"If these candidates win, I'm absolutely confident that Washington will start working better!"
Obama, who is going on the campaign trail Saturday in California, touted the crop of Democratic candidates running for office in November and highlighted women who have stepped up to run on the Democratic side. "The stakes really are higher".
"You happen to be coming of age" amid backlash to progress, Obama told the students at University of IL at Urbana-Champaign.
"It shouldn't be Democratic or Republican to say we don't target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray. Not follow them. We're supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we're sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers", Obama said, in comments Pirro slammed as "a full-throttle savage attack on the president".
"Isn't this much more exciting than listening to President Obama speak?" he asked the crowd.
Mr Trump said Mr Obama was trying to take credit for this "incredible thing that's happening to our country".
Obama said what's happening in American politics is not "conservative". But the good news is in two months, we have a chance to restore some sanity in our politics.
Earlier this week, an unnamed White House official penned a New York Times opinion piece, claiming the president's worst impulses were tempered by "adults in the room", who ensured he did not act to the detriment of the USA on issues such as foreign policy. In the other Orange County race, Gil Cisneros, a Democratic philanthropist and Navy veteran, is vying for an open seat created by retiring Republican Ed Royce.
Katie Hill, Obama's communications director, said Obama hopes to use his standing across the country to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot.
Former President Barack Obama is calling on people to vote in the November election, saying "our democracy depends on it". "We're supposed to stand up to bullies". To all the young people who are here today, there are now more eligible voters in your generation than in any other, which means your generation now has more power than anybody to change things. He's expected to hold a rally with OH gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray Thursday, and with seven Democratic House candidates in California Saturday.
Obama's speech came as he accepted the university's Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government.
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro opened her Saturday night show with a broad condemnation of President Barack Obama's "full-throttle savage attack" on Donald Trump.
Obama touted his own administration's record in the aftermath of the Great Recession and rebuked Republicans for calling job growth and economic expansion now a "miracle".
Until now, Obama had been reluctant to criticise his successor publicly, although last week he appeared to chide Trump, without naming him, in a eulogy for the late Republican Senator John McCain.
Obama's campaign activity will continue through October and will include fundraising appearances, according to an adviser. Pirro said. "How dare you!"
And while the speech was not as direct as his remarks in Illinois, Obama did cast the current administration as one that is seizing on division.