Barack Obama Addresses His Eight-Year Legacy in a Powerful Departing Letter

The best of times, the worst of times.

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Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama has outlined both the highs and lows of his eight years in the White House in an open letter that ended on a note of positivity. With Donald Trump‘s inauguration just around the corner, the essay served as a vivid reminder of Obama’s legacy and came accompanied by 27 “exit memos” from top Cabinet officials. Reflecting on his navigation on the global financial crisis, the introduction of the groundbreaking Affordable Healthcare Act and improvements in a list of fields from renewable energy to LGBT rights, he rounded up by claiming that “a new future is ours to write.” Read the introduction below and see the full letter on Medium here.

To my fellow Americans,

Eight years ago, America faced a moment of peril unlike any we’d seen in decades.

A spiraling financial crisis threatened to plunge an economy in recession into a deep depression. The very heartbeat of American manufacturing — the American auto industry — was on the brink of collapse. In some communities, nearly one in five Americans were out of work. Nearly 180,000 American troops were serving in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the mastermind of the worst terror attack on American soil remained at large. And on challenges from health care to climate change, we’d been kicking the can down the road for way too long.

But in the depths of that winter, on January 20, 2009, I stood before you and swore a sacred oath. I told you that day that the challenges we faced would not be met easily or in a short span of time — but they would be met. And after eight busy years, we’ve met them — because of you.

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