For Barack Obama, the past eight years have been quite a whirlwind as the president of the United States. With his presidency drawing to a close, his farewell address on Tuesday struck a note of hope, just as he did back in 2008 when he was elected.
Speaking in Chicago, Obama covered a range of topics from what he’d done during his presidency, to highlighting threats against democracy such as inequality and race divisions.
With the inauguration ceremony for Donald Trump due in just over a week, questions are now starting to emerge over what the future holds for the outgoing president. Will Obama stick to his political roots or venture into other fields?
“He’s fifty five (years old), this guy’s young. Politically, he still has life – he’ll be writing and so forth,” Peter Trubowitz, professor of international relations and director of the U.S. Centre at London School of Economics, told CNBC Wednesday.
“The thing I expect him to do is focus his attention actually to almost go back full circle to life as a community organizer – I don’t mean as a community organizer.”
After Obama finished college, he relocated to Chicago where he helped rebuild communities hit by the closure of locally-based steel plants, and even after he went on to complete his law degree, he continued to stay active in his community.
“But I think one of the things that he would acknowledge is that the Democratic party right now is in trouble at the local level – both at State governorships and in State legislatures.
The party needs to be rebuilt at that level, and I think that’s a place where he could invest his time and his energy and get payoff.”
When looking back at previous presidents, since leaving office former Republican president George W. Bush has kept a relatively low profile, yet has made some public appearances at events.
Bill Clinton, meanwhile, has got active in supporting charitable organizations, made public appearances and most recently helped support his wife and former Democrat presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, with her 2016 electoral campaign
However, it seems Obama has his own thoughts on what he’ll do when he leaves office. In April 2015, Obama spoke to a group of middle school students at a Discovery Education Webinar event in Anacostia, Washington, D.C. Looking back at how his desire to go into the political field progressed over time, Obama told the audience that when he leaves, he wants to “find ways to help people”.
“Eventually I had the opportunity to run for President. But I’ll be done being President in a couple of years, and I’ll still be a pretty young man – not compared to you guys, but I’ll still be pretty young,” Obama said at the time.
“And so I’ll go back to doing the kinds of work that I was doing before, just trying to find ways to help people – help young people get educations, and help people get jobs, and try to bring businesses into neighborhoods that don’t have enough businesses.”