Watch President Obama’s speech on Wednesday at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
It’s customary for American President’s to leave office and remain silent, receding into civilian life while the new President begins to lead the nation, for better or worse. President Obama promised to follow suite, unless he felt core American values were in danger of compromise. President Obama believe’s that President Trump’s travel ban is such a danger, and he’s issued a statement through Kevin Lewis, his spokesman, to address the issue.
Though he doesn’t mention the travel ban directly, his rhetoric makes it clear that the former President, like many, finds the ban to be an example of religious discrimination: people of the muslim faith are primarily targeted by this action. However, the Trump administration denies this accusation.
It’s striking that President Obama’s statement comes so close to his departure. The ink on Donald Trump’s first executive orders is hardly dry, in only the second full week of his Presidency. And yet, according to President Obama, American values have already been challenged, to a degree necessary for an intervention.
Here’s the text of President Obama’s statement:
“President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country. In his final official speech as President, he spoke about the important role of citizen and how all Americans and how all Americans have a responsibility to be the guardians of our democracy—-not just during an election but every day.
Citizens exercising their constitutional right to assemble, organize and have their voices heard by their elected officials is exactly what we expect to see when American values are at stake.
With regard to comparison’s to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion.”
Photo: CNN (screen capture)
President Obama delivered his final press conference today in a room packed with enthusiastic correspondents. The President was very generous with his time, and at ease with reporters, in stark contrast to President Elect Trump’s first press conference, which was fraught with tension.
President Obama proved once again that he will be a tough act to follow. He was dignified, thoughtful, courteous, and eloquent, with moments of understated humor. He looks forward to time to reflect and take stock of his service as President, after his long tenure in office, but acknowledged that some serious political, social and environmental issues will get him back out, as a private citizen, advocating for change.
Video: Youtube.com / The WhiteHouse
An open letter to President Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
We, the management team of Face Activities, thank you for your years of patriotic, dedicated and intelligent service to the United States. We are writing respectfully to ask that, in the final days of your administration, you publicly thank and honor another patriotic American, who has worked tirelessly over the course of a life time, in your administration as well as before, in order to serve the country and help ordinary folks live better lives—-former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As your Secretary of State, as a Senator from New York, as First Lady under William Jefferson Clinton’s administration, and during her years as a lawyer and activist, we believe Secretary Clinton exemplifies the best values and traditions of a public servant. Her tireless work to help women and children, and promote civil rights and justice, cry out for recognition.
We are sad to recall how unfairly she was treated in the recent election, a hapless victim of fake news and declining standards in public discourse, and a general decline in critical thinking standards. We hope you can uplift her legacy, reminding the American People, and the world, of her many strengths, and important contributions, and good character.
Yesterday was a wonderful day, when you honored Vice President Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his dedication and contributions to our society. We hope that there is some way, at your discretion, to honor and praise Hillary Clinton for her years of assiduous and devoted service to the people.
Thank you very much, Mr. President, for your time. We wish you and your family well in your new adventure, returning to civilian life.
The management team of Face Activities
President Obama surprised Vice President Joe Biden by awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s top civilian honor, during a ceremony secretly scheduled to honor the Vice President for his years of service (Joe Biden thought it was merely a friendly gathering to toast senior staff with the First Lady and his wife.) The vice president was moved to tears during the poignant award ceremony.
In the words of President Obama:
“For your faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and for your lifetime of service that will endure through the generations, I’d like to ask the military aide to join us on stage. For my final time as President, I am pleased to award our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Video: youtube creative commons
The Vice President praised the President’s generous spirit, modestly stating that the award was more than he deserved. The President in turn praised Biden highly, acknowledging their close friendship, and joking about their “bromance,” which is frequently a humorous item in the press.
Joe Biden, 74 years old, is the 47th Vice President of the United States, served for 47 years as a U.S. Senator from Delaware (he was first elected at the age of 29, making him one of the youngest politicians to be elected to that high office.)
President Obama will deliver a farewell speech to the nation tonight, 9 pm ET, live from Chicago. Watch it here!
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria has compiled an excellent documentary, with interviews, analyzing President Barack Obama’s legacy. It’s challenging to summarize 8 long, event-filled years into one hour and forty-four minutes of video, but Zakaria is a seasoned journalist and expert interviewer, and does a great job.
Photo: CNN (screen capture)
Watch President Obama field questions from reporters on issues of the day, including the war in Syria, the Russian e-mail Hacking scandal investigation (which dominated the press conference) and Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, during his last press conference of his final term in office. President Obama is an excellent speaker and a quick thinker on his feet, so dealing with the press in his confident, no nonsense manner has always been his strong suit.
President Obama had stern words for Putin’s Russia. Though he didn’t directly name Vladimir Putin in the cyber attacks, he strongly implied that the Russian leader had a hand in the hacking leading to the November 18th election upset, saying that the highest levels of Russian government were involved. He also said that he confronted Putin at the Group 20 Summit in China, and told him to “knock it off.”
CNN / Youtube
On Tuesday at 4:10 pm, at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, President Obama delivered his final address on counterterrorism, summarizing his administrations strategy. On the recorded video the President’s speech begins at 22:16:
Photo: The White House (screen capture / whitehouse.gov)
President Obama pardoned his last two turkeys for the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday. This quaint tradition dates back a very long time. One or two gobblers are symbolically pardoned, and sent away to live out their lives in peace on a farm, rather than becoming someone’s holiday dinner. Turkey, of course, is the iconic Thanksgiving Day food enjoyed around the country, typically with stuffing and cranberry sauce, along with other fixings and side dishes.
Photo: CNN / Youtube (screen capture)