Michelle Obama smiles as her husband pays tribute to her during his farewell speech

The President called his wife his 'best friend' as he said goodbye to the American people

Caroline Mortimer
Wednesday 11 January 2017 13:48
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Barack Obama pays tearful tribute to wife Michelle in farewell address

Barack Obama has paid tribute to his his wife Michelle in his farewell address to the American people – with the First Lady mouthing "I love you" in response.

The outgoing President delivered his final speech before handing over power to President-elect Donald Trump where he called his wife his "best friend" and thanked her for making the White House "a place that belongs to everybody".

He said: "Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side. For the past 25 years you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend.

"You took on a role you didn’t ask for, and you made it your own, with grace and with grit and with style and good humour.

"You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody. And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.

"So, you have made me proud and you have made the country proud."

Ms Obama, who was given a standing ovation when mentioned by her husband, was accompanied by her elder daughter Malia, Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife Jill.

The President also praised his daughters, his youngest Sasha was unable to attend due to school commitments, saying they had worn the "burden of years in the spotlight so easily" – and he was prouder of them than anything else.

His speech follows Ms Obama's final address as First Lady last week when she made a tearful defence of the nation's diversity and told America's youth that "the country belongs to you".

She said "our glorious diversity...is not a threat to who we are. It makes us who we are" and added that she hoped she had "made you proud".

In December, Ms Obama ruled out her own run for the White House saying her husband's eight years had been "long enough" and she did not want her children to be forced to make more sacrifices.

She said: “I think some people think it's serious, but some people are just hopeful.”

“I don't make stuff up, I'm not coy. I'm pretty direct. If I was interested in it, I would say. I don't believe in playing games.”

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