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A young ex-president, Obama poised for a busy retirement


    President Barack Obama listens as Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, where Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

WASHINGTON >> For Barack Obama, there’s a presidential library to build, hundreds of millions of dollars to raise, causes to champion and a book to write. And don’t forget that long-promised vacation with his wife.

Looming retirement is looking like anything but for the 44th president.

Obama’s next chapter starts Friday when he becomes an ex-president. He’ll be freer to speak his mind, set his own schedule and make some money.

Already, Obama is looking ahead to the book he wants to write, and has had talks with Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel about arrangements that could include speaking gigs.

At 55, Obama will be a relatively young ex-president, with plenty of time for a second act. He’s ruled out running another campaign for political office — so has his wife — but he has pledged to stay an active in the national conversation.

With President-elect Donald Trump headed to the White House, Democrats are eager for Obama to play the role of shadow-president, offering direction to those Americans who feel they lost their political compass the day Trump was elected.

Obama has said he has plenty of ideas for how his party can revive itself, but after eight years as president, his role will be to offer guidance, not to micromanage.

“I think it’s appropriate for me to give advice, because I need some sleep,” Obama told NPR last month. “And I’ve promised Michelle a nice vacation. My girls are getting old enough now where I’m clinging to those very last moments before they are out of the house.”

Obama is expected to keep a low profile for the first few months after Trump’s swearing-in.

Following some relaxation time with his wife and daughters in an unnamed location, the family will return to Washington, where they’ve rented a mansion in the upscale Kalorama neighborhood.

Obama has repeatedly praised George. W. Bush for giving him room to operate without having the ex-president publicly second-guess him at every turn. Still, Obama has reserved the right to speak out against Trump if he pursues policies the president finds particularly odious, such as a ban on Muslim immigration or mass deportation of children brought to the U.S. illegally.

“The party is in bad state and there are no clear, obvious voices for Democrats yet,” said Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. “If there’s anyone who could stand up to a President Trump, it’s going to be former President Obama.”

Obama may re-emerge in a more public way around the time he releases his book — probably sometime next year — and goes on a promotional tour. Obama’s chief White House speechwriter, Cody Keenan, is expected to stay with his boss to help him craft the sequel to Obama’s two previous best-sellers.

Though Obama has yet to fully settle his plans, four individuals familiar with Obama’s thinking said over the last year that he’s discussed post-presidency arrangements with Emanuel, a leading talent executive. One of Emanuel’s brothers is Obama’s former chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

It’s unclear whether Obama will sign with Ari Emanuel. But the discussions suggest Obama has been looking to Hollywood for inspiration about ways to engage creatively and on multiple fronts, such as digital media and television. Emanuel didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Whatever direction he goes, Obama will not be pressed financially. Obama can expect to fetch an advance of more than $20 million for his book, said Keith Urbahn, a literary agent at Javelin DC who’s handled best-sellers for top political figures.

“Half of the country still looks at him as their leader,” Urbahn said. “From a publishing perspective, he will probably end up with the highest advance of any ex-president in history.”

It won’t be long until Obama and his wife start raising money for the Barack Obama Foundation, which is developing his presidential library and center in Chicago. The price tag is expected to approach half a billion dollars.

The Obamas will have to hire personnel in the coming months as they engage more heavily in designing the center. While it will be several years before the library is up and running, the foundation has left open the possibility it might start some programming sooner.

Former White House aide Amy Brundage, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said it would use 2017 to “build upon the work that has begun” to create a center that inspires people to take on big challenges.

Obama also plans to stay involved in his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, recently renamed the “Task Force on Improving the Lives of Boys and Young Men of Color and Underserved Youth.” He is also teaming up with former Attorney General Eric Holder on the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a new initiative to improve Democrats’ hand when political districts are redrawn in 2020.

The hub of Obama’s activity will be his personal office, to be housed in the World Wildlife Fund headquarters not far from his rented home. For the first six months, he’ll also have a government-funded office overseeing his transition to ex-president.

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  • Ari Emanuel, that’s the right direction to go in for a Star…the scripting opportunities are without limit.Louis Farrakhan would make an ideal story consultant. But wait, Farrakhan supports Trump. How did that happen?

      • Make that “your” Obama. Common Core is a disaster. Teacher job satisfaction is at a 25-year low. What can he do to improve education for families..? Nothing. He’s been much more successful agitating in the name of social justice. “The Cambridge police acted stupidly.” “If I had a son….” etc. etc. Good riddance to your Obama.

        • It is not a disaster. All of us are proud of Obama’s many contributions and his ties to Hawaii. WE do fear Trump’s hatred of America and the damage he plans to do to our country.

        • @Allie, make sure you get that ALL of us aren’t proud of your obama. And WE very much look forward to Trump’s LOVE of America as opposed to the exact opposite from Barry and Michael the last long miserable 8 years. And “Shadow-president”????? Ummm, NOPE.

        • hula bird, I look forward your view of the Donald’s love of America after a year of him being in office, No problem with conflicts of interest, right? A little slime makes things mover easier. All I can say is meet the new swamp, ten times as big as the old swamp. Enjoy. lol

          Sorry you didn’t enjoy the stock market rising from below 7000 to now around 20,000.

        • Allie, when you talk about Obama, you’re beginning to sound a bit like a North Korean talking about their Glorious Supreme Incredible Dear Leader, who descended from heaven to rule them.

      • Allie, why are you and the rest of your kind being so harmful to democracy. The election is over. It’s time to support the new administration. If not and Trump fails you will be responsible.

        • lol, sorry lespark, if the Donald fails, only you and the others who voted for the town’s butcher to preform brain surgery will be responsible.

          By the way how would you suggest we support the new administration? Can you even define support or are you just saying we should just blindly pledge allegiance to him?

          It is not Allie who is so harmful to democracy. Rather it is you and your fellow republicans who are so afraid of blacks voting that they have restricted a basic element of democracy. Congratulations on stealing democracy from America.

        • LesPark is right.

          C’mon allie, admit it.

          Trump won. He won. He won. Yippee!

          And since Trump won, anyone who criticizes anything he says or does is a loser and a hater.

          Trump can do anything… anything he wants, because he won, get it you lib.

          All hail the great and perfect and powerful Trump.

          He won and he’s rich, and nothing else matters. Nothing.

          Oh, and all hail the magnificent Putin and fantastic Russian KGB. They’re strong winner’s too.

          Donald and Vladimir, what a classy classy team. Trust me, they won big league!

          #MAGA? (Make America Grovel Again?)

  • I think both Obamas will continue to contribute great things to American society. I’m excited that the President is working on a new book — he’s a great writer!

      • She didn’t say old white people. You did.

        Said Oprah, “There are still generations of people, older people, who were born and bred and marinated in it – in that prejudice and racism – and they just have to die.”

    • Sales of his book will be telling. The liberal press and thier pollsters make it sound like he walks on water, but those polls are the same ones that had Hillary with a 95% chance of winning. Book sales will indicate whether or not folks really care about his presidency.

  • It would be ‘professional’ of him if Obama refrains from any attacks of the new president. “Obama has repeatedly praised George. W. Bush for giving him room to operate without having the ex-president publicly second-guess him at every turn.” If he’s concerned, he should simply talk to Trump. But that’s not how Obama operates. He enjoys the attention of the media and public. So we’ll see how that goes. As far as giving advice to Democrats on the hill, well, his advice behind the scenes is very partisan, e.g. “In the closed-door meeting, the President urged fellow Democrats to not “rescue” Republicans by helping them pass replacement measures, according to sources in the room.” We’ll see if Trump can overcome the big divide on the hill that was amplified during Obama’s time in office.

      • As a very good president. He pulled the economy out of the worst economic black hole since the great depression. He gave us a treaty with Iran instead of going to war with them. Finally under his presidency we have had many months of growth and saw unemployment shrink.

        It remains to be seen how well the Donald does. Will the stock market rise to 25000 or will it fall to 15,000? That is the main question everyone should be asking and looking at as the market is a main indicator of the economy at large. Sadly I think chances are greater that it will fall towards 15000 as Voodoo just does not work. Time will tell however.

        Thank you Mr. President Obama. We will miss you. You can always come back to Hawaii and run for governor or a senator or representative. 🙂

        • Boots, no, he helmed the slowest recovery from a recession ever. The recovery lasted his entire eight year Presidency. In other words, his administration and policies stifled recovery.

    • He was a relatively great president. Certainly great when compared to the previous republican president and while it is too soon to say for sure about the Donald, I feel confident that it will not be long into a Trump presidency that people will say they miss Obama.

      • On an Average he barely Squeaked by with a 2 % GDP growth? However, I do agree, he did quite well with the Economy during the First year? I give him That!
        But it was the remaining seven (7) that really did him in! “He was a relatively great president” ????? Is an Overstatement.

        Question: How many Jobs did Pres. Obama bring back BEFORE he was Inaugurated?

        • Prior to Obama being sworn in, the economy was in a free fall so Obama probably didn’t result any jobs being brought back. At least the Donald is inheriting a relatively health economy and the question is will the Donald continue the growth we had or will we soon slip back into a recession. Growth may not have been the greatest but at least it was positive and not negative. That is the main thing I am concerned about and I fear a recession is more likely as this generally happen when republicans are in control.

          Stock market had a relatively constant rise from two months after Obama was sworn in until now. We shall soon see how it does under the Donald, the first president in my life time with so many conflicts of interests. Not a good sign in my opinion.

        • Boots, please get it right. Recessions happen under Republicans and Democrats, and happen in cycles beyond the control of a President.

      • Perhaps, History will remember Pres. Obama for what he truly was…a charismatic, popular, first black president, but also being one of the worst managers of the federal govt. ever who ends his tenure with a nation divided and his party in shambles. With the VA, OPM, EPA, Obamacare etc. scandals the fed. Govt. becomes more inefficient, expensive, and less responsive to their customer taxpayers. Sadly his legacy has become the Trump elect presidency…a questionable if not diminished honor at best.

      • We miss him already. People complained much of his trips to Hawaii on taxpayers’ dime but little did they know obamas paid his own Kailua rental, while tax payers are now paying excessively every time Trump does not want to stay at Blair House in DC but instead extra security and money are needed to follow Trump to NYC or Florida. D.C. Accommodations do not have enough gold nor does he want to stay where the nation’s headquarter is.

  • Maybe President Obama can Play more Golf? He seemed to have gotten better at it. Or maybe Eat more Shave Ice. “Or” even taking an occasional Swim “OR” Body Surfing. Hey that would be fun! He’s definitely going to have the time for it . Enjoy “The Retirement Life” Bro. Go Holoholo! IMUA!
    And Please ,please ,please for the American People as a whole? Please leave the Agitating to……Al Sharpton! We have enough Divide as it is. It’s time to Unite the people and Heal the wound of divide.

    But you know deep down inside & from reading this article, I sense that will never happen.

  • Hey hey ho ho Barry Hussein has got to go. But unfortunately he will not. The media and his supporters will continue the nauseating hero worship as if he is still relevant. All the while studiously ignoring his many failures.

  • Obama is a joke, Obama also plans to stay involved in his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, recently renamed the “Task Force on Improving the Lives of Boys and Young Men of Color and Undeserved Youth. One look at the Inner Cities and his own City of Chicago tells you that as President he failed in trying to help the young men of color so why in the hell does he think he can help them now. Just another way to enrich himself at the expense of others.

    • It’s unfortunate that President Obama would focus on helping Black youth instead of all youth. As long as he remains in the community organize mode (which he did during his whole Presidency), the racial divide will continue. Furthermore, if he remains at the helm of the Democratic Party (by default), Democrats are likely to continue to lose seats, especially in Congress. The public generally seems to dislike the divisiveness. And actors making foolish political statements will only continue to hurt the Democratic Party, IMO.

  • Obama will go down as one of the best American presidents. The more we read these boards and hear from keyboard trolls, cracker barrel enthusiast, root’n toot’n, gun loving, ED-having, ex military, make America white again folks, the more it proves the point.

  • Disgusting fluff piece by the AP designed to complement a failed president with nothing to mention as accomplished in 8 long years. The pathetic reference to a long promised vacation with Michelle is so riddled in fantasy, that it is laughable, really, Obama has been on vacation with Michelle for most of this year, with the multi million dollar trip to Hawaii and all his golf trips that the press has ignored for most of the year.

        • Allie and Boots and Danno – I wonder why you keep confronting these bozos. Using logic, truth and honesty gets you nowhere when talking to Sarge, CEI and company. Drop this miasma of nonsense and let these “deep thinkers” argue among themselves.
          You know you’re right and so do the people of Honolulu. These “guys” are wrong and don’t deserve your thoughtful comments. Aloha for trying though.

      • Allie just doesn’t get it like we do.

        Trump is a winner and his critics are losers. That’s all that matters.

        It’s so simple, so classy, don’t know how I missed it for so long. It must be Obama’s fault. When you’re on our side, everything is Obama’s fault. That’s an undeniable fact because Trump says so.

        Who really cares if Trump is obnoxious and rude and secretive and unethical? He’s a winner who does what it takes to win, so get behind him or face his wrath. Losers.

        Who cares that Trump has had 3 wives, and admits to being a serial adulterer and sex offebder, and likes it when classy Russian women urinate on him? He’s rich and powerful and unaccountable.

        Strong winners like Trump get whatever they want from soft weaklings and losers. That’s the way the real world works, but Obummer doesn’t get it. Weak.

        I used to think Narry was a good President because he is a good man who loves America, is a caring father and faithful husband who worked hard to help working families, the sick, the poor, and future generations. What a LOSER.

        I want to thank all the Trump supporters out there who have helped me see the truth that the truth doesn’t matter anymore. That’s the only truth that matters anymore, except for the truth that Trump won. That matters too. He’s going to be President in 6 days, Yippee!

        Trump can do and say anything and is always right because he is a winner. Big league winner. And he’s rich. And is married to a nude model. And losers don’t have that.

        Trump is a winner who can do no wrong. Ever. He boasted he could shoot people in public and not lose votes. He was right, and winners are always are right.

        Trump bragged about being able to fondle women and grab then by their private parts “because I’m a star.” He was right again. He can get away with sexual assault because he’s rich and powerful. Just more evidence that he’s a strong winner.

        Trump is a big classy winner who has won the biggest classiest contest in the world – POTUS. Take that loser Dems! Ka-booom!

        Oh, and Trump has a huuuge twitter following. He even tweets like a winner.

        Trump has more lawsuits than the other top 10 real estate developers combined. So he wins that contest too. He crushes his opponents. Crushes them completely.

        Do we want a President who is s winner who does what it takes to win or a loser who plays by the rules? Get real liberalistas.

        Anyone who praises Obama and criticizes a winner like Trump, for any reason, is a pathetic loser. Sad.

        #MAGA? (Make America G_____ Again?)

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