U.S. President Barack Obama wishes Americans a Happy New Year, talks about his legacy and says keeping the country moving forward ''is a task that falls to all of us.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday (December 31) wished a Happy New Year to Americans and praised what he said were the many accomplishments of his presidency. In his weekly address, Obama urged Americans to stay united in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential elections. "Just eight years ago, as I prepared to take office, our economy teetered on the brink of depression," said Obama. "Eight years later, you've told a different story. We've turned recession into recovery." "Twenty million more Americans know the financial security of health insurance. Our kids' high school graduation rate is at an all-time high," the president said. "We've made extraordinary progress as a country these past eight years. And here's the thing: none of it was inevitable. It was the result of tough choices we made, and the result of your hard work and resilience. And to keep America moving forward is a task that falls to all of us," Obama said. "It's been the privilege of my life to serve as your President. And as I prepare to take on the even more important role of citizen, know that I will be there with you every step of the way to ensure that this country forever strives to live up to the incredible promise of our founding - that all of us are created equal, and all of us deserve every chance to live out our dreams," the president said. When Obama leaves office on Jan. 20 after eight years, several of his major initiatives will still hang in the legal balance, meaning the U.S. courts and his successor, Donald Trump, will play a major role in shaping his legacy. Ongoing legal challenges by Republican-governed states and business groups are targeting Obama's signature healthcare law, his plan to combat climate change, a key immigration initiative, his transgender rights policy, his "net neutrality" internet rules, overtime pay for workers and several other policies.