That sentiment was shared in other countries already weary of Trump, including China.
It was Obama who spoke on Tuesday, but the world cared most about what he said about his successor. Trump was never Europe's first choice. In a survey conducted last spring, only 6 percent of respondents in Germany, France, Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden said they were in favor of the president-elect. Nearly half of all respondents stated they were "afraid" of him.
In Russia, where criticism of Obama has been perhaps the sharpest, reactions to the speech were largely overshadowed by reports that Russia may have compromising information on Trump. "It's the number one topic and it dwarfs even the farewell speech of Obama,” journalist Tikhon Dzyadko wrote in business newspaper Kommersant, though he acknowledged the speech was more emotional than expected.
Like other Russian media outlets, Izvestia, a high-circulation newspaper, noted Obama's use of the word "rivals" to describe both China and Russia in his speech. Russian officials have continually accused the Obama Administration of bringing relations between the two countries to their lowest ebb in decades.
In France, elegiac coverage of Obama’s speech jostled with fresh revelations that intelligence agencies were investigating uncorroborated reports of Trump’s ties to Russia. Parisians always saw Obama’s cool style as akin to their own, even as anti-immigrant politicians have surged in France’s presidential race this spring.
"Whether he intended it or not, Obama drew a striking contrast between the philosopher president who is leaving and the populist president who is coming," Paris' Figaro newspaper wrote. "For his farewells, he gave a real lesson in political philosophy, sometimes reaching heights where, no doubt, few of his fellow-citizens can follow. And this is partly the problem at the origin of the radical change of style and substance that is coming."
"Rather than defend his record, the outgoing president talked about the state of American democracy on Tuesday in Chicago,” liberal newspaper Le Monde commented. "He painted the portrait of a country that is deeply divided."
In neighboring Germany, Obama's departure is also expected to have a strong impact. In a survey last spring, 84 percent of Germans said they were satisfied with Obama.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel once prohibited Obama, then a presidential candidate, from giving a speech at the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. But during Obama's presidency, their working relationship evolved into one of the strongest transatlantic partnerships.
Merkel has become one of Trump's most influential international critics. In a statement following Trump's election, she offered her "close cooperation," but only provided that the the US continued to back "freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views." Her remarks were widely perceived as implying that Trump had so far lacked such respect.
In agreement with Merkel's criticism, German weekly Die Zeit referred to Obama's speech as the remarks of a “constitutional lawyer and his defense of the democratic idea and the American Dream.”
“One last time, Obama tried to unify the country in a rhetorical act of strength and to find a way out of the political and societal dead end,” the newspaper wrote.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has so far refrained harsh criticisms of Trump, possibly because the United Kingdom is hoping for an assist from Trump as it prepares to leave the European Union. The "Brexit" referendum result in June, which Trump enthusiastically backed during the campaign, is now widely seen as a preview of Trump's victory.
"British views of Obama became more polarized following his intervention last year into the E.U. referendum debate, but he is leaving on a broadly high note," said Jacob Parakilas, a transatlantic relations expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
"While most British observers can find objectionable elements, large or small, of Obama’s legacy, very few are optimistic about Donald Trump — which has tinged many observations of Obama’s presidency with nostalgia even before he leaves office," said Parakilas.
]The Telegraph, a conservative British newspaper, also looked back at Obama's legacy and admitted that Britons may soon miss him: “Unlike Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and so many others before him, this is a president unblemished by scandal.”
Many Israelis would likely disagree. A front-page headline in Israel’s most widely circulated daily, Israel Hayom, summed up the feeling: Barack Obama, the worst U.S. president in history.
"History will view Barack Obama as one of the worst U.S. presidents ever. A president with good intentions but with terrible results," wrote Boaz Bismuth, the newspaper's foreign news editor. The paper is owned by American casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who is a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
There was no official Israeli response to Obama’s farewell speech, reflecting the government's sentiment that it should hold its comments until Trump steps into the White House next week.
Hours before his speech in Chicago, Israeli investigative news show Uvda, or "Fact" in English, aired a prerecorded interview with the outgoing president. It focused mainly on the U.S. decision last month to abstain from an anti-Israeli settlement resolution in the U.N. Security Council.
The U.S. decision to abstain rather than using its veto powers in the council allowed the resolution, which calls Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and a barrier to peace with the Palestinians, to pass. The move drew sharp criticism from Israelis and was seen as a betrayal by Israeli leaders. Netanyahu called the resolution "shameful" and claimed Israel had evidence that Obama orchestrated the resolution, which was initially submitted by Egypt.
In his interview on Israeli television, Obama said that he could not understand the "sense of betrayal" felt by Israelis. "Those kinds of statements do not have basis in fact but deflect attention from the issue of Israeli settlements," he said.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Obama steps down amid disappointment and unfulfilled expectations for his presidency.
"There aren’t many in the region who will be sorry to see Obama go," wrote Joyce Karam in the Saudi Arabia-based Arab News. For the Middle East, she wrote, Obama’s accomplishments "are either non-existent, drowned by chaos or greatly diminished."
Bashar al-Halabi, a Lebanese master's degree student in Paris, recalled staying up all night as a teenager in Beirut watching Obama’s 2008 victory speech in Grant Park. He also watched the farewell speech, but was full of embitterment this time. Addressing Obama in a post on his Facebook page, he wrote: "In reply to your iconic #YesWeCan slogan, I tell you, #NoYouDidnt"
In China, Obama's farewell speech generated some interest — but was dwarfed by talk of Trump.
Though many Chinese initially thought Trump, as a businessman, might bring a calm, pragmatic touch to U.S.-China ties, his comments and tweets as president-elect have raised questions about his fitness for office and his stance on hot-button issues such as Taiwan.
As Obama took to the stage, one Communist Party-controlled newspaper known for its strident nationalism — and occasional anti-foreign screeds — offered an almost nostalgic goodbye to the "restrained" U.S. president.
There have been “up and downs” during the Obama administration, the piece said, with downs related to the "pivot to Asia," tensions in the South China Sea and cyberwarfare. But there were ups: cooperation on climate change, for one — and also the president himself.
"Obama's personal appeal earned him a good reputation in the world's most populous nation compared to many of his predecessors who took a tough stance on China," the piece said. The paper worried that will soon change: "Experts believe that Obama's successor, President-elect Donald Trump, will create more thorny issues for China after assuming power next week."
Similar fears were echoed in Latin America and Africa. In Kenya, The Star newspaper's main headline reflected what many there might hope for: "Obama supporters ask for 'four more years' as he bids farewell."
Emily Rauhala and Congcong Zhang reported from Beijing; Michael Birnbaum from Brussels; Ruth Eglash from Jerusalem; Andrew Roth from Moscow, and Liz Sly from Beirut.