In dramatic course change, Obama comes out swinging against Trump

The U.S., Obama stressed, is experiencing "dangerous times", and the November midterms offer voters "the chance to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics".

While Obama has in the past blasted Trump and his policies, this was the first speech in which he used his successor's name. This has reportedly annoyed some Democrats, who believe their most potent weapon is sitting out the midterms in an effort to maintain decorum that they feel has gone out the window since Trump took office.

"By the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate hit an all-time low, poverty rates were falling", Obama said.

"We're supposed to stand up to bullies", Obama said.

On Friday, President Donald Trump spoke at a campaign event in North Dakota.

During his remarks, Obama also criticized Republicans in Congress who seem "utterly unwilling" to stand up to Trump and "safeguard the institutions that make our democracies work".

Barack Obama has largely refrained from criticizing his successor, but he delivered his strongest rebuke yet on Friday in a speech at the University of IL.

"Let's just remember when this economy started" improving, he said.

The most interesting argument in Obama's speech in IL today was that both these conclusions are wrong. "I have been guilty at saying this when I was on the ballot ... but a glance at recent headlines should tell you this moment really is different".

From this profound analytical error has followed a second one: that Donald Trump represents a sudden departure from the Republican Party's character.

Trump, at a rally later in the day, said he had been asked what he thought of Obama's speech. We're supposed to stand up to discrimination. The former president is also slated to campaign in IL and September later this month, and will headline a fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee in New York City. Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren't for those who don't look like us or don't sound like us or don't pray like we do, that's an old playbook.

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.

"Because there is actually only one real check on bad policy and abuses of power, and that's you - you and your vote", he said.