Barack Obama just gave a brilliant speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-ne...018/index.html

Some highlights:

President Obama told students assembled at the University of Chicago that "this is one of those pivotal moments when every one of us, as citizens of the United States, need to determine just who it is that we are. Just what it is that we stand for."

He said the next election would be the most important in a longtime, and they needed to vote because "our democracy depends on it."

"The stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire," he said, citing "a glance at recent headlines" as providing proof that "this moment really is different."
President Obama said fear of progress in American democracy didn't start with President Trump.

Trump, he said, is "just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years."

"It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause," Obama said.
President Obama slammed the idea that there were Trump administration staffers working actively to undermine President Trump and stop him from following some of his work instincts, a theme of Bob Woodward's book as well as the anonymous op-ed that ran in the New York Times.

"The claim that everything will turn out okay because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren't following the President's orders, that is not a check," Obama said. "I'm being serious here. That's not how our democracy's supposed to work. These people aren't elected. They're not accountable."

He added, "They're not doing us a service by actively promoting 90% of the crazy stuff that's coming out of this white house, and then saying, 'Don't worry, we're preventing the other 10%.' That's not how things are supposed to work. This is not normal. These are extraordinary times. And they're dangerous times."
President Obama sought to remind Republicans just who started the economic recovery that's led to strong numbers like this morning's jobs report.

"By the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate hit an all-time low, poverty rates were falling," Obama said. "I mention this just so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let's just remember when this recovery started."
President Barack Obama, calling on Americans to stop looking for reasons not vote and instead look for hard-working people with "America's best interest at heart," told students it was indifference that was the greatest threat to our democracy, and not the current president.

"The antidote to a government controlled by a powerful few, a government that divides is a government by the organized, energized, inclusive many. That's what this moment's about," he said.

Obama continued: "That has to be the answer. You cannot sit back and wait for a savior. You can't opt out because you don't feel sufficiently inspired by this or that particular candidate. This is not a rock concert. This is not Coachella. We don't need a messiah. All we need are decent, honest, hard-working people who are accountable and who have America's best interests at heart."