While Obama is back in the state he once represented in the Senate to accept the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government from the university, a top Obama adviser tells CNN the former president has always been eyeing the forum as the best place to deliver his opening salvo in the midterms.
"If you thought that elections don't matter, I hope these last two years have corrected that impression", he said. That's how real change starts, Obama said.
The Republican Party's refusal to compromise with Obama on health care, climate, deficit reduction, and so on was not because Obama treated them too arrogantly or refused to address the deficit seriously.
"He says, "I'm not making that up".
He also criticised Mr Trump's response to the violence a year ago at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the death of one person.
Obama was clearly exasperated by what he's seen in government since he left office in January 2017.
At the time, Trump hesitated to denounce the violence, and said there were bad people on "both sides".
Most Republicans, he said, have been silent or "unwilling to find their backbone" to stand up to Trump.
Former President Barack Obama is blasting Republicans, saying "the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican Party. Now, the former president is determined they never get them back!" He attempted to connect Trump's views with the members of the Republican Party as a whole, particularly on Russian Federation, and noted how far the GOP had seemed to stray from its roots.More news: HURRICANE CENTER: Florence may become threat to U.S. East Coast
"Obama is speaking at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he's urging people to vote in the midterm elections".
"It did not start with Donald Trump", Mr. Obama said.
These are extraordinary and "dangerous times", former President Barack Obama warned today launching a full frontal attack on President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress who protect him, on point after point.
"He is acutely aware that he has a mixed record of success when his name is not on the ballot", said one person familiar with President Obama's thinking, who asked not to be named discussing internal deliberations.
He will appear at a September 13 rally in OH with Richard Cordray, a former Obama appointee, who is running for governor in a state that is also one of the top targets for the Holder effort.
The speech was a preview of the argument that Mr Obama is likely to make until the U.S. midterm elections in November.
"Obama is speaking Friday at the University of IL, where he's receiving an award for ethics in government. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire".
Meanwhile, Michelle Obama is also stepping up her political involvement ahead of the November midterm election. His advisers say it's a preview of the case he'll make throughout the fall campaign season. He'll next travel to California for an event with seven House candidates in Orange County.
Now, as 2018 midterm campaign season gets underway, it's likely a very public Trump-versus-Obama showdown becomes a defining storyline of the year.
The entire speech can be viewed below, live at Noon EST. And after Obama's speech, one of them came from Matt Drudge-who tweeted, "Democrats lost 76 House seats and 15 Senate seats during Obama's terms".