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Interested in Barack Obama? "As a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president but as a citizen, I'm here to deliver simple message and that is that you need to vote because our democracy depends on it", Obama said, according to Politico. The award is named for Senator Paul H. Thomas, who represented IL from 1949 to 1967, according to the school's website.

Obama is still the erudite statesman we've known for years, but he just seems looser, less measured. His post-presidency is the next chapter in the cause of his life - bringing people together to change the world for the better.

Obama had already waded into the midterms before Friday's speech, endorsing a slate of 81 federal and state office-seekers last month.

Obama, who is going on the campaign trail Saturday in California, touted the crop of Democratic candidates running for office in November and highlighted women who have stepped up to run on the Democratic side.

Obama had long sought to distance himself from the political fights of the Trump era, rarely criticizing the president even as Trump frequently lashed out at his predecessor.

Obama was editing his first public speech of the 2018 midterms on the plane, an aide to the former president tells CNN, scribbling notes and crossing out lines on a printed copy.

"It didn't start with Donald Trump". That's not how our democracy's supposed to work. More often its manufactured by the powerful and privileged who want to keep us divided and angry and cynical, because it helps maintain the status quo and them to keep their power.

Paraguay and Israel in spat over Jerusalem embassy
Netanyahu has attempted to persuade other countries to follow their lead. Negotiations between the two sides broke down in 2014.

Comedian Kathy Griffin summed up the celebrity sentiment over Obama's speech succinctly, saying, "I love him".

Obama also skewered the anonymous Trump administration official who authored the New York Times op-ed about efforts inside the West Wing to actively subvert Trump's "half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless" impulses.

Obama's involvement in the midterm campaign carries risks for Democrats.

He has also made a priority of helping individual candidates in governors' and state legislative races by working closely with former Attorney General Eric Holder, who has founded a group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is focused on expandingDemocratic state power in advance of the next round of congressional gerrymandering.

Obama was clearly exasperated by what he's seen in government since he left office in January 2017.

Obama criticized Trump for politicizing the Department of Justice, unwinding the social safety net and busting the budget with a tax-cut bill he said would exacerbate inequality. "If you are one of these folks who is watching cable news at your cocktail parties with your friends and you are saying "civilization is collapsing" and you are nervous and anxious, but that is not where you are putting all your time, energy and money, then either you don't actually think civilization is collapsing ... or you are not pushing yourself hard enough, and I would push harder".

The former president implored an audience of college students to vote in the upcoming election.