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Looking back on 44: AirTalk debates President Obama’s legacy




U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House December 16, 2016 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House December 16, 2016 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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As of January 20, President Barack Obama will no longer call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue his home.

His second term has all but ended, President-elect Trump is transitioning into power, and now President Obama faces the post-presidency world after holding the most powerful job in it.

So how will history remember President Obama? Being the first black president will no doubt be a major part of his legacy, but how and what role it will play is largely up for debate. There are, of course, his legislative accomplishments and sometimes controversial directives, from the Affordable Care Act to the auto industry bailout to his executive actions on immigration. As commander-in-chief, Obama pioneered military drone use and greenlit a risky operation in Pakistan that ultimately led to the death of Osama bin Laden.

But some will remember him for promises left unkept -- think closing Guantanamo and pulling the U.S. out of Afghanistan. Others may remember how race relations seemed to degrade during his tenure, and point to incidents in places like Ferguson or Charlotte or Baton Rouge or Dallas. And others still will remember him for his captivating speaking abilities and overall good humor, whether it was poking fun at himself while slow-jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon or throwing zingers around the ballroom at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.

How do you think history will remember President Obama? Will he be seen more or less favorably as time passes? What will you remember about his presidency?

Guests:

Douglas Brinkley, presidential historian & professor of history at Rice University; Fellow, James Baker, III Institute for Public Policy

Christopher Caldwell, senior editor at The Weekly Standard; he is also a regular contributor to The Financial Times and Slate