President Barack Obama returned to his adopted hometown of Chicago on Tuesday to defend his legacy and urge Americans to protect democracy from challenges both at home and abroad, in his final public speech before he leaves office.
"Yes We Can. Yes We Did," he said, echoing the slogan of his 2008 presidential campaign, as he was joined on stage at McCormick Place by first lady Michelle Obama and elder daughter Malia, after delivering his final presidential address from the city where he launched his political career.
Obama drew a standing ovation even before his remarks had begun from a crowd of 18,000 Chicagoans, supporters, cabinet secretaries and White House staff.
The moment was bittersweet, as Obama reflected on eight years in office, pointing to economic accomplishments along with the legalization of same-sex marriage, the opening of diplomatic ties with Cuba and an international nuclear deal with Iran as developments that would have seemed unbelievable when he entered office in 2009.
Republican Donald Trump, who will take office after Obama on January 20, hopes to roll back many of those accomplishments and the crowd booed when Obama mentioned the impending power transition.
"Four more years," some chanted, echoing cries from his 2012 re-election bid.
In his speech, Obama avoided directly criticizing Trump but denounced the divisiveness that has characterized U.S. politics and urged an inclusiveness that runs counter to much of Trump's rhetoric.
Attempts to divide Americans along with rancor and coarse political dialogue weaken the ties that bind the nation, he said.
"It's up to all of us to make sure we can meet the many challenges we still face," Obama said.
The United States contained great potential, Obama said, "but that potential will only be realized if our democracy works, only if our politics better reflects the decency of our people - only if all of us, regardless of party affiliation help restore the sense of common purpose we so badly need right now."