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Obama declares today a 'comma' not a 'period' in the American story

Barack Obama left town Friday promising his closest friends and supporters that their cause will live on, declaring the day’s events “just a little pit stop” on the way to the progress they want to see.

In his first remarks as a private citizen, Obama addressed almost 2,000 people in a hangar at this military base as newly sworn-in President Donald Trump was already signing his first executive orders.

Many of those present had just cleaned out their desks and offices at the White House, or at other government buildings around town, and were moving on to uncertain futures under the Republican president.

"Our democracy is not the buildings," Obama told them. "It's you, being willing to listen to each other and argue with each other and come together and knock on doors and make phone calls and treat people with respect. And that doesn't end, this is just a little pit stop."

“This is not a period,” he said. “This is a comma in the continuing story of building America.”

When he finished speaking, he and his wife, Michelle Obama, spent a half hour shaking hands and hugging people in the crowd, most of them veterans of the 2008 and 2012 campaigns or the White House staff.

When they were done, they climbed the stairs to the Air Force aircraft and waved at the applauding crowd. A light drizzle began as the plane began rolling toward takeoff, en route to their desert vacation in Palm Springs, Calif.

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