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Obama returning to Illinois' capital at twilight of his political career, seeking unity

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is returning to Illinois' capital at the twilight of his political career, pleading once again for the type of national unity that has eluded him as president.

PHOTO: In this Feb. 5, 2016, photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington. Nine years ago to the day, Obama stood before the Old State House in Springfield and announced his run for president, declaring that "the ways of Washington must change." On Wednesday, Obama returns to the Illinois capital at the twilight of his political career, pleading once again for the type of national unity that has eluded him as president. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
In this Feb. 5, 2016, photo, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington. Nine years ago to the day, Obama stood before the Old State House in Springfield and announced his run for president, declaring that "the ways of Washington must change." On Wednesday, Obama returns to the Illinois capital at the twilight of his political career, pleading once again for the type of national unity that has eluded him as president. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Obama's speech to the Illinois General Assembly comes nine years ago to the day after he stood before the Old State Capitol in Springfield and announced his run for president, declaring that "the ways of Washington must change."

White House aides say Obama wanted to return to the place his career started to discuss how the U.S. can "build a better politics" in which Americans aren't so starkly divided by race, religion or political party. It's a goal that Obama readily concedes he has been unable to achieve during his two terms in the White House.

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