January 10, 2017 / 9:49 PM / 7 months ago

Obama to use farewell address to burnish legacy, look ahead

WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will give a farewell speech to the nation on Tuesday in an effort to burnish his legacy, encourage demoralized supporters and prod the incoming Trump administration to keep some of his signature achievements in place.

Obama will deliver the speech at 8 p.m. CST (0200 GMT Wednesday) in Chicago, where he kicked off his political career and started a family. His wife, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden will attend the speech at McCormick Place, the city's main convention center.

The Democratic president, who leaves the White House on Jan. 20 after eight years in office, has said he plans to reflect on his administration's achievements while looking forward in his address.

His future and that of his top policy achievements were jolted by the Nov. 8 election of Republican Donald Trump, who has threatened to undo Obama's actions on issues ranging from advancing healthcare reform to curbing climate change.

Obama has encouraged Trump to rethink some of his views on repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, while mobilizing Democrats to stand up for the law under a Trump administration and a Republican-controlled Congress.

During his campaign for the presidency, Trump promised to dismantle the law, ban Muslims temporarily from entering the United States and build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico - all policies Obama opposes.

Obama plans to remain in Washington for the next two years while his younger daughter, Sasha, finishes high school. He has indicated he wants to give Trump the same space that his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, gave Obama after leaving office by not maintaining a high public profile.

That may be difficult if Trump makes good on his plans to take apart many of Obama's signature achievements. Democrats, lacking a national leader with Obama's departure and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's election loss, are eager for Obama to stay involved on some level.

Obama is likely during his remarks to encourage supporters to keep fighting for issues he championed in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns on the environment, gay rights and economic equality. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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