×

Obama to News Media in Final Press Conference: ‘America Needs You’

President Obama, giving his final press conference with less than 48 hours left in his presidency, gave praise to reporters who have covered him and called on the news media to cover the next administration “with the same tenacity that you showed us.”

“You are not supposed to be sycophants, you are supposed to be skeptics,” Obama told reporters gathered in the White House briefing room.

He even made a reference to reports that President-elect Trump’s team is considering changes that may move briefings out of the West Wing to a larger space, perhaps outside of the White House building itself to the Old Executive Office Building, which is on the White House grounds.

“Having you in this building has made us work better,” Obama said.

He said that a free press “is part of how this grand experiment in self-government works…America needs you and democracy needs you.”

The Obamas will travel to Palm Springs for a vacation after Trump is sworn in on Friday. But they will return to Washington to live in the Kalorama neighborhood to live until their youngest daughter completes high school.

Obama said that in the next year he planned to spend time with “my girls,” do some writing and would “be quiet, a little bit” with myself after the past eight years. But he said that there were certain occasions that may “merit me speaking out.” He gave a few examples of instances where he would be watching if “core values” of the country were under attack, such as if efforts were made to round up DREAMers, or the children of undocumented immigrants; “systemic discrimination,” attacks on the press and dissent; and voting rights.

He also told of some of the advice he gave to Trump. “This is a job of such magnitude that you can’t do it by yourself.” He said that meant finding advisers who would give him accurate and unbiased information.

“Reality has a way of biting back if you are not paying attention,” he said.

Obama talked extensively about voting rights, and called fears of voting fraud “fake news.”

“We are the only country in the advanced world that makes it harder to vote rather than easier,” he said.

Obama finished the press conference on a hopeful note about the future of the country.

“At my core, I think we’re going to be okay,” he said. “We just have to fight for it.  We have to work for it, and not take it for granted.  And I know that you will help us do that.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    Charlie Rose Sued for Sexual Harassment by Longtime Makeup Artist

    A makeup artist who worked for Charlie Rose for 22 years has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, accusing the former CBS and PBS host of years of unlawful behavior toward female employees. Gina Riggi alleges that Rose was verbally abusive with her and would often make derogatory comments about her weight. She also alleges that [...]

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Music Chief Rob Stringer on Sustaining Growth and Recovering From the 'Dark Times'

    The Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, now in its 28th year, gives top executives at major companies the opportunity to make their case to investors — and the Goldman analysts the opportunity to keep things on the up and up. While the analysts don’t necessarily grill the executives, they don’t lob softball questions either. That was [...]

  • Frank Grillo'Avengers: Endgame' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Matt Phelps Tapped as President of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo's Warparty

    Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan’s Warparty productikon banner has appointed Matt Phelps president of the company. Phelps will head the Los Angeles office and be responsible for overseeing all film and television projects. “We searched long and hard to find the right fit for Warparty and felt that Matt embodied everything that we were looking [...]

  • Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent,

    Jack Gilardi, Longtime ICM Partners Agent, Dies at 88

    Jack Gilardi, a longtime ICM Partners agent who represented such stars as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Charlton Heston and Shirley MacLaine, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88. Gilardi was known for his gentlemanly style, love of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his skill at representing top actors. He [...]

  • Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton

    Nexstar Completes Tribune Acquisition, Sean Compton to Head Programming

    Nexstar Media Group has become the nation’s largest owner of TV stations after completing its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune Media. The deal creates a broadcasting colossus with more than 200 stations serving more than 100 markets, although a number of stations will be divested to keep Nexstar in compliance with FCC ownership limits. Nexstar, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content