Barack Obama Returns to the Public Stage


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Barack Obama will return to the public stage on Monday for the first time since leaving office, advisers told NBC News Sunday.

The 44th president will appear in a forum at the University of Chicago with a group of politically diverse students from high school age to graduate school level. Obama, who will lead the forum, is not expected to criticize President Donald Trump, advisers said, but will advocate for his own administration’s policies, like the Affordable Care Act. Advisers added that the six students, which include one self-identified Republican and others who called themselves Democrats or progressives, will not be censored if they discuss Trump.

The sources said Obama has not been in touch with Trump since he left office — though he expects to be a “resource” if needed. They added that the lack of contact between the presidents should not suggest “anything bad” about their relationship.

Obama has not yet met the students, who the advisers described as active in civic life. Monday’s event is not sponsored by Obama’s presidential foundation, advisers said. The former president is acting as an individual and is working with the University of Chicago, they said. On Sunday, Obama met with several young men who a spokesman described as at risk in the South Side Chicago neighborhood where the former president once worked as a community organizer.

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