Barack Obama will give his final speech as President of the United States to thousands of well-wishers in Chicago tonight – the city where he celebrated his ascent to power eight years ago.

His speechwriters have been tasked with crafting an address that will feel bigger than politics and strike a chord with all Americans, including those who voted for Donald Trump.

In a Facebook post previewing his speech, Mr Obama wrote: We’ve run our leg in a long relay of progress, knowing that our work will always be unfinished. And we’ve reaffirmed the belief that we can make a difference with our own hands, in our own time.

Chicagoans braved harsh temperatures to queue for tickets to the now sold-out event, and the President’s farewell speech is due to begin at 2am UK time on Wednesday.

His lead speechwriter, Cody Keenan, said: It’s not going to be an anti-Trump speech, it’s not going to be a red meat, rabble rousing thing, it will be statesmanlike but it will also be true to him. It will tell a story.

Mr Obama is leaving office as a relatively popular president – with opinion polls giving him a favourability rating among voters of between 55% and 57%.

But Americans remain deeply divided about his legacy.

Fewer than half say they are better off than they were when the Democrat entered the White House in 2009 – and two-thirds of Americans believe he was unable to keep his election promises.

Presidential farewell speeches have been a tradition throughout America’s history – but according to Mr Keenan, every departing leader takes a totally different approach to their address.

For (Mr Obama), as someone who started as a community organiser, whose campaign was powered by young people, ordinary people, we decided we wanted to go back to Chicago, he told the AFP news agency.


(c) Sky News 2017: President Barack Obama prepares for farewell speech in Chicago

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