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. 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."
His delivery was forceful for the most part, but by the end he was wiping away tears as the crowd embraced him one last time. He and wife Michelle hugged former aides and other audience members long after the speech ended.Reflecting on the corrosive recent political campaign, Obama said America's great "potential will be realised 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."