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  1. US President Barack Obama’s farewell speech: From Muslims, Donald Trump to ‘Yes we can’; 10 key takeaways

US President Barack Obama’s farewell speech: From Muslims, Donald Trump to ‘Yes we can’; 10 key takeaways

President Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation Tuesday night in an emotional speech that sought to comfort and encourage a country on edge over economic changes, persistent security threats and the election of Donald Trump.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: January 11, 2017 9:58 AM
 President Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation Tuesday night in an emotional speech that sought to comfort and encourage a country on edge over economic changes, persistent security threats and the election of Donald Trump. (Reuters image) President Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation Tuesday night in an emotional speech that sought to comfort and encourage a country on edge over economic changes, persistent security threats and the election of Donald Trump. (Reuters image)

US President Barack Obama’s farewell speech: President Barack Obama bid farewell to the nation on Wednesday in an emotional speech that sought to comfort and encourage a country on edge over economic changes, persistent security threats and the election of Donald Trump. Obama’s valedictory speech in his hometown of Chicago was a public meditation on the trials and triumphs, promises kept and promises broken that made up his eight years in the White House. The Democratic president was feeling some nostalgia as he prepares to leave the White House on January 20 after eight years in office.

Here is key highlights of Barack Obama’s farewell speech

1. With a final shout of his campaign mantra “Yes We Can,” President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to stand up for US values and reject discrimination as the country transitions to the presidency of Republican Donald Trump. In an emotional speech in which he thanked his family and declared his time as president the honor of his life, Obama gently prodded the public to embrace his vision of progress while repudiating some of the policies that Trump promoted during his campaign for the White House.

2. “So just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are,” Obama told a crowd of 18,000 in his hometown of Chicago, where he celebrated his historic 2008 election as the first black US president.

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3. “I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans,” he said in a clear reference to Trump, drawing applause. “If anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we’ve made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I will publicly support it,” he said in another prodding challenge to his successor. Trump has urged the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the law right away.

4. Obama, who came to office amid high expectations that his election would heal historic racial divides, acknowledged that was an impossible goal. “After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America,” he said. “Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.”

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5. He made no mention of Republican Donald Trump, who will replace him in just 10 days. But when he noted the imminence of that change and the crowd began booing, he responded, “No, no, no, no, no.” One of the nation’s great strengths, he said, “is the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.” Earlier, as the crowd of thousands chanted, “Four more years,” he simply smiled and said, “I can’t do that.”

6. Conceding disappointments during his presidency yet offering vigorous encouragement for the nation’s future, Barack Obama issued an emotional defense Tuesday night of his vision to Americans facing a moment of anxiety and a dramatic change in leadership. Obama’s valedictory speech in his hometown of Chicago was a public meditation on the trials and triumphs, promises kept and promises broken that made up his eight years in the White House.

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7. Arguing his faith in America had been confirmed, Obama said he ends his tenure inspired by America’s “boundless capacity” for reinvention, and he declared: “The future should be ours.”

8. His delivery was forceful for most of his speech, but by the end he was wiping away tears as the crowd embraced him one last time. Reflecting on the corrosive recent political campaign, he said, “That potential will be realized only if our democracy works. Only if our politics reflects the decency of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of our party affiliation or particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we so badly need right now.”

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9. Brushing away tears with a handkerchief, Obama paid tribute to the sacrifices made by his wife _ and by his daughters, who were young girls when they entered the big white home on Pennsylvania Avenue and leave as young women. He praised first lady Michelle Obama for taking on her role “with grace and grit and style and good humor” and for making the White House “a place that belongs to everybody.”

10. The Chicago visit is his last scheduled trip as president, and even the final flight on the presidential aircraft was tinged with wistfulness. It was Obama’s 445th “mission” on Air Force One, a perk he has said he will miss when he leaves office, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

(With agency inputs)

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