U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he leaves the podium after speaking to journalists during his last news conference of the year at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 16. Obama will give his farewell address in his hometown of Chicago at 9 p.m. ET today. Here's a look back at the man who has served eight years in the White House.

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(Carlos Barria/Reuters)

A keynote speaker hits the national stage

While still an Illinois senator, Obama first came to national prominence at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, where he gave an electrifying keynote speech. Youthful and charismatic, he was the son of a Kenyan father and Kansas mother. He wrote of his background in the memoir Dreams of My Father.

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Moving up to the Senate

Obama and his daughter Malia (left), wife Michelle and youngest daughter Sasha celebrate his election to the U.S. Senate on Nov. 2, 2004, in Chicago.

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Seeking the Democratic nomination for president

In June 2007, former North Carolina senator John Edwards, New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Illinois Senator Barack Obama stand on stage prior to the start of the Democratic presidential candidates' debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

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Hope and change

Obama addresses supporters during his caucus night rally at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines, Iowa, in January 2008. Obama overcame a stiff challenge from Clinton to eventually win the Democratic nomination for president. 

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McCain's misstep

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain catches himself almost heading the wrong way off the stage after shaking hands with Obama at the conclusion of their final 2008 presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Oct. 15, 2008. In the Nov. 4 election Obama and his vice-presidential running mate Joe Biden defeated McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin.

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First dance

The Obamas take the first dance at the Neighbourhood Inaugural Ball in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009. Obama took power and quickly moved to turn the page on the George W. Bush years, urging Americans to rally to end the worst economic crisis in generations and repair the U.S. image abroad.

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Action on the environment

Obama inspects an array of solar panels at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas on May 27, 2009.

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Historic change

Obama, the first black U.S. president, is pictured in the White House on June 2, 2009, alongside a portrait of George Washington, a slave owner who was the first president of the U.S.

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Racial repercussions

Obama sits down at the "beer summit" with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates (left), Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley (second right) and Vice-President Joe Biden to try to start a dialogue on better race relations in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 30, 2009. Crowley arrested Gates for disorderly conduct in his own home while investigating a report of a burglary in process. Obama inflamed tensions by saying police had "acted stupidly," prompting him to back down from the remark and call for the meeting. 

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Health-care reform

Obama speaks during a rally for his health insurance reform initiatives at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sept. 12, 2009. The Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010.

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Midterm turning point

Obama attends a DNC Rally at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Sept. 28, 2010. The Democrats suffered a humbling defeat in the midterm elections, losing control of the House of Representatives and setting up years of Congressional obstruction by the Republicans.

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Osama bin Laden takedown

Obama and Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, on May 1, 2011. Also pictured are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

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(Pete Souza/White House/Reuters) ((Pete Souza/White House/Reuters))

A dog named Bo

Obama greets his dog Bo outside the Oval Office of the White House on March 15, 2012.

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A challenge met

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Obama both speak during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, N.Y., on Oct. 16, 2012. On Nov. 12, Obama won re-election. In both of his election victories he carried the popular vote.

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Mass murder at Sandy Hook

Obama wipes a tear as he speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., during a press briefing at the White House on Dec. 14, 2012. A gunman opened fire on school children and staff at the school, killing 26 people including 18 children. Obama expressed anger and sorrow over his inability to pass stricter gun control legislation.

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Story time at the White House

"Kids love me," Obama told comedian Jerry Seinfeld, "partly because my ears are big, and so I look a little like a cartoon character." Here Obama acts out the line "gnashed their terrible teeth" from the children's book Where the Wild Things Are during the 136th annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House on April 21, 2014.

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Frigid relations

Obama extends his hand to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 28, 2015. Disagreements over Russia's incursion into Ukraine and the conflict in Syria made for an awkward meeting.

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Friends across the border

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talks with Obama during the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit, focusing on the counter-ISIS campaign, in Washington, on April 1, 2016.

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Growing up in the White House

Obama congratulates his eldest daughter Malia on her 18th birthday during the Independence Day celebration at the White House on July 4, 2016.

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Campaigning for Hillary

Clinton stands with Obama after his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 27, 2016. Obama campaigned energetically for Clinton, calling her the most qualified person ever to seek the office of president.

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(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Transition of power

Obama meets with president-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Nov. 10, 2016. Trump is to be officially sworn in as president on Jan. 20. 

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(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)