President Obama promises optimistic farewell speech Tuesday night

By Geoff Bennett, Spectrum News Networks Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2017, 9:46 PM EST

President Barack Obama is set to deliver his final address to the nation Tuesday night — ten days before Donald Trump is sworn-in as his successor. White House aides say Obama will use his farewell speech to defend his accomplishments and lay out his hopes for the future. 

  • President Obama to deliver farewell address Tuesday at 8 p.m.
  • White House: President's speech will be optimistic
  • Hundreds will see the president's speech live in his hometown of Chicago
  • IN-DEPTH: D.C. Digest | The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump

Nearly every president since George Washington has delivered some form of farewell address, and President Obama continues that tradition.

The man whose soaring speeches helped him win the White House eight years ago will deliver his final speech to the nation as president.

"This is really a forward-looking speech about how people can continue to rise up together and make change happen," White House Communications Director Jen Psaki said.

The president will defend what he views as his major achievements: including his signature health care law and his efforts to fight climate change and turn the economy around.

Even though Obama’s successor – President-elect Donald Trump – threatens to undo Obama’s progressive legacy, do not expect to hear mention of it Tuesday night.

"This isn’t a political speech," Psaki said. "It’s not even a policy speech. This is an optimistic speech."

The president is delivering the speech in Chicago, the city where his improbable rise to become America's first black president all began.

"I chose Chicago not only because it’s my home – where I met my wife and we started a family -- but also because it’s really where my career in public service began."

"This is unique," said White House Communications Director Psaki. "As far as we know there hasn’t been a president who’s gone back to their home town (to deliver a farewell address) and this just shows you how important Chicago is to the president."

This weekend, hundreds of people braved the bitter cold in Chicago to get a free ticket to see the farewell speech in person — as Barack Obama closes out his presidential career.