erik lundegaard

Wednesday January 18, 2017

Pres. Obama's Final Press Conference: 'I Think We're Going to Be OK'

Obama's last press conference

Take a good long look, America. You're not going to have a president this smart, articulate, kind, open-minded, willing to bridge gaps, for a long, long time. 

Via the New York Times, here's the last question of the last press conference for the best president in my lifetime. You should watch the whole thing. We shall not see his like again: 

QUESTION: The first lady put the stakes of the 2016 election in very personal terms, in a speech that resonated across the country. And she really spoke the concerns of a lot women, LGBT, people of color, many others. And — so I wonder now, how you and the first lady on talking to your daughters about the meaning of this election and how you interpret it for yourself and for them?

OBAMA: You know, every parent brags on their daughters or their sons. You know, if your mom and dad don't brag on you, you know you got problems.


But man, my daughters are something. And they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up. And, so these days when we talk, we talk as parent to child, but also we learn from them. And, I think it was really interesting to see how Malia and Sasha reacted. They were disappointed.

They paid attention to what their mom said during the campaign and believed it because it's consistent with what we have tried to teach them in our household and what I've tried to model as a father with their mom and what we've asked them to expect from future boyfriends or spouses. But what we've also tried to teach them is resilience and we've tried to teach them hope and that the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.

So, you get knocked down, you get up, brush yourself off and you get back to work. And that tended to be their attitude. Both of them have grown up in an environment where I think they could not help but be patriotic, to love this country deeply, to see that it's flawed but see that they have responsibilities to fix it. And that they need to be active citizens. And they have to be in a position to talk to their friends and their teachers and their future co-workers in ways that try to shed some light as opposed to just generate a lot of sound and fury. And I expect that's what they're going to do. They do not — they don't mope.

They also don't get cynical about it. They have not assumed because their side didn't win, or because some of the values that they care about don't seem as if they were vindicated, that automatically America has somehow rejected them or rejected their values. I don't think they feel that way.

I think they have in part through osmosis, in part through dinner time conversations, appreciated the fact that this is a big complicated country and democracy is messy, it doesn't always work exactly the way you might want. It doesn't guarantee certain outcomes. But if you're engaged and you're involved, then there are a lot more good people than bad in this country and there's a core decency to this country and —  they've got to be a part of lifting that up. And I expect they will be.

And in that sense, they are representative of this generation that makes me really optimistic. I've had some off-the-cuff conversations with some journalists where they said, “You seem like you're OK, but really, what are you really thinking?” 


And I've said, “No, I believe in this country. I believe in the American people. I believe that people are more good than bad. I believe tragic things happen. I think there's evil in the world, but I think at the end of the day, if we work hard and if we're true to those things in us that feel true and feel right, that the world gets a little better each time. That's what this presidency has tried to be about. And I see that in the young people I've worked with. I couldn't be prouder of them.

And so, this is not just a matter of ”no drama Obama,“ this is what I really believe. It is true that behind closed doors, I curse more than I do publicly...


... and sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does. But at my core, I think we're going to be OK. We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted. And I know that you will help us do that. Thank you very much, Press Corps, good luck.


Obama has always been more optimistic than I. To me, that ”END" at the end of the transcript feels nothing but ominous.

During the presser, Obama did take some shots at the GOP for their modern-day Jim Crow campaigns to try to stop folks (folks who generally vote Democrat) from voting. There was some fire in the eyes then. I'd like to see more of that whenever Pres. Obama has had enough quiet time to reflect on all that's happened. That's what he said he wants to do—and I want him to do it for him. I wish him all the best. He deserves it. He was a better president than we are a people. But we still need him. More than he knows. 

Posted at 06:04 PM on Wednesday January 18, 2017 in category Politics  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard