Obama outlines achievements, regrets in goodbye memo

Photo credit: The Peak
Photo credit: The Peak

Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday published a letter to the American people, outlining his proudest accomplishments and biggest regrets from his eight years in office.

Mr. Obama’s letter was entitled: ‘Cabinet Exit Memos: Our Record of Progress and the Work Ahead’.

The two-term president in the letter, bid Americans a long goodbye, proudly sold his record and shared his regrets in his farewell letter.

The letter was accompanied by 27 individual “exit memos” from top Cabinet and other administration officials.

Mr. Obama, in the letter, again, chronicled the challenges America and Americans faced when he was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009.

“Eight years later, an economy that was shrinking at more than eight per cent is now growing at more than three percent.

“Businesses that were bleeding unleashed the longest streak of job creation on record,” he wrote.

Mr. Obama also highlighted gains in the number of insured Americans under the Affordable Care Act, a reduction in dependence on foreign oil, an increase in the high school graduation rate, and a decrease in the poverty rate.

“Meanwhile, over the past eight years, no foreign terrorist organisation has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland.

“Plots had been disrupted. Terrorists like Osama bin Laden had been taken off the battlefield,” the outgoing president, who hands over to incoming president Donald Trump on Jan. 20, wrote.

He also wrote about his diplomatic milestones like the Iran nuclear deal and the warmth with Cuba.

In his letter, Mr. Obama, however, cited a few regrets, including a failure to pass sweeping gun legislation and immigration reform.

“For all that we’ve achieved, there’s still so much I wish we’d been able to do.

“From enacting gun safety measures to protect more of our kids and our cops from mass shootings like Newtown to passing common sense immigration reform that encourages the best and brightest from around the world to study, stay and create jobs in America,” he wrote.

“And for all the incredible progress our economy has made in just eight years; we still have more work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a dignified retirement.”

Mr. Obama used his goodbye letter to warn Mr. Trump against rolling back his signature on health care law, which the president-elect said would be his first order of business at the Oval Office.

“What won’t help is taking health care away from 30 million Americans, most of them white and working class.

“Denying overtime pay to workers, most of whom have more than earned it;

“Or privatising Medicare and Social Security and letting Wall Street regulate itself again – none of which middle-class Americans voted for,” Mr. Obama wrote.

In addition, the president authored a detailed, 56-page article for the Harvard Law Review – the publication he once led as a law student – on criminal justice reform.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday, said goodbye to the Armed Forces during a ceremony at nearby Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.

The outgoing president had also on Wednesday made what could be a parting visit to congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Obama would deliver his farewell address on January 10 “to say thank you” to Americans “and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here”. (NAN)


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