Taking his exit, Obama says presidency proved hope wins out

Obamas appeal for public's help in their life after the White House
WASHINGTON -- "After eight years in the White House, Michelle and I now rejoin all of you as private citizens," former president Barack Obama said, in a video posted Friday morning to YouTube.

Michelle Obama told viewers it was time for the family to take a little break, finally removed from the Washington bubble after two terms.

"We won't be online as much as you are used to seeing us," the former first lady said.

The Obamas also appealed for help as they transition to work on the new Obama Foundation, a center to be based on Chicago's South Side. It will be "more than a library and a museum," Barack Obama said, adding that "it will be a living and working center for citizenship."

The couple said they needed help, asking Americans to submit ideas about "your hopes, your beliefs about what we can achieve together," the president said.

You can learn more about the Obama Foundation at www.obama.org.

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Obama exited the presidency on Friday with a message of gratitude to Americans and a plea to his supporters not to be bowed by the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

"You proved the power of hope," Obama said before departing Washington as a newly minted ex-president.

In a farewell speech at Andrews Air Force Base before boarding the presidential plane for the last time, Obama said he'd been met by skepticism and doubt throughout his eight years in office by some who "didn't think we could pull it off." Obama said his supporters had transcended the obstacles posed by entrenched political powers by finding bonds of unity with Americans of all stripes.

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Obama speaks to supporters as Trump signs his first executive order as president.

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President Obama waves farewell before leaving on a helicopter.

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The Obamas leave the U.S. Capitol on a helicopter.

"I could not be prouder. This has been the privilege of my life, and I know I speak for Michelle as well. And we look forward to continuing this journey with all of you and I can't wait to see what you do next. And I promise you I'll be right there with you," he told the crowd.

Obama leaves Oval Office for final time

"Michelle and I, we've just been your front-men and women," Obama said. "It has always been about you, and all the amazing things that happened over these last 10 years are really just a testament to you."

Then Obama, a broad grin on his face, said goodbye to a crowd of 1,800 gathered to bid him farewell. He stopped to give hugs and handshakes to staffers and military members who had served his administration over two terms.

His last day in office started like any other: in the White House residence with his family. Yet by mid-morning, Obama and his wife were welcoming Trump and incoming first lady Melania Trump to the White House for a reception before accompanying them to the Capitol for Trump's swearing-in.

If Obama was feeling bitter about Trump's victory, he didn't show. He wrote a welcome note to Trump that he left in the Oval Office, and smiled as he stood alongside Trump at his swearing-in.

"This is just a little pit stop," Obama said minutes later at the air base. "This is not a period, this is a comma in the continuing story of being an American."

Trump, too, avoided any negativity about the man whose citizenship he once questioned.

"We are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition," Trump said in his inaugural address. "They have been magnificent."

Obama and his wife boarded a helicopter and flew to the air force base to speak to supporters in an airplane hangar. He and Mrs. Obama then walked a red carpet up to the steps of the presidential aircraft that ferried him on so many trips around the world. This time, though, it was designated a "special mission" instead of Air Force One, because the sitting president was not on board.

Obama and his family were to arrive later Friday in Palm Springs, California, where they'll have their first vacation as private citizens. The Obamas will return on an unspecified date to Washington. The family has rented a home where they plan to live until youngest daughter Sasha finishes high school.

There was one final throwback to Obama's celebrated campaign chant as he exited the national stage. It started as a shout from supporters as Obama arrived at a base, then was repeated by the president as he finished his speech.

"Yes we did," Obama said. "Yes we can."

Students at Michelle Obama School honor former president's legacy

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Students at the Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts in Park Forrest, Ill., celebrated Friday's inauguration by honoring the legacy of Former President Barack Obama.

Students at a Chicago school named after the Obamas watched Friday's events with great interest.

Students at the Michelle Obama School of Technology and the Arts in Park Forrest, Ill., celebrated Friday's inauguration by honoring the legacy of Former President Barack Obama.

"When a change happens it's not always a bad thing. You don't always have to worry about it and complain about it. It's something that could be good for everybody," Tristan Smith, an eighth grader, said.

The school and the Barack Obama School of Leadership and STEM are believed to be the first schools in the nation to be named after the former president and former first lady.

"He showed us to never give up on your dreams and you can do anything you dream to," Janayih Irving, an eighth grader said.

The kids not only marked this historic day by dance and song, but also with a performance re-enacting the moment America elected its first black president.

"We know they can have a lesson with their teachers, but what they really need is to open the classroom walls and see the world," Caletha White, instructional director at the Michelle Obama School, said.

"Our eighth graders were babies when President Obama was inaugurated, so they've never even seen one, so they needed to see that," Dr. Cheryl Muench, co-principal at the Michelle Obama School, said.

Eighth grader Jeremiah Moss portrayed Obama as the school band played "Hail to the Chief."

"He was the first African-American president and that's a big deal in the community," Moss said.

The fourth through eighth graders at the predominately minority school watched the inauguration in their classrooms as a part of their farewell to the outgoing president.

But for Joanna Mahaya Friday was a chance to see Democracy in action.

"So we thought it would be important to have what we say because we are going to be the future of America," Mahaya said.

KTRK's Brandon de Hoyos contributed to this report. null
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