But from the start of his 23-minute speech, Mr. Obama, wearing a white shirt with an open collar, made clear he had set himself a different task: He was there to promote the candidacies of Democrats here and across the country trying to win Republican seats. Trump has given Obama a chance to write a new postscript to his own legacy.
"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. "All we need are decent, honest, hard-working people who are accountable and who have America's best interests at heart". The current climate of fear, divisions and cynicism, he said, "did not start with Donald Trump".
"It's truly exciting to welcome President Obama to Southern California, and I welcome the opportunity to campaign alongside him and energize voters ahead of the final two months of the campaign", Cisneros said in a statement.
Obama told the students in the audience that they were coming of age during a pivotal moment, one in which the "powerful and the privileged" were fighting hard to maintain the status quo that keeps them comfortable.
In that speech Friday at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign, Obama took direct aim at Trump, referring to "crazy stuff that is coming out of this White House".
Noting the history of former presidents avoiding the rough and tumble of politics, Obama acknowledged that his sharp critique of Trump was something of a departure from tradition. "President Trump opens the jar, and he said, I loosened it for you", said Mr. McCarthy on Fox Business Network's "Sunday Morning Futures".More news: US oil prices rise as Gulf platforms shut ahead of hurricane
He ended the speech by saying he believed in them and promising he'll be "right there with you every step of the way".
Interested in Barack Obama?
Next week, he plans to campaign in Ohio for Richard Cordray, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Ohio Democrats.
"I want to reach out to some Republicans, who kind of hearken back to the values of a guy named Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president".
While Clinton won all seven districts in 2016, Obama had won only three in 2012, leaving Democrats in the state hopeful that his Obama's return could end up helping them. "He says 'people feel unsettled, people feel scared", and they're anxious about their children's future. "All that matters ... is getting out there and voting".