The Barack Obama Presidency will officially come to an end on January 20, 2017 and Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. The legacy of the last eight years will be a mixed one, at best.
There is no question that Barack Obama is a historical figure and certainly had the chance to accomplish a great deal with large Democrat majorities and high approval ratings upon taking office. But much of what made his legacy are the words he used.
Here are the ten quotes that defined the Presidency of Barack Obama.
#10. “I continue to believe that Mr. Trump will not be President.” — February 16, 2016
President Obama spent much of his final year as a lame duck doing the best he could to remain relevant. Faced with the prospect of seeing his “legacy” obliterated, the President made a forceful case for opposing Trump.
President Obama’s refusal to accept the possibility of a Trump victory mirrored many in media and politics who didn’t see it coming.
#9. “The Cambridge police acted stupidly…” — July 22, 2009
The habit of wading into any issue where he felt his opinion should be heard, regardless of whether it was necessary or not, was standard for President Obama. The arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was an early example.
The comments deriding the police officers were the first in what became a number of public statements that many in law enforcement viewed as hostile towards police.
#8. “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us...if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front.” — August 20, 2012
The conflict in Syria has been an ongoing issue that President Obama has had to deal with and in one sentence he showed his hand. The tough talk for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was just that, talk.
Many faulted the President for not following through and felt that it contributed to the waning power of the United States abroad.
#7. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” — October 22, 2012
The infamous one-liner that President Obama leveled at 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney during their second televised debate was met with euphoria by the countless journalists in the tank for the President and mockery aimed at Romney for his belief that Russia was America’s greatest geopolitical foe.
This whole episode, now a victim of irony, shows just how complicit the media was in aiding President Obama for eight years…even at the expense of the truth.
#6. “I ended the war in Iraq, as I promised.” — September 18, 2012
Throughout the 2012 Presidential Election campaign, one repeated line from President Obama and his surrogates was about ending the war in Iraq.
At the time it was certainly a useful phrase but in the aftermath it became clear that the war was still ongoing, despite claims of stability that led Vice President Joe Biden to declare in 2010 that Iraq would be one of the “great achievements of this administration.”
#5. “I’m not on the ballot this fall... But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.” — October 2, 2014
President Obama gave a fierce defense of his policies just weeks before the 2014 midterms that would evaporate his party’s hold of the Senate and cement his status as a lame duck.
For all of President Obama’s talents, he’s been an abject failure when it comes to defending his policies when he was not directly on the ballot.
#4. “Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda.” — May 1, 2011
The killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden was a moment that many had been awaiting for for years. In a speech that lasted just over nine minutes, the world watched as President Obama delivered a blow to global terrorism and a message of justice for the thousands of 9/11 victims and their families.
#3. “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” — January 7, 2014
The President made this comparison when commenting on the capture of Fallujah in Iraq by ISIS. The seemingly callous dismissal of the terrorist group came to define the administration’s approach to ISIS/ISIL, allowing their territorial reach and financial strength to grow at will.
#2. “I won.” — January 23, 2009
The newly elected President threw out this gem of a quote “matter-of-factly” to then House GOP Leadership after hearing reservations about the stimulus package that was being negotiated on Capitol Hill. President Obama never learned how to work with Congress because he never felt he had to, and that is a key factor in why the power of the Executive Branch continued to grow during the Obama era.
#1. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period." — June 15, 2009
No quote will define the Obama Presidency more than the lies that sold the failed, and soon to be dismantled Obamacare. The legislation has continued to plague Democrats in two midterms and the 2016 Presidential election with disastrous results for the President and his party.
Senator Barack Obama told us all in February of 2008 that “words matter,” and in defining his Presidency, he could not be more correct.