(VIDEO) Barack Obama's farewell speech as president
Popular but politically humbled, President Barack Obama said goodbye to the nation Tuesday night, declaring during his farewell address that he hasn't abandoned his vision of progressive change but warning that it now comes with a new set of caveats.
The President begins by thanking the American people - they have "kept him honest, inspired and kept him going". He then looks back at when he first came to Chicago.
"Every day, I learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man," Barack Obama added.
His voice at moments catching with emotion, Obama recounted a presidency that saw setbacks as well as successes. Admitting candidly that political discourse has soured under his watch, Obama demanded that Americans renew efforts at reconciliation.
"It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy," the President said. "To embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours."
In a concession that, for now, his brand of progressive politics is stalled in Washington, Obama admitted "for every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back."
Mr Obama made only passing reference to the next president. When he noted he would soon be replaced by the Republican, his crowd began to boo.
"No, no, no, no, no," Obama said. One of the nation's great strengths, he said, "is the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next.
He implored his backers to be vigilant in protecting basic American values he warned could come under siege.
"Democracy can buckle when we give in to fear," he said. "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."
He became urgent, a tear in his eye, as he talked of needing to "guard against a weakening of the values that make us who we are".
Brushing away tears with a handkerchief, Mr 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 humour" and for making the White House "a place that belongs to everybody."
As he prepared to step away from the stage one final time he seemed to be passing on the stewardship of America not to Mr Trump, but to the nation's people.
"It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy," he said. "Because for all our outward differences, we all share the same proud title: Citizen."
"Ultimately, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you."
The president concluded by saying he remained hopeful about the work that a younger generation would do. "Yes we can," he said. "Yes we did."
Source: The Telegraph