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Obama plans farewell speech in Chicago

By Allen Cone

President Barack Obama leaves after his final press conference for the year at the White House in Washington, D.C., on December 16. Obama plans a farewell seech to the nation on Jan. 3 from Chicago. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
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President Barack Obama plans to deliver his farewell speech to the nation next week from his Chicago hometown, the president announced in a statement Monday.
The outgoing two-term president is scheduled to deliver the speech on Jan. 10 -- 10 days before Donald Trump takes office -- at McCormick Place, a convention center. Free tickets will be distributed Saturday.
In an email to supporters, Obama said the speech would give him "a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you've changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here."
The president, who has been in Hawaii on vacation since Dec. 16, said he was "just beginning to write my remarks."
Obama said he was following the model established by George Washington, the first president.
"In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people," Obama said. "And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead."
"Since 2009, we've faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger,'' he wrote. "That's because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding -- our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better."
He added: "So I hope you'll join me one last time. Because, for me, it's always been about you."
Obama got his start in politics as a state legislator. He gave his presidential victory speech at a massive rally in Chicago's Grant Park on Nov. 4, 2008. And his presidential library will also be located in Chicago.
The Obama family will stay in Washington until Sasha, 15, a sophomore at the private Sidwell Friends school, graduates from high school.
The First Family was headed back to the White House on Monday morning.
Obama is scheduled to travel to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to meet with lawmakers from his party to discuss plans for protecting the Affordable Care Act.

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