President Obama, in his last days in the White House (14 days, according to the #OneObama countdown clock, at the time this went to press) continues on his “greatest hits” tour, that includes the actual, factual, ways he has improved the lives of Americans in the last eight years.
In an overview letter released on Thursday morning, the President outlined his accomplishments, and also had each member of his Cabinet release individual Exit Memos on the progress made by their agencies over the past eight years.
Not only that, the reports include the agency head’s vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains in order to achieve that vision, not only a defense of his legacy as Commander-in-Chief, but perhaps as a wishful blueprint for the next administration.
The President began his note with the beginning of this presidency, which, if you can recall, was a “perilous” time for the country, one in which we were on the brink of economic collapse. He continues:
“A spiraling financial crisis threatened to plunge an economy in recession into a deep depression. The very heartbeat of American manufacturing – the American auto industry – was on the brink of collapse. In some communities, nearly one in five Americans were out of work. Nearly 180,000 American troops were serving in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the mastermind of the worst terror attack on American soil remained at large. And on challenges from health care to climate change, we’d been kicking the can down the road for way too long.
But in the depths of that winter, on January 20, 2009, I stood before you and swore a sacred oath. I told you that day that the challenges we faced would not be met easily or in a short span of time – but they would be met. And after eight busy years, we’ve met them – because of you.”
In the letter, the President presented graphs on how he reduced the unemployment rate, lessened homelessness of veterans, increased the high school graduation rate, and lessened our dependence on foreign oil, among many other accomplishments. He also touted his marriage equality action, and of course, the fact that millions more Americans now have health insurance than when he first came into office.
Additionally, each Cabinet member released its own Exit Memo, which can be read in entirety below: