Obama to make final speech in Chicago

(WSVN) - Some say the speech launched the presidency of then-Junior Sen. Barack Obama, who was hardly a household name before stepping on the stage of the Democratic National Convention, in July of 2004.

“There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America, there is the United States of America,” he said that day.

Obama then spent eight years delivering speeches that shocked, comforted and rallied as commander in chief.

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” he told the American public in one TV speech.

But last fall’s election did not end in the president’s favor. So his farewell speech on Tuesday, a tradition that dates back to George Washington, will be watched for how he frames the past and, especially, the future.

“He has an opportunity to tell Americans one last time while president how should you behave as a citizen, what should you do, what are your responsibilities, what should you look out for,” said Michael Cornfield, a professor at George Washington University.

As of Monday afternoon, President Obama was still writing his address, a speech that, it is said, will not focus on policy or contrasting ideologies.

For the people who lined up to get a ticket in the bitterly cold early morning hours, Saturday, in Chicago, it was a once-in-a-lifetime moment not to pass up.

“So it was just a great thing to do to get out in the morning, this morning, and get in line and be the first one in,” Etta McChristian said.

“It’s well worth it. I got my golden ticket, and I can’t wait to see Obama,” Jay Rashid said.

“Part of history, and I’m just glad to be a part of it,” said Clea Braendel.

The speech will be delivered in an unconventional setting, away from the political confines of the nation’s capital. Instead, he will give it in his adopted hometown of Chicago, where his path to the White House began.

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