Former President Barack Obama waded back into politics over the weekend, telling a group of Democratic donors in Hawaii that the United States needs “new blood” in leadership, and that Democrats should be focused on finding a candidate for president who will change the world for the better.
The United States has “a deficit of leadership, and we need new blood,” Obama said, according to The Hill. “People cling to power instead of seeing the power in other people.”
Obama is currently on a national tour raising money for the Obama Foundation which is still in the process of building the former president’s official library (though Obama has expanded the scope of his foundation to include his post-presidential non-profit work). The weekend’s events drew mostly Democratic VIPs from across Hawaii and featured a host of current and former politicians, including “U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and former Gov. Neil Abercrombie,” according to local media.
Speaking on the subject of his current agenda, Obama told the audience that he’s focused on national politics at the moment because that’s where he believes the most good can be done. His real agenda will have to wait until after President Donald Trump is out of office, though he never explicitly mentioned Trump by name during his speech.
Oddly enough, Obama also avoided talk of the government shutdown, perhaps because his own administration used a similar tactic to help push through the Affordable Care Act, tying certain aspects of the bill to a long-term funding agreement during Obama’s first term as president.
“I have no shortage of causes that I want to work on,” Obama said. “The single most important thing we could do was to make sure that we were helping the next generations to make the changes that this world needs.”
For now, he’ll be “educating” and “inspiring” the next generation of candidates to take on those dastardly Republicans, he said, “so that they have the platform, the opportunity to channel their amazing energy and passion and imagination, in order to bring a whole new set of eyes and ideas and possibilities to the world.”
“We are, once again, going to change the world for the better,” Obama added.
The uplifting speech was, it seems, made less to challenge Trump than to convince leftist donors to open their wallets.
While Obama’s library languishes in Chicago, bogged down by federal lawsuits challenging whether Obama should be allowed to lease part of the city’s historic Jackson Park in perpetuity for a pittance, and Chicago city guidelines that mandate the Obama Foundation care for Obama’s former neighborhood as it shifts to accommodate his legacy, the former president is launching a series of Obama Foundation initiatives at his second-choice library location: the University of Hawaii.
Hawaii will be the site of Obama’s “Asia-Pacific Leadership Program.”
Obama is expected to be heavily involved in the Democratic primaries set to kick off shortly with a series of debates in May and June, but he doesn’t seem anxious to declare a favorite just yet. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has been actively meeting with potential Democratic nominees, Obama will likely wait to involve himself until later in the process, though he is expected to be instrumental behind the scenes.