Not long ago, President Obama had expected to use his farewell address to the nation to celebrate his administration’s achievements before handing them off to a Democratic successor.
Instead, in the wake of Donald Trump’s stunning upset victory, a president whose political rise was propelled by his ability to inspire hope arrived in Chicago on Tuesday night facing a new reality. Tempering the disappointment of his supporters and soothing their anxiety has become, in his waning days in office, Obama’s last, unexpected campaign.
“For every two steps forward,” Obama told the crowd at the McCormick Place arena, “it often feels we take one step back.”
Obama took the stage amid an air of nostalgia, joined by his wife and daughter, the vice president, a gaggle of former aides and 18,000 supporters who braved frigid temperatures this week to score a ticket. Familiar campaign anthems from U2 and Bruce Springsteen played at the arena where Obama…