Obama Won’t Hold ‘Punches’ as He Kicks Off Midterm Campaign Push

The former president is expected to frame election as choice between an "inclusive" or "fearful" America, aides say

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Former President Barack Obama is set to launch a political offensive designed to focus his party’s energies in the midterm elections, breaking from his self-imposed political exile with a message that will draw a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump.

 Since leaving the White House, Obama has taken pains to remain above the political fray — sometimes to the disappointment of his fellow Democrats who’ve lacked a national voice to rally behind in opposing the new administration. But even as he may not target Trump by name, "no one will come away thinking he held back or held his punches," a source close to the former president told NBC News.

 Obama will preview the overarching message of the midterm push Friday with a major address in downstate Illinois, less than 100 miles from where he launched his bid for the White House more than a decade ago.

 The setting itself will send a message, as Obama accepts an award for ethics in government in a region that has been a conservative stronghold.

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