Obama speaks at rally for Democratic congressional candidates in California

Obama speaks at rally for Democratic congressional candidates in California

"You can't opt out because you don't feel sufficiently inspired by a particular candidate", he said.

Obama also said standing up to discrimination should be a bipartisan effort, adding "How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?"

He went on to attack Trump by name.

Launching an unprecedented attack on Trump and his policies, Obama said: "It did not start with Donald Trump. Better is always worth fighting for", Obama said.

Obama, reacting to the op-ed account, said, "That's not how our democracy is supposed to work".

Speaking to a largely young audience at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign, Obama urged them to vote if they wanted to make a difference - "In two months we have the chance, not the certainty but the chance, to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics". Because there is actually only one real check on bad policy and abuse of power. If you get involved, and engaged, and knock on some doors, and talk with your friends, and argue with your family members, and change some minds, and vote. At a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota, he told the crowd that he even "fell asleep" watching it. "I found he's very good, very good for sleeping".

"The more President @BarackObama speaks about the "good ole years" of his presidency, the more likely President @realDonaldTrump is to get re-elected", Sen.

Obama ridiculed Trump for taking credit for economic gains that began under Obama's administration, and said Trump was exploiting cultural fears and economic anger that have grown in recent years amid societal upheavals.

The former President questioned the GOP's approach to foreign policy, including its position on Russian Federation, challenging climate change science, and embracing of conspiracy theories including those "surrounding Benghazi or my birth certificate". "Doubling down on that strategy won't work in 2018 either", RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement.

Obama is re-entering the public eye two months before voters head to the polls for the midterm elections on November 6.

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"As a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president".

The speech comes ahead of his first midterm campaign events, beginning Saturday, in the political battleground of Orange County, California, where he will stump for several Democratic House candidates.

Obama is also planning campaign trips to Pennsylvania in September, an Obama official said, as well as a NY fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, an organization led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, Obama's longtime friend.

Both parties are urging their core supporters to get to the polls for the November 6 midterm elections, when Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in the House of Representatives and two seats in the Senate to gain majorities in Congress and slam the brakes on Trump's agenda.

Obama's campaign activity will continue through October and will include fundraising appearances, according to an Obama adviser.

Republicans shrugged off Obama's criticism. "None of this is conservative", Obama said. The outcome will decide control of Congress and three dozen gubernatorial contests.

Appealing directly to students in attendance, Obama urged young voters to temper their expectations.

He also made a plug for nonprofit executive Katie Hill in her Los Angeles-area race to unseat sophomore Republican Steve Knight, who won an underwhelming 53 percent of the vote in 2016.

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

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