Obama discusses civic engagement, not politics, with Chicago youth

CHICAGO — Former President Barack Obama addressed civic engagement for young people during his first public appearance since leaving office, but he didn't mention his successor or detail his thoughts on current events.

Obama addressed students at the University of Chicago Monday. The former president sat down with six young civic leaders for a conversation on community engagement.

“I’m spending a lot of time thinking about what is the most important thing that I can do for my next job,” Obama said.  “The single most important thing I can do is help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership.”

During the 80 minute forum, Obama avoided commenting on events in Washington and made no mention of his successor, Donald Trump.

But the he did express frustration with divisions in the country.

“When I said in 2004 that there were no Red States, no Blues States, there was the United States  of America that was an aspirational comment,” he said.

His first public engagement comes as President Donald Trump nears his 100-day mark in office.

Obama's presidential library is planned near the edge of the Chicago campus. He says he hopes it'll also serve as a place for young people to become more civically engaged. Obama says young people are critical to resolving the nation's most daunting problems.