President Obama will give his farewell speech tonight in Chicago

Posted at 12:10 PM, Jan 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 12:18:33-05

President Obama is preparing to give his farewell speech from his home city of Chicago.

The speech will take place at McCormick Place and is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET.

LIVE STREAM | Watch the President's farewell speech here

"I'll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can't be there in person," he said in an email announcing the Tuesday, January 10 speech.

In giving a final speech, Obama is continuing in a tradition first started by the President George Washington in 1796 and continued by many outgoing presidents since. Most recently, President George W. Bush gave a farewell speech eight years ago from the East Room of the White House.

On Monday, the White House said Obama was still deeply involved in crafting and revising the speech, which White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest described on Friday as “forward-looking” and “heartfelt.”

Earnest, who read an early draft of the speech, said the president will “briefly” discuss the accomplishments of his own administration in the speech before turning to offer his thoughts on addressing “the challenges that lie ahead.”

“Most of those solutions, in the mind of the president, rest on the deeply held values that just about every American subscribes to,” Earnest said. “The president believes that obviously, that diversity of this country is a strength. And that for all our differences, there's much more unites us than that separates us. And, our country is stronger when we remember that principle and we draw upon those common values.”

In describing the president’s writing process, Earnest said the president dictates large portions of the speech to his speechwriters, who then work to refine drafts that the president then further revises.

“It is not uncommon for the president to take a typewritten piece of paper, and in his very compact left-handed script, to be including detailed edits on that piece of paper,” Earnest said.

The decision to return to Chicago for the speech is not only because it is his adopted hometown but also because it is significant as the place where his career in service, as a community organizer, began, Obama said.

“The running thread through my career has been the notion that when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together in collective effort, things change for the better,” the president said in his weekly address released Saturday.

The trip will also mark the last time the president is expected to travel outside of Washington, D.C., as president and the final time he will ride on Air Force One.

President Obama recently sent out a series of tweets on New Year's Day, in which he reflected on the past eight years.



He said in his email that while there has been a "fair share of challenges" since 2009 we've "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," he said. "So I hope you'll join me one last time. Because, for me, it's always been about you."