Tonight, in the state where he began his political career as a community organizer, taught constitutional law, became a state senator, then a US senator, announced his candidacy for president, and declared victory (twice), Barack Obama will address the American people for one last time.
The presidential farewell tradition began in 1796 with the first US president, George Washington. He asked his countrymen to be wary of the dangers of political factions—advice that they have yet to heed. If you’ve seen Hamilton or listened to its soundtrack, you’re probably familiar with Washington’s address, which Alexander Hamilton helped draft.
Perhaps, in 200 years or so, a popular musical will eulogize Obama’s remarks tonight. According to White House officials, he’s expected to “pass the baton,” calling on American citizens to fight for their democracy and reaffirm the values on which the country was founded. He will also, naturally, tout some of his administration’s accomplishments, which he hopes will not be undone by the incoming president, Donald Trump.
Obama’s speech will begin at 9pm ET, and should last around an hour.
Obama will deliver his address in front of a crowd of thousands at McCormick Place, a large convention center in Chicago, Illinois. It’s only a few miles from Grant Park, the site where Obama gave his first presidential victory address in 2008.
ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and other cable news channels will carry the speech live on television.