Post-presidency, Barack Obama seeks a quieter life

After eight years leading the United States, Barack Obama is looking to spend the year being quiet and not "hearing myself talk so darn much".   

Mr Obama has given his final news conference with journalists before his successor, Donald Trump, is inaugurated on January 20.

In it, he was asked what he planned to do now that he'll shortly be out of the limelight.

"It was important for me to take some time to process this amazing experience that we've gone through.

"I want to do some writing, I want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darn much, I want to spend more time with my girls - those are my priorities for this year."

But soon-to-be citizen Obama said there will be times under the Trump administration where the country's "core values may be at stake".

These included:

  • "systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion"
  • "explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote"
  • "institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press"
  • "efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids and send them someplace else when they love this country".

It was the latter which Mr Obama said would be "something that would merit me speaking out".

Mr Obama was also asked about his conversation with the President-elect and what advice he'd given him.

He said Mr Trump's views will be shaped by those he surrounds himself with.

"This is a job of such magnitude that you can't do it by yourself. You're enormously reliant on a team, your cabinet, your senior White House staff all the way to fairly junior folks… so how you put a team together… is probably the most useful and constructive advice that I've been able to give him.

"If you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down, or if you're only hearing from people who agree with you on everything or if you haven't created a process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies and promises you've made, that's when you start making mistakes."

Mr Obama and First Lady Michelle will be among those attending the inauguration in Washington DC, and he's looking forward to at least one thing.

"I've been checking the weather and heartened by the fact it won't be as cold as my first inauguration, because that was cold."

The Obamas will head to Palm Springs for a holiday following the ceremony.


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