The former President made the remarks from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while campaigning for the Democrat Mr Biden’s presidency. It comes as the US election draws ever closer, with Mr Obama’s appearance coming just 12 days ahead of November 3. Mr Obama has previously levelled attacks at President Donald Trump, claiming his four years in office had been a “failure”. The former President has also criticised “woke” call-out culture earlier this year, claiming it is “not activism”.
Mr Obama said ahead of his appearance for Mr Biden he wasn’t “woke” when he was 20 years old after he was asked about getting young people to vote.
He added: “A lot of the young men that you speak of, it’s not just that they’re African American males, it’s that they’re young and young people have a lot of distractions.
“It is rare, and I will confess that when I was 20 years old, I wasn't all that woke because I had other stuff that I was interested in that we won’t go into the details of.
“So a lot of times I think our young men, they may try and give a reason now for why they’re not active and involved, but the truth is that they’re not active and involved because they’re young and they’re distracted.”
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It is the latest time the former President has spoken out against “woke” culture and questioned youth activism.
Last year Mr Obama questioned whether younger people had the right approach in debating political viewpoints.
He said in an interview with activist Yara Shahidi: “Like, if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn't do something right or used the wrong verb.
“Then, I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because, man, you see how woke I was?
“You know, that's not activism. That's not bringing about change. If all you're doing is casting stones, you're probably not going to get that far.”
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Despite talking about not being “woke”, the former President was full of praise for Black Lives Matter organisers.
He added: “With my election, I think we had gotten over optimistic about much change had happened in the country, but that change was real.
“There was some push back and that was real too, but when we started seeing all these young people from across the county demonstrating this summer it reminded you that they internalised that sense of optimism and change and possibility.”
He also said ahead of the drive-in rally young people needed to vote to make change happen, and added: “The answer for young people when I talk to them is not that voting makes everything perfect, it’s that it makes thing better.”
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Mr Obama, later at the drive-in campaign rally, backed his former Vice President in the 2020 election and renewed his attacks on Mr Trump.
He said: “Tweeting at the television doesn’t fix things. Making stuff up doesn’t make people’s lives better.
“You got to have a plan, you got to put in the work, and along with the experience to get things done Joe Biden has concrete plans and policies that will turn our vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into a reality.”
Mr Obama also savaged Mr Trump by bringing up his administration’s preparation for a pandemic response, and said: “They probably used it to prop up a wobbly table somewhere, we don’t know where it is.”
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Mr Trump was also in Pennsylvania yesterday campaigning for re-election.
The state is crucial to both the Democrat and Republican’s chances of winning this year’s election, with the state’s swing to Mr Trump in 2016 being cited as a major reason Hillary Clinton was handed a heavy defeat.
The President, speaking in Erie on Tuesday, told supporters he needed to win the state to win the election, and added: “If we win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing.”
A Reuters/Ipsos poll claims Mr Biden with a slight lead in the state, with 49 percent support to 45 percent for Mr Trump.