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" So, what's been going on while I've been gone?" asked a smiling and relaxed Barack Obama to a group of students at The #University Of Chicago. His quip, delivered with a smile, brought a laugh from the audience of students.

Trump, the elephant in the room

For the whole meeting, #Obama studiously avoided the one obvious topic, that of his successor Donald #trump. It has long been accepted that a new president, whilst grumbling about problems inherited from their predecessor, avoids being personal in their references. Trump has been somewhat of an anomaly in that respect, as he has been in so many other ways. How easy it would have been to attack the current president's assault on his own legacy, to criticise his accusations of wiretapping or to otherwise critique the lamentably laboured start Trump has made to his presidency.

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Instead, Obama urged young people to become involved in political life.

There is a history of ill-feeling between the two which was initiated by Trump's, since unfounded, insistence that Obama was not a US citizen. How easy it would have been to attack the current president's assault on his own legacy, to criticise his accusations of wiretapping or to otherwise critique the lamentably laboured and bumbling start Trump has made to his presidency.

Obama's return to public life

The purpose of the meeting at Obama's former place of work was to urge young people to become more involved in political life. During the hour-long audience, Obama acted as a sort of talk-show host, asking students questions about how they could become more involved in their community. Chicago was where Obama began his political career many years before and so held a special significance for him.

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He is keen to encourage involvement from young people, believing that the most important thing he can do is " help prepare the next generation of leadership...to take their own crack at changing the world. "

He established 'The Obama Foundation' in 2014 in Chicago "to develop the next generation of citizens and what it means to be a good citizen in the 21st century."

Should he comment on Trump?

Many of Obama's backers would like to see him weigh in with his views on the current presidency but others feel that his silence will have more impact in upcoming special elections in Montana and Georgia as those who didn't support him as president come to view his presidency in a more positive way. Whatever happens, given the actions of the current president, it would seem that whatever Obama decides to do it will be viewed favourably by all but the most die-hard of Trump fans.