White House releases details on President Obama's farewell speech in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- President Barack Obama will give his final farewell speech on Jan. 10 at Chicago's McCormick Place, the White House confirmed Monday.

The event will be free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

Tickets will be distributed at McCormick Place on Saturday. The exact time of the ticket release has not yet been set. Only one ticket per person.

"This is where his roots are. This is where his biggest support is," said Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward).

When Obama speaks in Chicago, city that launched the 44th president's political career, it will be 10 days before Donald Trump takes over as president.

"I want to hear more about what his plans are for the future. He is still young, he has a lot to contribute to the country," said Krishna Tateneni.

"I think we are looking for him to reconnect with his original message, which was hope, and a change, and even though we're going into a different party that's going to lead this country we will still need that message of hope," said David Narain.

But some believe he didn't deliver on that message.

"There was a part of it that was disappointing, but the worst part of it, it brought out the racism in this country," said Mapun Gubwe.

The speech gives President Obama one last chance to define his presidency and how his two terms have reshaped American life before he passes the torch to Trump to guide a deeply divided country.

"I'm hopeful President Obama can deliver us a message as he did earlier this year in Springfield that will tell us to cross the aisle, to cross regions and work together," said State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-IL 13).

"I don't think it's the end of President Obama's leadership," Raoul said.

For more information, visit www.whitehouse.gov/farewell/info.

For those who cannot get tickets, the event will be live streamed on the White House Facebook page and on the White House website.

In an email from President Obama, he said he just started writing his speech, but he plans to make it a thank you to those who have been with him on what he's calling an amazing journey. He also wants to ensure the smooth transition of power.

In an email, Obama said, "Since 2009, we've faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger."

The president also said he'll offer some thoughts on where he thinks the country is going in the future.

"I think it's appropriate. He's from here. I think a lot of people here care about his presidency. It impacted a lot of people," said Emily Flaherty.

"It's history. It's definitely history to see an African American president do the things he's done. I would definitely want to be there I will be there if I'm not at work," said Malik Covington.


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. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead.

On Tuesday, January 10, I'll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can't be there in person.

I'm just beginning to write my remarks. But I'm thinking about them as 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.

Since 2009, we've faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. 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.

So I hope you'll join me one last time.

Because, for me, it's always been about you.

President Barack Obama
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