Nov 15, 2016 (WASHINGTON) President Barack Obama held his last press conference as President of the United States. It spanned many topics. The conference was held in the White House before he left on his last foreign trip as President, which will include speaking and calming nerves, abroad.
The president said, “my goal is on January 21st, America is in the strongest position possible, and hopefully for the next president to dwell on it.” He gave the message as clearly as it could be. President-elect Donald J Trump won the election, and he will be the next president.
Obama also spoke about continuity. He said. “there is enormous continuity that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world. That will continue.”
Obama emphasized that in his conversation with Trump, the president-elect “expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships.” This is a message Obama is taking to Europe. That the incoming president is committed to the NATO and the transatlantic alliance. He added, that this message is important, “there is no weakening of resolve” to allies.
This is a critical message to foreign capitals if we are to maintain unity with allies. The president also reminded the people that the strength of the United States does not just come from a strong military, but also from our ideas.
The president also emphasized that leaving both the Paris climate Accord and the Iran agreement would destabilize the world.
The Political System
“How we organize politically I think is something we should spend some time thinking about. I believe that we have better ideas, but I also believe that ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them.”
he went to criticize his party. “Given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grassroots level. I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated I should win Iowa. But because I spent 87 days going to every small town, fair, fish fry, VFW Hall, And there are some counties where I might have lost, but maybe I lost by 20 points instead of 50 points.”
He rebuked Secretary Hillary Clinton’s campaign that chose to ignore areas of the electorate, in what turned to be the crumbling blue wall. Obama essentially called back for an aggressive 50 state strategy. What was lacking in his message was a real appeal to a populist message, which incidentally is what won Trump the White House.
He also was clear that Trump was going to be the next president and that people need to accept that.
This criticism from the lame duck president also reflects the palace intrigue already at play within the party. It was, in some ways, an endorsement of Howard Dean, who first enacted the 50 state strategy. We shall see what happens.
It was also a call for national unity and voters, regardless of who they voted for, to accept the result of the election.