White House previews President Obama's farewell speech

Published: Jan. 9, 2017 at 5:13 PM EST
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Folks in Chicago are snagging their tickets to President Obama’s farewell address. The outgoing commander-in-chief is scheduled to speak Tuesday night, in the Windy City, at the site of his 2012 election night party.

“It’s not just where he raised his family, it’s where he got his start as a community organizer," said White House Communications Director Jen Psaki.

While a presidential farewell address is a tradition dating back to George Washington, Psaki says it’s the first time a president has returned to his hometown to deliver it.

“He wants to talk about the journey that the country has been on, that he’s been on over the past eight years, progress that’s been made – everything from bringing the economy back from the brink to ensuring more than 20 million people have health insurance," she said.

As for his successor, Psaki didn’t say if President Obama would mention Donald Trump, but she did say he plans on talking about bringing the country together.

“As the president himself has said, he wants this to be a peaceful transition. It doesn’t mean they agree on everything. They certainly don’t agree on a lot of things," said Psaki.

“It’s never really been Obama’s style to talk about the country coming together. Maybe he gives lip service to it, but by and large, he’s been a president, I think it’s safe to say, who has helped pull the country apart to some degree," said Jeff Anderson, a senior fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute.

Anderson doesn’t believe it’s been a successful presidency.

“We’ve lived through the worst recovery from a recession since World War II, Obamacare has been a disaster, the president’s party has lost huge majorities in the House, Senate, and has lost the presidency," he said.

After the president’s big moment, the focus will turn to Trump on Wednesday, as he holds his first his first news conference since the election.