Obama Wades Back Into US Politics: ‘You Need to Vote’

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Editor’s note: Watch live video of former President Barack Obama’s speech in the player above starting at 11 a.m. CT.Former President Barack Obama said he was re-entering the political stage on Friday to tell Americans to vote in what he called the most important election of his lifetime.”Just a glance at recent headlines should tell you that this moment really is different, the stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire,” Obama said, speaking, he said, “as a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president.”He is speaking at the University of Illinois in Urbana as he accepts an ethics in government award. He tweeted ahead of the speech that he would have a “simple message … You need to vote, because our democracy depends on it.”Advisers had cast the speech as the moment he will re-engage in politics after spending most of his post-presidency on the partisan sidelines.More than 17 times as many University of Illinois students registered to hear the speech as there are seats in the auditorium. The News-Gazette reports 22,611 students registered before a ticket lottery portal closed last Friday for the some 1,300 available seats in Foellinger Auditorium.University special events director Laura Wilhelm-Barr says Foellinger was being closed part of Thursday and all day Friday ahead of the speech.Larger campus venues are hosting other events, with concerts scheduled Wednesday and Friday nights at State Farm Center and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts booked for its 50th anniversary celebration on Friday night.











Copyright Associated Press / NBC4 Washington

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