Society

Obama Says He Became 'More Humble' During Presidency

| by Michael Doherty

Former President Barack Obama opened up about his post-presidency in a conversation at a conference in Milan, Italy, dedicated to technology and food policy, adding that he became "more humble" as his presidency went on.

"It is true that I'm not living in the White House anymore," said Obama, the Daily Mail reports. "I actually am enjoying being in my own house."

The Obamas have moved from the White House to a 8,200-square-foot, nine-bedroom home in Washington, D.C., which his reported to cost around $22,000 a month to rent.

"I have been fighting Michelle to get more closet space," the former president said. "I have been trying to figure out how the coffee maker works."

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Obama said he has been devoting most of his time on a number of projects, including his third book.

"And we're spending a lot of time on building our next phase of work, which will involve what we're calling the Obama Presidential Center," he added.

He said he is enjoying his freedom after leaving office, joking that the Secret Service kept him in a "very nice prison" during his two terms.

"The hardest thing about being the president of the United States is it is unique in its isolation," he said. "There's always this security concern around you. I don't miss that."

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Obama's speech at the event centered on environmental policy. The former leader warned the audience about the dangers of rising sea levels and a potential refugee crisis sparked by global warming. He also spoke about methane from cow flatulence in the beef and dairy industries, which he said can worsen climate change.

He jokingly added, "I am not a vegetarian."

Without mentioning his successor by name, Obama also spoke about President Donald Trump's administration.

"The current administration has differences with my administration in terms of environmental policy," he said.

He also said that if Americans fail to vote, they get "the politicians you deserve."

"And if you don't vote and you don't participate and you don't pay attention, then you'll get policies that don't reflect your interests," he added.

The event isn't the former president's first public appearance since leaving office -- he also spoke at the University of Chicago in April, The Economist reports.

During that appearance, Obama said he wished to focus on working with the next generation to "take up the baton and take their crack at changing the world."

Obama showed his humble side during the talk, admitting that as a community organizer in Chicago, "I am the first to acknowledge that I did not set the world on fire."

"This community gave me a lot more than I was able to give in return," he added.

Sources: Daily Mail, The Economist / Photo credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr

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