As Obama Leaves Office, He Revisits Those Who Helped Him Along The Way

A lot of familiar faces reappeared in the last month of Obama's presidency.

President Barack Obama isn’t just saying goodbye to the White House ― he’s also taking time to revisit many of those who were there for the journey to the top.

Obama kicked off his farewell tour in December 2016 with an appearance on “The Axe Files,” a podcast hosted by David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to the president. Axelrod first met Obama in the early 1990s and went on to help run his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

David Axelrod speaks with then-Sen. Barack Obama during a campaign flight from Boise, Idaho, to Minneapolis in Febr
David Axelrod speaks with then-Sen. Barack Obama during a campaign flight from Boise, Idaho, to Minneapolis in February 2008.

On the podcast, Obama reflected about the people on his team who will “stay my friends for life.”

“Some of them, I’ll collaborate with, like you, on various things in the future,” Obama said. “But to have them all in one place, to see how well they’ve worked together and gelled, it has been just an enormous privilege, and so I have been getting more sentimental about that.”

It wasn’t just people the president revisited. On Jan. 10, Obama stopped by Valois, his favorite restaurant in Chicago’s Hyde Park, for an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.

As The Chicago Maroon pointed out, the restaurant hosted breakfast victory parties after each of Obama’s election wins, and its menu includes a section called “President Obama’s Favorites.”

During the president’s last press conference on Jan. 18, he gave a nod to another key figure from his past ― reporter Christi Parsons, who covered Obama for the Chicago Tribune when he was an Illinois state senator.

“I’ve been knowing her since Springfield, Illinois, when I was a state senator and she listened to what I had to say,” Obama said as he called on Parsons, who now works as a White House reporter for the company that serves the Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other papers. “So the least I can do is give her the last question as president of the United States.”

On Jan. 19, just over 24 hours before the end of Obama’s time in office, Crooked Media’s “Pod Save America” ― a podcast hosted by four former Obama aides ― released an episode featuring Obama’s last interview.

Former speechwriters Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett, former senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and former national security spokesman Tommy Vietor sat down with the president to reflect on his time in office and their time working together.

”I’m proud of you guys,” Obama told his former aides. “The work continues.”



President Barack Obama's Final Farewell