do, the relationship stayed on an even keel. And that was the case even though US violated Pakistan sovereignty when its marines flew into Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden.

11. 45 PM: Trump inauguration is on the 20th of January and hundreds of people from all over the US are heading for the swearing-in ceremony. The event is themed ‘Make America Great Again’, which is the slogan which won him the election – Hillary Clinton had, on the other hand, said that ‘America is already great’. Which did not seem to please the electorate too much. US President-elect Donald Trump will be the 45th US President.

11.00 PM: Barack Obama will leave office with an approval rating that is the highest since he first joined. A new poll held by CNN/ORC has termed his presidency as a success, with the majority being of the view that they will miss him- the rating stands at 60 per cent, which is the best since June of Obama’s first year in office.

11: 15 PM: Obama surprised everyone by commuting the 35-year prison term of a transgender soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of ‘spying’ and taking 750,000 pages of documents and videos. These then found their way to whistle-blower site WikiLeaks.

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