Obama Returns to Public Spotlight With a Quip
'So, uh, what's been going on while I've been gone?'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2017 2:27 PM CDT
Barack Obama hosts a conversation on civic engagement and community organizing at the University of Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(Newser) – Former President Obama is done with his post-presidential vacation, but he's keeping things low-key politically. In his first public forum since Donald Trump took office, Obama on Monday generally avoided talk of his successor, reports NPR. He did, however, quip, "So, uh, what's been going on while I've been gone?" in his opening remarks at the University of Chicago. Obama was there to moderate a youth roundtable on community involvement. "I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what is the most important thing I can do for my next job," he said, adding that he's concluded it will involve helping "prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world."

The forum is the first in a series of public events for Obama in the US and Europe, but aides say those looking for him to directly criticize President Trump will be disappointed, reports the New York Times. They say Obama won't shy away from defending his own policies such as the Affordable Care Act, but he won't look to engage Trump in a public fight, either. On Monday, Obama ticked off a series of problems facing the nation, including climate change, criminal justice reform, and economic inequality, reports the Hill. “All these problems are serious, they are daunting, but they are not insoluble,” Obama said. “What is preventing us from tackling them and making more progress really has to do with our politics and our civic life.”

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