President Barack Obama gave an emotional speech on the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs and the environment Tuesday night in Chicago
Thousands gathered at McCormick Place -- just miles from the Obamas home in the Hyde Park neighborhood -- to hear the president’s farewell speech.
“It was in neighborhoods not far from here where I began working with church groups in the shadows of closed steel mills,” Obama said. “It was on these streets where I witnessed the power of faith, and quiet dignity of working people in the face of struggle and loss. This is where I learned that faith only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.”
In 2008, Obama gave his acceptance speech in front of nearly 250,000 people gathered in nearby Grant Park. In 2012, Obama spoke to a much smaller crowd at McCormick Place after winning reelection.
The president returned to McCormick Place Tuesday night to an atmosphere more typical of a rock concert. Fans were lined up Tuesday afternoon to get a prime seat, and the event included performances from Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder and local singer BJ The Chicago Kid.
Laura Vinyard and Gloria Robinson at President Obama's Farewell speech in Chicago. (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)
Below are photos and quotes from the president's farewell speech at McCormick Place in Chicago.
“Our beloved commander in chief, home person, native representative of Chicago, we have to go ahead and represent,” Johnson said. “With so much negativity that has been going around, we had to be one of those individuals to support him and let him know that we appreciate everything he has done for us … past, present and afterwards."
In front of Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama, the president summed up successes from the past eight years and offered thoughts on the political landscape going forward.
"Hello, Chicago. It's great to be home."
"Democracy does not require uniformity."
"Race remains a potent, and often divisive, force in our society."
Congressman Bobby Rush was in attendance. As an upcoming politician, Obama sought to unseat Rep. Bobby Rush in 2000.
"It's been the honor of my lifetime to be commander in chief."
"I believe the future is in good hands."