President Obama's Farewell Speech BBC News Special


President Obama's Farewell Speech

Live coverage as President Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago.


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Transcript


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I'm Laura Trevelyan, here in the city where Barack Obama,

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President of the United States for eight years, will shortly

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He's returned to the city where he launched his political

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career and he will make a parting plea to Americans not to lose faith

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in their future, no matter what they think about their next

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This is where he met his wife, Michelle, who will be at his side

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tonight, and in 2008 he made a victory speech in Chicago. It is a

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very important city to him, which is why he has chosen to come here. This

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is a speech he has been poring over, thinking about since long before

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that more election campaign. This is a speech that his aides say is going

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be beyond politics. His supporters tonight, thousands of loyal

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supporters, have queued up in the cold to get their free tickets that

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were given out. They are here tonight, wanting to hear from him, a

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way ahead. For those who did not vote for Donald Trump, this is an

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anxious moment. They are seeking reassurance from the man they have

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seen in the White House for the last eight years. President Obama's aides

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said the speech is not just for his supporters, but for all Americans.

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Barack Obama is now taking to the stage in Chicago, let's listen in to

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his message to the American people. Hello, Chicago! It's great to be

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home! Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Thank you.

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Thank you so much, thank you, thank you. Thank you. It's good to be

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home. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All right. Where are my TV,

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I've got to move! -- We're on live TV.

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You can tell that I'm... You can tell that I'm a lame duck because

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nobody is following instructions. Everybody has a seat. -- have. My

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fellow Americans. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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Michelle and I have been so touched by all the well wishes that we've

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received over the past few weeks. But tonight, tonight it's my turn to

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say thanks. Whether we have seen eye to eye, or rarely agreed at all, my

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conversations with you, the American people, in living rooms and in

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schools, in farms, on factory floors, diners and on distant

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military outposts, those conversations are what have kept me

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honest and kept me inspired and kept me going. And every day I have

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learned from you. You made me a better president and you made me a

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better man. So, I first came to Chicago when I was in my early 20s,

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and I will still trying to figure out who I was, still searching for a

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purpose in my life. And it was the neighbourhood not far from here

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where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed

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steel mills, it was on these streets where I witnessed the power of

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faith. And the quiet dignity of working people in the face of

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struggle. And loss. I can't do that. CHANTING "ONE MORE YEAR"..

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But this is where I learned that changed only happens when ordinary

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people get involved, and they get engaged, and they come together to

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demand it. After eight years as your president, I still believe that. And

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it's not just my belief. The beating heart of our American ideal, our

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bold experiment in self-government. If the conviction that we are all

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created equal, in doubt by our Creator with certain rights, among

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them, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- it's. It is the

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insistence that these rights, while sales evidence, have never been self

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executed -- self-evident. That we, the people, through the instrument

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of our democracy, can form a more perfect union. What a radical idea.

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A great gift that our founders gave to us. The freedom to chase our

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individual dreams through our sweat and toil and imagination, and the

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imperative to strive together as well to achieve a common good, a

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greater good. For 240 years, our nations called to citizenship has

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given work and purpose to each new generation. Is what led patriots to

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choose fairness of a tyranny. Slaves to brave that makeshift rail Road to

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freedom. It is what pulled refugees across oceans. It's what pushed

:08:27.:08:33.

women to reach for the ballot. It's what empowered workers to organise.

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To GI's gave their lives at Omaha Beach, as well as those in Iraq and

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Afghanistan -- over. And why men and women all over were prepared to give

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theirs as well. --2. So, that's what we mean when we say in America's

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exceptional. Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but

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that we have shown the capacity to change. And make life better for

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those who followed. Yes, our progress has been uneven. The work

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of democracy has always been hard, it's always been contentious.

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Sometimes it's been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often

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feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been

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defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding

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creed to embrace all, not just some. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. If I had told

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you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession,

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reboot our water industry and unleash the longer stretch of job

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creation in our history... -- auto -- longest. If I had told you that

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we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, sat down WWE

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nuclear weapons programme, and take up the mastermind of 9/11. If I had

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told you that we would win marriage equality and secure a right to

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health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens...

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE If I had told you all of that, you might have

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said, our sights are set a little too high. But, that's's what we did.

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That's's what you did. You were the change. You answered people's hopes,

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and because of you, by almost every measure, America's a better,

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stronger place than it was when we started. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE In

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ten days, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy. No, the

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peaceful transfer of power. From one freely elected president to the

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next. I committed to President-elect Donald Trump that my administration

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would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush

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did for me. Because it's up to all of us to make sure our government

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can help us meet the many challenges we still face. We have what we need

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to do so, we have everything we need to meet those challenges. After all,

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we remained the wealthiest, most powerful and most respected nation

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on earth. Our youth, drive, diversity and openness, our

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boundless capacity for risk and reinvention means that the future

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should be ours. But that potential will only be realised if our

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democracy works. Only if our politics better reflects the decency

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of our people. Only if all of us, regardless of party affiliation or

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particular interest, help restore the sense of common purpose that we

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so badly need right now. That's what I want to focus on tonight. The

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state of our democracy. Understand, democracy does not require

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uniformity. Our founders argued, they quarrelled, eventually they

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compromised. They expected us to do the same. But they knew that

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democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity. The idea that for all

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our outward differences, we are all in this together. That will rise or

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fall as one. There have been moments throughout our history that

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threatened that solidarity. And the beginning of this century has been

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one of those times. A shrinking world, growing inequality,

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demographic change in the spectre of terrorism. These forces haven't just

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tested our security and our prosperity, but are testing our

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democracy as well. And how we meet these challenges to our democracy

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will determine our ability to educate our kids and create jobs and

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protect our homeland. In other words, it will determine our future.

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To begin with, our democracy won't work without a sense that everyone

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has economic opportunity. And the good news is that, today, the

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economy is growing again. Wages, incomes, home values and retirement

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accounts are rising again. Poverty is falling again.

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The wealthy are paying a fair share of taxes, even as the stock-market

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shatters records. The unemployment rate is near a ten year low. The

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uninsured rate has never been lower. APPLAUSE.

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Health-care costs are rising at the slowest rate in 50 years. And I have

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said, and I mean it, if anyone can put together a plan that is better

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than the improvements we are made to the health-care system, that covers

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as many people at less cost, I will publicly support.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. Because that, after all, is why we

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serve. Not to score points or take credit, but to make people's lives

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better. But for all the real progress that we've made, we know

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it's not enough. Our economy doesn't work as well or grow as fast when a

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feud prosper at the expense of the middle class. That is the economic

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argument, but stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic

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idea. While the top 1% has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income,

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too many of our families in inner cities and in rural counties have

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been left behind. The laid off factory worker, the waitress or

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health-care worker who is barely getting by and struggling to pay the

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Bills, convinced that the game is fixed against them, that the

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government only serves the interests of the powerful - that is a recipe

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for more cynicism and polarisation in our politics. Now, there are no

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quick fixes to this long-term trend. I agree, our trade should be fair

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and not just free, at the next wave of economic dislocations won't come

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from overseas, it will come from the relentless pace of automation that

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makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete. And so we are going

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to have to forge a new social compact to guarantee all our kids

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the education they need, to give workers the power to unionise for

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better wages, to update the social safety net to reflect the way we

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live now and make more reforms to the tax code so corporations and

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individuals, who reap the most from this new economy, don't avoid their

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obligations to the country that has made their very success possible.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. We can argue about how to best

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achieve these goals. But we can't be complacent about the goals

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themselves. For if we don't create opportunity for all people, the

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disaffection and division that has stalled our progress will only

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sharpen in years to come. There is a second threat to our democracy, and

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this one is as old as our nation itself - after my election there was

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talk of a post- racial America and such a vision, however well

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intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive

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force in our society. Now, I have lived long enough to know that race

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relations are better than they were ten or 20 or 30 years ago no matter

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what some folks say. APPLAUSE. You can see it not just in statistics,

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you see it in the attitudes of young Americans across the political

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spectrum. But we are not where we need to be. And all of us have more

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work to do. If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a

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hard-working white middle class and an undeserving minority, then

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workers of all shades are going to be left fighting for scraps while

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the wealthy have been building their purse. APPLAUSE. If we are all I'm

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willing to invest in the children of immigrants just because they don't

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look like ours, we will diminish the prospects of our own children,

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because those brown kids will represent a larger and larger share

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of America's workforce. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE.

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And we have shown that our economy doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.

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Last year incomes rose for all races, all age groups, for men and

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four women. So, if we are going to be serious about race going forward,

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we need to uphold laws against discrimination in hiring and in

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housing and in education and in the criminal justice system. That is

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what our Constitution and our highest ideals require. But laws

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alone won't be enough. Hearts must change. They won't change overnight.

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Social attitudes oftentimes take generations to change. But if our

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democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse

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nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great

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character in American fiction, Atticus Finch. He said, you never

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really understand a person until you consider things from his point of

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view. Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. For blacks

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and other minority groups that means tying our own very real struggle for

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justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face. Not

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only the refugee or the transgender or the raw pork but also the

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middle-aged white guy who may from the outside seem like he has got

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advantages but has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and

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technological change -- rural poor. We have to pay attention and listen.

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For white Americans it means acknowledging that the effects of

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slavery and Jim Crow didn't suddenly vanish in the 60s. That when

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minority groups voiced discontent they are not just engaging in

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reverse racism or practising political correctness. When they

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wage peaceful protest they are not demanding special treatment, but the

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equal treatment that our founders promised.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. For nativeborn Americans... For

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nativeborn Americans it means reminding ourselves that the

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stereotypes about immigrants today were said almost word for word about

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the Irish. And the Italians, and the Poles, who it was said were going to

:24:27.:24:31.

destroy the fundamental character of America. But as it turned out,

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America was weakened by the presence of these newcomers, these newcomers

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embraced this nation's read and this nation was strengthened. APPLAUSE.

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So, regardless of the station that we occupied we all have to try

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harder. We all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow

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citizens loves this country just as much as we do, that they value hard

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work and family just like we do. That their children are just as

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curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own. And that is not

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easy to do. For too many of us it has become safer to retreat into our

:25:36.:25:39.

own bubbles, whether in our neighbourhoods or on college

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campuses or places of worship, or specially our social media feeds,

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surrounded by people who look like ours and share the same political

:25:54.:25:58.

outlook and never challenge our assumptions. And the rise of naked

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partisanship and increasing economic and regional stratification, the

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splinting of our media into a channel for every taste. All this

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makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And

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increasingly we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting

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only information, whether it is true or not, that fits our opinions,

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instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there. This

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trend represents a third threat to our democracy, but politics is a

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battle of ideas. That is how our democracy was designed. In the

:26:55.:26:58.

course of healthy debate we prioritise different goals and the

:26:59.:27:04.

different means. But without some common baseline effects, without a

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willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might

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be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, then we

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are going to keep talking past each other. And we will make common

:27:24.:27:31.

ground and compromise impossible. And isn't that part of what so often

:27:32.:27:42.

makes politics dispiriting? How can elected officials raided our

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deficits when we propose to spend money on preschool for kids but not

:27:47.:27:49.

when we are cutting taxes for corporations. How do we excuse

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ethical lapses in our own party at pounds when the other party does the

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same thing? It is not just dishonest, this selective sorting of

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the facts, it is self-defeating. Because, as my mum used to tell me,

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reality has a way of catching up with you. Take the challenge of

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climate change, in just eight years we have halved our dependence on

:28:27.:28:30.

foreign oil, we have doubled our renewable energy, we have let the

:28:31.:28:34.

world to an agreement that has the promise to save this planet.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. But without bolder action, our

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children won't have time to debate the existence of climate change.

:28:51.:28:53.

They will be busy dealing with its effects. More environmental

:28:54.:28:58.

disasters, more economic disruptions, waves of climate

:28:59.:29:05.

refugees seeking sanctuary. Now, we can and should argue about the best

:29:06.:29:10.

approach to solve the problem, but to simply deny the problem, not only

:29:11.:29:18.

betray its future generations, it betrays the essential spirit of this

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country, the essential spirit of innovation and practical

:29:27.:29:28.

problem-solving that guided our founders.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. It is that spirit, that spirit born

:29:38.:29:47.

of the enlightenment that made us an economic powerhouse. The spirit that

:29:48.:29:52.

took flight at Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral. The spirit that he was

:29:53.:29:56.

disease and put a computer in every pocket. It is that spirit, a faith

:29:57.:30:05.

in reason and enterprise, and the primacy of rights over might, that

:30:06.:30:12.

allowed us to resist the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great

:30:13.:30:20.

Depression, that allowed us to build a post-World War II order with other

:30:21.:30:25.

democracies, not just based on military power or national

:30:26.:30:31.

affiliations, but built on principles, the rule of law, human

:30:32.:30:36.

rights, freedom of religion and speech and assembly and an

:30:37.:30:37.

independent press. That order is now being challenged.

:30:38.:30:55.

First by violent fanatics who claim to speak for is Lahm, more recently

:30:56.:31:06.

by autocrats in foreign capitals who see civil society itself as a threat

:31:07.:31:13.

to their power -- Islam. The peril each poses to our democracy is more

:31:14.:31:21.

far reaching than a missile. They represent the fear of change, the

:31:22.:31:26.

fear of people who look or speak or play differently. A contempt for the

:31:27.:31:34.

rule of law that holds leaders accountable, and intolerance of free

:31:35.:31:42.

thought. The belief that the sword or become -- or the gun or the bomb

:31:43.:31:52.

is the arbiter of what is true and right. -- pray. Because of the

:31:53.:31:57.

extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, because of our

:31:58.:32:01.

intelligence officers and law enforcement, diplomats who support

:32:02.:32:08.

our troops, no foreign terrorist organisation has successfully

:32:09.:32:12.

planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past eight years.

:32:13.:32:23.

And although Boston, and Orlando, and San Bernardino, and Fort Hood

:32:24.:32:35.

were victims of dangerous radicalisation, our law enforcement

:32:36.:32:38.

agencies are more vigilant than ever. We have taken out tens of

:32:39.:32:42.

thousands of terrorist, including Bin Laden. -- terrorists. The global

:32:43.:32:50.

coalition we are taking against ISIL has taken out a leaders and about

:32:51.:32:54.

half their territory. Islamic State will be destroyed and nobody who

:32:55.:32:58.

threatens America will ever be safe. And all who serve, who have served,

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it has been the honour of my lifetime to be your commander in

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chief. And we all owe you a deep debt of gratitude. CHEERING AND

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APPLAUSE But protecting our way of life,

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that's's not just the job of our military. Democracy can buckle when

:33:38.:33:51.

it gives in to fear. So, just as we, as citizens, must remain vigilant

:33:52.:33:57.

against external aggression, we must guard against a weakening of the

:33:58.:34:04.

values that make us who we are. And that's why, for the past eight

:34:05.:34:08.

years, I've worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firmer legal

:34:09.:34:13.

footing. That's why we've ended torture, worked to close Guantanamo

:34:14.:34:18.

Bay, reformed our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and

:34:19.:34:24.

civil liberties. That's why I reject discrimination against Muslim

:34:25.:34:30.

Americans, who are just as patriotic as we are. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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That's why we cannot withdraw from big global fights to expand

:34:47.:35:08.

democracy and human rights, women's rights, LGBTQI rights. No matter our

:35:09.:35:12.

efforts and how expedient ignoring such values may seem, that's part of

:35:13.:35:21.

defending America. For the fight against extremism and intolerance

:35:22.:35:32.

and sectarianism and chauvinism, our peace with the fight against

:35:33.:35:38.

authoritarianism and nationalist aggression, if the scope of freedom

:35:39.:35:44.

and respect for the rule of law threads around the world, the

:35:45.:35:48.

likelihood of war within and between nations increases. Our own freedoms

:35:49.:35:57.

will eventually be threatened. So, let's be vigilant, but not afraid.

:35:58.:36:03.

Islamic State will try to kill innocent people. But they cannot

:36:04.:36:09.

defeat America unless we betray our Constitution and our principles in

:36:10.:36:19.

the fight. Rivals like Russia or China cannot match our influence

:36:20.:36:24.

around the world unless we give up what we stand for. And turn

:36:25.:36:29.

ourselves into just another big country that boys smaller

:36:30.:36:42.

neighbours. -- fights against smaller neighbours. And that brings

:36:43.:36:46.

me to my final point. Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it

:36:47.:36:57.

for granted. All of us, regardless of anything, should be throwing

:36:58.:37:03.

ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic

:37:04.:37:09.

institutions. When voting rates in America are some of the lowest among

:37:10.:37:14.

advanced democracies, we should be making it easier, not harder, to

:37:15.:37:24.

vote. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE When trust in our institutions is low, we

:37:25.:37:34.

should reduce the course of influence of money in our politics

:37:35.:37:39.

and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public

:37:40.:37:44.

service. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our

:37:45.:37:50.

congressional districts to encourage auditions to cater to common sense,

:37:51.:38:00.

and not rigid extremes. But remember, none of this happens on

:38:01.:38:07.

its own. All of this depends on our participation. On each of us

:38:08.:38:15.

accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way

:38:16.:38:19.

the pendulum of power happens to be swinging. Our Constitution is a

:38:20.:38:33.

remarkable, beautiful gift. But it's really just a piece of parchment. It

:38:34.:38:42.

has no power on its own. We, the people, give its power. We, the

:38:43.:38:50.

people, give it meaning. With our participation and with the choices

:38:51.:38:54.

that we make. And the alliances that we forge. Whether or not we stand up

:38:55.:39:02.

for our freedoms, whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law.

:39:03.:39:10.

That's up us. -- up to us. America is no fragile thing, but the gains

:39:11.:39:14.

of our long journey to freedom are not as sure. In his own farewell

:39:15.:39:21.

address, George Washington wrote that self-government is the

:39:22.:39:25.

underpinning of our safety, prosperity and liberty. But, from

:39:26.:39:34.

different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken

:39:35.:39:39.

to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth. And so, we

:39:40.:39:45.

have to preserve this truth with jealous anxiety, that we should

:39:46.:39:52.

reject the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of

:39:53.:39:58.

our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties that make

:39:59.:40:11.

us one. America, we weaken those ties when we allow our political

:40:12.:40:15.

dialogue to become so corrosive that people of good character aren't even

:40:16.:40:20.

willing to enter into the public service. The Americans with whom we

:40:21.:40:28.

disagree are seen not just as misguided, but as malevolent. We

:40:29.:40:34.

weaken those ties when we do find some of us as more American than

:40:35.:40:42.

others. When we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt. And

:40:43.:40:49.

when we sit back and blamed the leaders we elect without examining

:40:50.:40:59.

our own role in electing them. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE It falls to

:41:00.:41:10.

each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy.

:41:11.:41:15.

To embrace the joyous task we've been given, to continually try to

:41:16.:41:25.

improve this great nation of ours. Because, for all our outward

:41:26.:41:32.

differences, we in fact all share the same proud tie. The most

:41:33.:41:37.

important office in democracy. Citizen. Citizen. So, you see,

:41:38.:41:54.

that's what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there's

:41:55.:42:04.

an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but

:42:05.:42:11.

over the full span of a lifetime. If you're tired of arguing with

:42:12.:42:15.

strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real

:42:16.:42:31.

life. LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE If something needs fixing, then lace up

:42:32.:42:41.

your shoes and do some organising. If you're disappointed by your

:42:42.:42:46.

elected officials, grab a clipboard, pets and signatures and run for

:42:47.:42:53.

office yourself -- get some signatures. Show up, dive in.

:42:54.:43:10.

Sometimes you'll win, sometimes you'll lose. Preserving a reservoir

:43:11.:43:17.

of goodness in other people will be a risk, and there will be times when

:43:18.:43:22.

the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to

:43:23.:43:27.

have been part of this world and to see it up close, let me tell you, it

:43:28.:43:34.

can energise and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in

:43:35.:43:41.

America and in Americans, will be confirmed. Mine Shaw has been. --

:43:42.:43:53.

sure. Over the course of these eight years, I have seen the hopeful faces

:43:54.:43:58.

of young graduates, and of our military officers. I have mourned

:43:59.:44:05.

with grieving families searching for answers, and found grace in

:44:06.:44:13.

Charleston church. I've see our scientists help a paralysed man

:44:14.:44:17.

regain his sense of touch. I've seen wounded warriors who, at points,

:44:18.:44:28.

were given up for dead, walk again. I seen our doctors and volunteers

:44:29.:44:31.

rebuilt after earthquakes and stop pandemics in their tracks. I've seen

:44:32.:44:38.

the youngest of children remind us, through their actions and through

:44:39.:44:42.

their generosity, of our obligations to care for refugees, will work for

:44:43.:44:49.

peace. And above all, to look out for each other -- or work. So, that

:44:50.:44:58.

face at I placed all those years ago, not far from here, in the power

:44:59.:45:05.

of ordinary Americans to bring about change, that fate has been rewarded

:45:06.:45:10.

in ways I could not have possibly imagined. And I hope your face has,

:45:11.:45:17.

too. -- faith. Some of you here tonight or watching at home, you

:45:18.:45:21.

were there with us in 2004 in 2008, 2012. -- and. Maybe you still can't

:45:22.:45:34.

believe we pulled this whole thing off. Let me tell you, you're not the

:45:35.:45:37.

only ones. Michelle? CHEERING AND APPLAUSE.

:45:38.:46:17.

Michelle Robinson, girl of the Southside...

:46:18.:46:20.

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. .. For the past 25 years you have

:46:21.:46:29.

not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best

:46:30.:46:41.

friend. You took on a roll you didn't ask for Andy made it your own

:46:42.:46:54.

with grace and with grit and with style -- and you made it your own.

:46:55.:47:14.

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. You made the White House a place

:47:15.:47:28.

that belongs to everybody, and a new generation sets its sights higher

:47:29.:47:32.

because it has you as a role model. So, you have made me proud and you

:47:33.:47:55.

have made the country proud. Maleah and Sasha, under the strangest of

:47:56.:48:00.

circumstances you have become two amazing young women. You are smart

:48:01.:48:05.

and you are beautiful, but more importantly you are kind and you are

:48:06.:48:09.

thoughtful and you are full of passion.

:48:10.:48:19.

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. And you bore the burden of years in

:48:20.:48:24.

the spotlight so easily. Of all that I have done in my life, I am most

:48:25.:48:42.

proud to be your dad. To Joe Biden...

:48:43.:48:54.

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE. .. The scrappy kid who became

:48:55.:49:12.

Delaware's favourite son, the first decision I made as a nominee, and it

:49:13.:49:17.

was the best, not just because you have been a great vice president but

:49:18.:49:21.

because in the bargain I gained a brother, and we love you and Jill

:49:22.:49:30.

like family and your friendship has been one of the latest of our lives.

:49:31.:49:45.

To my remarkable, for eight years and for some of you at a lot more, I

:49:46.:49:51.

have drawn from your energy, and every day I tried to reflect back

:49:52.:49:57.

what you displayed - heart and character and idealism. I have

:49:58.:50:04.

watched you grow up, get married, have kids, starting credible new

:50:05.:50:14.

journeys of your own. Even when times got tough and frustrating, you

:50:15.:50:18.

never let Washington get the better of you. You guarded against

:50:19.:50:24.

cynicism. And the only thing that makes me prouder than all the good

:50:25.:50:28.

that we have done is the thought of all the amazing things that you are

:50:29.:50:35.

going to achieve from here. APPLAUSE.

:50:36.:50:45.

And all of you out there, every organiser who moved to an unfamiliar

:50:46.:50:51.

town, every kind family who welcomed them in, every volunteer who knocked

:50:52.:50:58.

on doors, every young person who cast a ballot for the first time,

:50:59.:51:02.

every American who lived and breathed the hard work of change,

:51:03.:51:06.

you are the best supporters and organises anybody could ever hope

:51:07.:51:13.

for and I will be forever grateful. Because you did change the world.

:51:14.:51:20.

You did. And that is why I leave this stage tonight even more

:51:21.:51:23.

optimistic about this country than when we started. Because I know our

:51:24.:51:31.

work has not only helped so many Americans, it has inspired so many

:51:32.:51:35.

Americans, especially so many young people out there to believe that you

:51:36.:51:41.

can make a difference, to hitch a wagon to something bigger than

:51:42.:51:45.

yourselves. Let me tell you, this generation coming up, I'm selfish,

:51:46.:51:52.

all juristic, creative, patriotic. I have seen you in every corner of the

:51:53.:51:59.

country. You believe in a fair and just and inclusive America. You know

:52:00.:52:04.

that constant change has been America's Hallmark, that it is not

:52:05.:52:09.

something to fear, but something to embrace. You are willing to carry

:52:10.:52:13.

this hard work of democracy forward. You will soon outnumber all of us

:52:14.:52:18.

and I believe as a result the future is in good hands. My fellow

:52:19.:52:36.

Americans, it has been the honour of my life to serve you. I won't stop.

:52:37.:52:42.

In fact, I will be right there with you as a citizen for all my

:52:43.:52:51.

remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you are

:52:52.:52:57.

young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president, the

:52:58.:53:02.

same thing I asked when he took a chance on me eight years ago, I am

:53:03.:53:07.

asking you to believe not in my ability to bring about change, but

:53:08.:53:14.

in yours. I are asking you to hold fast in that faith written into our

:53:15.:53:18.

founding documents, that idea whispered by slaves and abolition

:53:19.:53:24.

is, the spirit sung by immigrants and Homestead is, those who marched

:53:25.:53:29.

for justice, the creed reaffirmed by those who planted s and created a

:53:30.:53:40.

story for every American whose story is not yet written, yes we can, yes

:53:41.:53:51.

we did, yes we can. Thank you, God bless you, may God continue to bless

:53:52.:53:57.

the United States of America -- abolitionists. -- homesteaders.

:53:58.:53:58.

Thank you. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE.

:53:59.:54:40.

Sir, there is Barack Obama finishing his farewell address, The Crowd

:54:41.:54:51.

there here inside the Lakeside convention centre in Chicago giving

:54:52.:54:54.

him applause for the last time as president, and in that speech he

:54:55.:55:00.

laid out what he sees as his legacy, his achievements, getting rid of Bin

:55:01.:55:05.

Laden, bringing economic stability after time of crisis, but also

:55:06.:55:10.

America's first black president directly addressed the issue of race

:55:11.:55:15.

relations. He had a list of subjects he felt could be corrosive to

:55:16.:55:19.

American democracy. He pleaded with Americans to understand with one

:55:20.:55:25.

another, to walk in their shoes. He warned against corrosive politics.

:55:26.:55:30.

And he paid tribute to his wife, Michelle Obama, to his daughters,

:55:31.:55:36.

Sasha and Malia, he talked about their significance, of those strong

:55:37.:55:42.

women in his life, he said he couldn't be more proud of them and

:55:43.:55:46.

he teared up when he was talking, and the crowd chanting at the

:55:47.:55:52.

beginning, "Four more years," and Barack Obama telling them, "I

:55:53.:55:55.

can't". This was his farewell moment. And to his supporters who

:55:56.:56:01.

have doubt in American democracy, worried about the election of the

:56:02.:56:04.

President-elect, Donald Trump, he had an up to beat and optimistic

:56:05.:56:11.

message, that the document of the American Constitution, as he called

:56:12.:56:14.

it, to have faith in this, to have faith in the strength and the great

:56:15.:56:18.

good sense of the American people, especially the young generation

:56:19.:56:21.

coming forward. He paid huge tribute there. But he also made reference to

:56:22.:56:27.

this divisive and bruising election campaign that we have had and he

:56:28.:56:30.

warned that the greatest threat of economic dislocation comes not, he

:56:31.:56:35.

said, from trade, but it will come from automation. That this is what

:56:36.:56:40.

will lose the next set of jobs and will be the next issue that America

:56:41.:56:44.

must deal with. And you can see there is the president with Michelle

:56:45.:56:51.

Obama. He is with his daughter, Sasha, the older daughter Mahlia is

:56:52.:56:55.

at Harvard, that is why she isn't here tonight, and the President is

:56:56.:56:59.

savouring this moment, this moment that he could sum up his eight years

:57:00.:57:03.

in office, which a White House aide said they hoped would be beyond

:57:04.:57:06.

politics, and he deliberately took the 30,000 Ford view, the view of

:57:07.:57:12.

how America is making regressed -- foot view. He was careful also,

:57:13.:57:18.

careful to warn that there are impediments to America's forward

:57:19.:57:24.

progress, that there are issues that must be dealt with, and he dwelt on

:57:25.:57:29.

the subject of fake news, of people believing what they want to believe,

:57:30.:57:33.

of people being in social media, and he urged Americans, if you don't

:57:34.:57:38.

like what's happening, he told them, get out there and organise, and

:57:39.:57:45.

joining me now is Danika Miller, Chicago resident. What did you make

:57:46.:57:49.

of what the President had to say tonight? I think he has been

:57:50.:57:57.

consistent in his message of hope, he was open in his transition to

:57:58.:58:03.

power message, he opened with his accomplishments in eight years as

:58:04.:58:09.

president, and the peaceful and hopeful anticipation to the changes,

:58:10.:58:13.

and to be respectful of what is to come with the President-elect. Did

:58:14.:58:16.

you find his message to be reassuring after what has been such

:58:17.:58:19.

a brutal and divisive election? Yes, indeed. It was kind of like a

:58:20.:58:25.

renewed faith in the American dream and the American democracy. Just to

:58:26.:58:31.

keep us in a place where, despite their negativity and all of the

:58:32.:58:35.

crazy things that have gone on, to stay focused on all we have

:58:36.:58:38.

accomplished and all that we have done. You were in the wall listening

:58:39.:58:44.

when the crowd was chanting, "Four more years", and he said, "I can't".

:58:45.:58:51.

That is hurtful, but it is the way it is in America. We enjoyed the

:58:52.:58:55.

eight years we had with him. He said it won't be the end of him. He was

:58:56.:59:02.

urging Americans, if you don't like what is happening, get out and get

:59:03.:59:06.

organised, because his roots were in Chicago as a community organiser. Is

:59:07.:59:11.

that message inspiring? Yes, indeed, an IM glad he reminded us we have a

:59:12.:59:16.

chance to make a change. Despite the little things we feel like we don't

:59:17.:59:20.

have control over. We can still be proactive in certain things we want

:59:21.:59:23.

to see taking place. It was a good message. Will you miss President

:59:24.:59:28.

Barack Obama? Yes, yes indeed. The whole first family on his beautiful

:59:29.:59:34.

wife and children, everything about them, they are leaving behind some

:59:35.:59:40.

big shoes to fill. Danika Miller, thank you for joining us. So, that

:59:41.:59:46.

was Danika Miller, one of just thousands of people packed inside

:59:47.:59:52.

that hall. So, that is the special coverage from inside the convention

:59:53.:59:55.

centre in Chicago as president Barack Obama makes his farewell

:59:56.:00:01.

address to the American people following in a tradition that began

:00:02.:00:04.

with America's very first president, George Washington. Laura, many

:00:05.:00:13.

thanks indeed. We will be here in the studio in London. Let's run

:00:14.:00:17.

through some of the highlights of the final speech from President

:00:18.:00:18.

Obama to the nation as president. My fellow Americans. Michelle and I

:00:19.:00:44.

have been so touched by all the well wishes we have received over the

:00:45.:00:50.

past few weeks. But, tonight, it's my turn to say thanks. Whether we

:00:51.:00:58.

have seen eye to eye, or rarely agreed at all, my conversations with

:00:59.:01:06.

you, the American people, in living rooms and in schools, in farms, on

:01:07.:01:18.

factory floors, diners, and on distant military outposts, those

:01:19.:01:24.

conversations are what has kept me honest and kept me inspired and kept

:01:25.:01:28.

me going. And every day, I have learned from you. -- have. You made

:01:29.:01:34.

me a better president, and you made me a better man.

:01:35.:01:41.

During the address in Chicago where his political career began,

:01:42.:01:44.

he started by saying the people had made him a better president.

:01:45.:01:47.

I first came to Chicago when I was in my early 20s, and I was still

:01:48.:01:54.

trying to figure out who I was, still searching for a purpose in my

:01:55.:01:57.

life. And it was a neighbourhood not far from here where I began working

:01:58.:02:02.

with church groups, in the shadows of closed steel mills. It was on

:02:03.:02:07.

these streets where I witnessed the power of faith and the quiet dignity

:02:08.:02:13.

of working people in the face of struggle and loss. I can't do that.

:02:14.:02:33.

CHANTING "ONE MORE YEAR" Now, this is where I learned that change only

:02:34.:02:40.

happens when ordinary people get involved, and they get engaged, and

:02:41.:02:48.

they come together to demand it. After eight years as your president,

:02:49.:02:52.

I still believe that. And it's not just my belief. It's the beating

:02:53.:03:06.

heart of American ideal, our bold experiment in self-government. If

:03:07.:03:10.

conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with

:03:11.:03:17.

certain unalienable rights, among them, life, liberty and the pursuit

:03:18.:03:24.

of happiness. The insistence that these rights, while self-evident,

:03:25.:03:29.

have never been self executed. That we, the people, through the

:03:30.:03:36.

instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union. What a

:03:37.:03:46.

radical idea. A great gift that our founders gave to us.

:03:47.:03:48.

He then went on to list what he considered his successes.

:03:49.:03:51.

If I have told you eight years ago -- had told you, that America would

:03:52.:04:03.

reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry and unleashed the

:04:04.:04:09.

greater stretch of job creation in our history... If I had told you

:04:10.:04:16.

that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down

:04:17.:04:22.

Iran's nuclear weapons programme without firing a shot, take up the

:04:23.:04:32.

mastermind of 9/11... If I had told you that we would secure marriage

:04:33.:04:40.

equality and secure health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow

:04:41.:04:47.

citizens... If I had told you all that, you might have said, our sites

:04:48.:04:55.

were set a little too high. But that's what we did! -- sights.

:04:56.:05:08.

That's what you did. You were the change. The answer to people's

:05:09.:05:13.

hopes. And because of you, I almost every measure, America is a better,

:05:14.:05:19.

stronger place than it was when we started.

:05:20.:05:25.

In his speech the President, Barack Obama, focused on the state

:05:26.:05:28.

Understand democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders

:05:29.:05:42.

argued, they quarrelled, and eventually they compromised. They

:05:43.:05:50.

expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a

:05:51.:06:01.

basic sense of solidarity. The idea that for all our outward

:06:02.:06:08.

differences, we are all in this together. That we rise or fall as

:06:09.:06:10.

one. And he went on to focus

:06:11.:06:12.

on the state of the economy, and its relationship

:06:13.:06:15.

to healthcare and education. To begin with, our democracy won't

:06:16.:06:22.

work without a sense that everyone has economic opportunity. And the

:06:23.:06:28.

good news is that today, the economy is growing again, wages, incomes,

:06:29.:06:35.

home values and retirement accounts are all rising again. Poverty is

:06:36.:06:45.

falling again. The wealthy are paying a fair share of taxes, even

:06:46.:06:50.

as the stock-market shatters records the unemployment rate is near a ten

:06:51.:06:55.

year low. The uninsured rate has never, ever been lower. Health-care

:06:56.:07:08.

costs are rising at the slowest rate in 50 years. And I said, and I mean

:07:09.:07:14.

it, if anyone can put together a plan that is demonstrably better

:07:15.:07:20.

than the improvements need made to our health-care system, that covers

:07:21.:07:26.

as many people with similar or lower costs, I will publicly support it.

:07:27.:07:37.

Because that, after all, is why we serve. Not to score points or take

:07:38.:07:47.

credit, but to make people's lives better. But for all the real

:07:48.:07:55.

progress that we've made, we know it's not enough. Our economy doesn't

:07:56.:08:04.

work as well or grow as fast. When a few prosper, the expenses grow for

:08:05.:08:11.

the middle class, and the same for those who want to get into the

:08:12.:08:15.

middle class. That is the economic argument. Starc inequality is also

:08:16.:08:21.

corrosive to our democratic ideal. While the top 1% has amassed a eager

:08:22.:08:28.

share of wealth and income, too many of our friends in cities and in

:08:29.:08:31.

rural counties have been left behind -- Stark. Lead of factory workers,

:08:32.:08:38.

the wages, the health-care worker who is barely getting by in

:08:39.:08:41.

struggling to pay the bills, convinced that the game is fixed

:08:42.:08:45.

against them. That the government only serves the interests of the

:08:46.:08:52.

powerful. That is the recipe for more citizens to make polarisation

:08:53.:08:56.

in our politics. But there are no quick fixes to this long-term trend.

:08:57.:09:02.

I agree, our trade should be fair. But the next wave of economic

:09:03.:09:07.

dislocations won't come from overseas, it will come from the

:09:08.:09:10.

relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class

:09:11.:09:16.

jobs obsolete. And so, we are going to have to forge a new social

:09:17.:09:20.

contract to guarantee all our kids the education they need, to get

:09:21.:09:27.

workers the power to unionise for better wages, to update the social

:09:28.:09:33.

safety net to reflect the way we live now. To make more reforms to

:09:34.:09:38.

the tax code so that corporations and individuals who reaped the most

:09:39.:09:42.

from this new economy torrent of wheat there obligations to the

:09:43.:09:45.

country that has made their very success possible.

:09:46.:09:55.

In the last hour, President Obama spoke about race relations

:09:56.:09:57.

After May election, there was talk of a post- racial America -- my. In

:09:58.:10:10.

such a vision, however well intended, was never realistic. Race

:10:11.:10:19.

remains a potent and often divisive force in our society. Now, I've

:10:20.:10:25.

lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were

:10:26.:10:31.

ten, 20, 30 years ago, no matter what some folks say. You can see it

:10:32.:10:38.

not just in statistics, you see it in the attitudes of young Americans

:10:39.:10:43.

across the political spectrum. But we are not where we need to be. And

:10:44.:10:53.

all of us have more work to do. If every economic issue is framed as a

:10:54.:10:59.

struggle between a hard-working, white middle class, and an

:11:00.:11:06.

undeserving minority, then workers of all shades are going to be left

:11:07.:11:10.

fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their

:11:11.:11:26.

private anglaise. If we are unwilling to invest in the children

:11:27.:11:30.

of immigrants just because they don't look like us, we will diminish

:11:31.:11:35.

the prospects of our own children. Because those brown kids will

:11:36.:11:38.

represent a larger and larger share of America's work off. CHEERING AND

:11:39.:11:41.

APPLAUSE Climate change, a controversial

:11:42.:11:46.

issue which has seen him at odds with the incoming President,

:11:47.:11:49.

was next on the speech agenda. Take the challenge climate change.

:11:50.:12:05.

In just eight years, with halved our dependence on foreign oil, doubled

:12:06.:12:10.

our renewable energy and lead the world to an agreement that has a

:12:11.:12:23.

promise to save this planet. But without more direction, our children

:12:24.:12:25.

won't have time to debate the existence of climate change. Thou be

:12:26.:12:31.

busy dealing with its effects. More environmental disasters, more

:12:32.:12:35.

economic disruptions, ways of climate refugees seeking sanctuary

:12:36.:12:43.

-- waves. We can and should argue about the best approach to solve the

:12:44.:12:48.

problem. But to simply deny the problem, it's not only betrays

:12:49.:12:55.

future generations, it betrays the essential spirit of this country.

:12:56.:13:02.

The essential spirit of innovation and practical problem-solving that

:13:03.:13:03.

guided our founders. He highlighted what he called

:13:04.:13:07.

the post-war successes, including the rule of law

:13:08.:13:09.

and freedoms of religion and speech. Freedoms he said which were under

:13:10.:13:12.

threat from terrorism. That order is now being challenged.

:13:13.:13:29.

First, by violent fanatics who try to speak for Islam. More recently by

:13:30.:13:34.

autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets and open democracy

:13:35.:13:39.

in civil society itself as a threat to their power. The peril it poses

:13:40.:13:47.

to our democracy is more far reaching than a car bomb or a

:13:48.:13:54.

missile -- each poses. They represent the fear of change, the

:13:55.:14:01.

fear of people who look or speak or pray differently. A contempt for the

:14:02.:14:05.

rule of law that holds leaders accountable. And intolerance of

:14:06.:14:11.

dissent and free thought. A belief that the forward, the gun or the

:14:12.:14:19.

bomb is the ultimate arbiter of what is true and right -- sword. Because

:14:20.:14:27.

of the extraordinary courage of our men and women in uniform, because of

:14:28.:14:32.

our intelligence officers and law enforcement, our diplomats who

:14:33.:14:37.

support our troops. No foreign terrorist organisation has

:14:38.:14:42.

successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland these past

:14:43.:14:52.

eight years. And although Boston, and Orlando, and San Bernardino, and

:14:53.:15:03.

Fort Hood remind us of how dangerous radicalisation can be, our law

:15:04.:15:06.

enforcement agencies are more effective and vigilant than ever. We

:15:07.:15:10.

have taken out tens of thousands of terrorists, including Bin Laden. The

:15:11.:15:19.

global coalition we are leading against Islamic State has taken out

:15:20.:15:24.

their leaders and taken away about half their territory. Islamic State

:15:25.:15:27.

will be destroyed and nobody who threatens America will ever be safe.

:15:28.:15:34.

And to all who serve, all who have served, it has been the honour of my

:15:35.:15:38.

lifetime to be your commander in chief. And we all owe you a deep

:15:39.:15:40.

debt of gratitude. During his speech Barack Obama said

:15:41.:15:47.

that laws against discrimination wont be enough in an increasingly

:15:48.:15:50.

diverse nation. We need to uphold laws against

:15:51.:16:04.

discrimination in hiring and in housing and in education and in the

:16:05.:16:08.

criminal justice system. That is what our Constitution and our

:16:09.:16:15.

highest ideals require. But laws or loan won't be enough. Hearts must

:16:16.:16:23.

change. They won't change overnight. Social attitudes oftentimes take

:16:24.:16:29.

generations to change. But if our democracy is to work the way it

:16:30.:16:34.

should in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to

:16:35.:16:43.

try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction,

:16:44.:16:48.

Atticus Finch, who said, "You never really understand a person until you

:16:49.:16:52.

consider things from his point of view until you climb into his skin

:16:53.:16:54.

and walk around in it." He invoked the first

:16:55.:16:57.

American President when talking In his own farewell address, George

:16:58.:17:08.

Washington wrote that self-government is the underpinning

:17:09.:17:14.

of our safety, prosperity and liberty, but from different causes

:17:15.:17:22.

and from different quarters much pains will be taken to weaken in

:17:23.:17:26.

your mind is the conviction of this truth. And so, we have to preserve

:17:27.:17:35.

this truth with jealous anxiety, that we should reject the first

:17:36.:17:41.

dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the

:17:42.:17:47.

rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties that make us one. America, we weaken

:17:48.:17:59.

those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so

:18:00.:18:05.

corrosive that people of good character aren't even willing to

:18:06.:18:09.

enter into public service stops so of course with rancour, Americans

:18:10.:18:17.

with whom we disagree are seen not just as misguided but seen as

:18:18.:18:21.

malevolent. We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more

:18:22.:18:25.

American than others, when we write off the whole system as inevitably

:18:26.:18:34.

corrupt, and when we sit back and blame the leaders we elect without

:18:35.:18:40.

examining our own role in electing them.

:18:41.:18:45.

He also talked of the support and love he'd received

:18:46.:18:48.

throughout his presidency from his family.

:18:49.:18:51.

P Teater when he talked of the resort port and love he received

:18:52.:18:57.

throughout his presidency from his family -- he then teared up.

:18:58.:19:02.

Michelle Robinson, goal of the Southside -- girl of the Southside.

:19:03.:19:12.

For the past with ideas you have not only been my wife and mother of my

:19:13.:19:16.

children, you have been my best friend. You took on a roll you

:19:17.:19:31.

didn't ask for and you made it your own with grace and with grit and

:19:32.:19:36.

with style and good humour. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE.

:19:37.:20:09.

You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new

:20:10.:20:15.

generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.

:20:16.:20:21.

So, you have made me proud and you have made the country proud. And he

:20:22.:20:30.

ended where he began, with a call for people to continue to believe in

:20:31.:20:34.

bringing about change at a hold on to the values of the country's

:20:35.:20:41.

founding fathers. My fellow Americans, it has been the honour of

:20:42.:20:45.

my life to serve you. I won't stop. In fact, I will be right there with

:20:46.:20:55.

you as a citizen for all my remaining days. But for now, whether

:20:56.:20:59.

you are young or whether you are young at heart, I do have one final

:21:00.:21:05.

ask of you as your president, the same thing I asked when you took a

:21:06.:21:10.

chance on me eight years ago, I am asking you to believe not in my

:21:11.:21:17.

ability to bring about change but in yours. I am asking you to hold fast

:21:18.:21:22.

to that faith written into our founding documents, that idea

:21:23.:21:27.

whispered by slaves and abolitionists, that spirit sung by

:21:28.:21:33.

immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice the

:21:34.:21:38.

creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign

:21:39.:21:41.

battlefields to the surface of the mood Delma Moon, a creed of every

:21:42.:21:46.

American whose story is not yet written, "Yes, we can." Yes we did,

:21:47.:21:55.

yes we can. Thank you, God bless you. May God continue to bless the

:21:56.:22:01.

United States of America. Thank you. APPLAUSE.

:22:02.:22:12.

President Obama, of course, in Chicago, in his final address to the

:22:13.:22:21.

nation as president, and lest you forget what the President called the

:22:22.:22:24.

hallmark of democracy, the peaceful transfer of power from one freely

:22:25.:22:30.

elected leader to the next, Donald Trump to be sworn in on January 20.

:22:31.:22:34.

I should also tell you he has announced a press conference for

:22:35.:22:41.

tomorrow. There will be a statement before hand, some of it possibly

:22:42.:22:42.

about this: Donald Trump has complained

:22:43.:22:48.

of a political witch hunt against him after unconfirmed

:22:49.:22:50.

reports emerged in the US media that Russian intelligence had gathered

:22:51.:22:53.

compromising information about him. In a tweet, the President-elect

:22:54.:22:56.

denounced the reports as fake news. Unnamed American officials say

:22:57.:22:58.

the US intelligence services have briefed Mr Trump and President Obama

:22:59.:23:01.

about the unsubstantiated claims. There has been nothing said publicly

:23:02.:23:10.

by the US intelligence community to support the claims so far.

:23:11.:23:14.

In just ten days Donald Trump will take over as president

:23:15.:23:17.

of the United States and today was a key moment for the team

:23:18.:23:21.

Senator Jeff Sessions was the first to go before lawmakers

:23:22.:23:24.

in his confirmation hearing to become the next Attorney General.

:23:25.:23:27.

Concerns have been raised about his record especially when it

:23:28.:23:29.

comes to civil rights but today he defended his past and pledged

:23:30.:23:33.

The BBC's Barbara Plett-Usher reports.

:23:34.:23:37.

This was always going to be a hard sell, a senator dog for years by

:23:38.:23:44.

allegations of racism now set to become the country's top law

:23:45.:23:48.

enforcement official. Jeff Sessions is the first of Donald Trump's

:23:49.:23:51.

cabinet nominees to be questioned by Congress, and the most

:23:52.:23:56.

controversial. I am not a racist, I am not insensitive to black. 30

:23:57.:24:02.

years ago he was accused of races comments. It rejected him as

:24:03.:24:06.

position as that will judge. Other charges of civil rights they'll eat

:24:07.:24:11.

and have followed. He has defending himself since. A fellow senator from

:24:12.:24:19.

the gave him the opportunity. When I came as United States attorney, I

:24:20.:24:23.

didn't prepare myself well in 1986 and it was an organised effort to

:24:24.:24:26.

caricature me as something that wasn't true. Macro to strongly --

:24:27.:24:33.

Sessions denied being part of the clue cost clan. I know that was

:24:34.:24:39.

wrong. -- Ku Klux Klan. We can never go back. Civil rights concerns

:24:40.:24:46.

tapped into the fears of what a Trott administration would bring,

:24:47.:24:49.

especially from a supporter like Sessions. Communities across this

:24:50.:24:52.

country are concerned about whether they would be able to rely on the

:24:53.:24:57.

Department of Justice to protect their rights and freedoms.

:24:58.:25:01.

Democratic senators quizzed Sessions about his hardline views on

:25:02.:25:04.

immigration and social issues. Could he enforce laws he voted against?

:25:05.:25:09.

Yes, he said, including same-sex marriage and abortion. It is the law

:25:10.:25:14.

of the land, it has been so established and settled for quite a

:25:15.:25:18.

long time and it deserves respect, and I will respect it and follow it.

:25:19.:25:22.

He also sought to ease fears that he supported Trump's initial call for a

:25:23.:25:26.

ban on Muslim is entering the country. But reassuring testimony

:25:27.:25:30.

has limited impact in this climate. And black lawmakers plan to testify

:25:31.:25:33.

against their fellow congressmen, something almost unheard-of. Please

:25:34.:25:37.

understand I think these are extraordinary times and they call

:25:38.:25:38.

for extraordinary measures. Just a reminder of the main news

:25:39.:25:49.

that President Obama has given his farewell official speech to the

:25:50.:25:54.

nation. More on that and all of the news anytime on the BBC News

:25:55.:25:56.

website. Before our weather turns

:25:57.:26:07.

increasingly wintry, A particularly lively day

:26:08.:26:10.

across the northern half

:26:11.:26:13.