President Obama Formally Endorses Hillary Clinton
With the race for the Democratic nomination over, President Obama is ready to hit the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton.
With the race for the Democratic nomination having coming to an effective end Tuesday night with Hillary Clinton’s victories in New Jersey, California, and elsewhere and her having secured enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot, President Obama followed the example of most of his recent predecessors and formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for President:
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday formally endorsed Hillary Clinton and called her the most qualified candidate to seek the White House, imploring Democrats to come together to elect her after a bruising party primary.
In a video posted on Mrs. Clinton’s Facebook page, Mr. Obama said, “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”
Mr. Obama is impatient to begin playing an active role in the race to succeed him, and his administration has been in talks with Mrs. Clinton’s team in recent days about how and where he could be most helpful to her.
But the president has been circumspect about declaring the race finished — even after Mrs. Clinton captured sufficient delegates in primaries on Tuesday to clinch the Democratic nomination — making a public show of respect for Senator Bernie Sanders and his highly motivated coalition of progressive supporters.
On Thursday, Mr. Obama congratulated Mrs. Clinton on “making history” in becoming the presumptive nominee, and said he had personally witnessed her qualifications for the Oval Office. “I have seen her judgment, I’ve seen her toughness, I’ve seen her commitment to our values up close,” the president said.
Mr. Obama also praised Mr. Sanders — who left the White House about 90 minutes before the video was posted — for what he called an “incredible campaign.” He said the Vermont senator’s emphasis on addressing income inequality, reducing the influence of money in politics, and bringing young people into the political process would strengthen the party.
“Embracing that message is going to help us win in November,” Mr. Obama said.
He said he knew how hard being president can be.
“That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it,” he said. “In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been anyone so qualified to hold this office. She’s got the courage, the compassion, and the heart to get the job done.
“I’m with her, I am fired up, and I cannot wait to get out there to campaign for Hillary.”
The announcement was released via a YouTube video posted at Clinton’s campaign website, as well as via Twitter, which led to a somewhat amusing Twitter exchange between the Clinton and Trump campaigns:
President Obama endorses Hillary: “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.” https://t.co/KetvKoa853
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 9, 2016
Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2016
Delete your account. https://t.co/Oa92sncRQY
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 9, 2016
And here’s the video:
The announcement also came about two hours after a White House meeting between Obama and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who said that his campaign would continue at least through next Tuesday’s final Democratic primary in the District of Columbia:
WASHINGTON — Senator Bernie Sanders met with President Obama on Thursday and said afterward that he would do everything within his power to stop Donald J. Trump from becoming president — and would work closely with Hillary Clinton to make that happen.
After the meeting with Mr. Obama, which lasted more than an hour, Mr. Sanders gave no indication that he was ready to leave the race just yet, insisting that he would compete in next week’s primary contest here in Washington. However, he made clear that party unity was on his mind.
“I will work as hard as I can, to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States,” Mr. Sanders told reporters, saying the billionaire businessman “makes bigotry and discrimination the cornerstone of his campaign” and would be a “disaster” as commander in chief.
He said he would continue fighting for the issues that animated his campaign, including enhancing Social Security benefits, college affordability and restoring the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
“These are the issues that we will take to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July,” Mr. Sanders said, declining to answer reporters’ shouted questions about whether he would leave the race.
Shortly after their meeting, Mr. Obama endorsed Mrs. Clinton in a video. He also praised the campaign that Mr. Sander ran.
The visit came a day after the senator huddled with his team at his headquarters in Vermont to discuss the fate of his candidacy.
Mr. Sanders, who requested the meeting with the president, pulled into the White House grounds at 10:56 a.m. after stopping at a nearby Peet’s Coffee for a scone. Mr. Obama and Mr. Sanders strolled down the colonnade next to the Rose Garden on their way into the Oval Office, chatting inaudibly and grinning broadly. Nearby, a thick line of cameras and cluster of microphones were assembled in the driveway outside the West Wing, where journalists peppered the Vermont senator with questions.
Mr. Obama was trying to negotiate, however gently, with him to exit the Democratic race without inflicting damage on efforts to unite the party.
“My hope is, is that over the next couple of weeks, we’re able to pull things together,” Mr. Obama said during a taping of an appearance on the “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on Wednesday in New York. “There’s a natural process of everybody recognizing that this is not about any individual.”
After his meeting with Mr. Obama, Mr. Sanders headed across town to see Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader. Mr. Sanders ignored questions about Mr. Obama’s endorsement of Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Sanders was also scheduled to meet with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York while in Washington.
One expects that Sanders will formally endorse Clinton at some point after the D.C. primary next Tuesday notwithstanding all the rhetoric we’ve heard over recent weeks regarding taking the fight to the convention floor and attempting the wrest the nomination away from Clinton by somehow convincing Superdelegates to back the candidate who clearly came in second place by every conceivable measure. Indeed, it’s been reported already today that there have been initial contacts between the Sanders and Clinton campaigns regarding the timing and logistics of a formal endorsement and I would expect that we’ll see something within the next week or so to that regard. Eight years ago, of course, Clinton herself took about three days after the end of the campaign to endorse Obama and then joined Obama at a rally in the appropriately for the theme of the rally named town of Unity, New Hampshire. Whether we’ll see something similar for the eventual Sanders endorsement is unclear, but one assumes that the Clinton campaign will want to do something high profile to get the message across to Sanders supporters and begin to heal the rifts that had developed during the course of what turned out to be a more competitive campaign than anyone expected when it started. There will be many issues for the two campaigns to sort out, of course, including not only Sanders’ role in the upcoming General Election but also his role at the convention in the drafting of the party platform and potential changes to the rules governing Presidential elections, many of which Sanders has openly complained about for weeks now. Additionally, Sanders endorsing Clinton is no guarantee that his supporters will come along, at least initially, and the Clinton campaign will want some committment from Sanders that he will do his best to get those supporters to rally around the party nominee. While this may prove difficult at first, Sanders has said that he intends to join Clinton in making sure Donald Trump is not elected President, and that at least could be something that gives Sanders supports an incentive to rally around Clinton as we head into the fall.
As for President Obama, his decision to wait until after the conclusion of the campaign for a formal endorsement is not unusual. President Reagan didn’t endorse his Vice-President until May 1988, after Bush’s main opponents had dropped out and his nomination was secure. President George W. Bush similarly waited until the Republican nomination process was essentially over to endorse John McCain. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, endorsed his Vice President, Al Gore, very early in December 1999, although it’s fair to say that at that point Gore’s only opponent, former Senator Bill Bradley, was little more than token opposition. Regardless of the timing, though, it does appear that we can expect Obama to be far more actively involved in the 2016 campaign than Presidents Reagan, Clinton, or Bush 43 were involved in the campaigns of their intended successors. Indeed, various reports have described Obama as “very eager” to take to the campaign trail and to take on Donald Trump on behalf of Clinton. Given the President’s popularity among the public as a whole, and specifically among Democrats, it’s likely that he’ll be used as much as as reasonably possible as we head into the fall, especially in areas with high African-American populations, in an effort to whip up Democratic enthusiasm for the fall and to get people to the polls once early voting starts in many states in October and as we head into November. Used in combination with other Democrats likely to endorse Clinton in the coming weeks, such as Vice-President Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, this could be a very effective tool for the Clinton campaign in a battle against a very unconventional opponent. Donald Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t really have any similar tools at his disposal, and the continued infighting in the GOP could make it difficult to put such a coalition together. Because of this, the advantage in this race clearly continues to rest with Hillary Clinton.
Update: Not surprisingly, President Obama’s endorsement was followed hours later by an endorsement from Vice-President Biden:
Vice President Joe Biden backed Hillary Clinton on Thursday, hours after President Barack Obama issued his own endorsement of the former secretary of state.
Biden, speaking Thursday night at the American Constitution Society convention a few blocks from the White House, didn’t squarely endorse Clinton. But he made his preferences clear in what seemed like an unplanned aside amid remarks about the need to confirm fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Republicans have refused to grant a hearing to Obama’s nominee, federal judge Merrick Garland, let alone a floor vote.
“Keep in mind, we have another entire term of this potential confusion if the vote is not allowed this year. Anybody who thinks that whatever the next president — and God willing, in my view, it’ll be Secretary Clinton,” Biden said. “Now, I don’t say that for political reasons, but whoever it is, even if it is a Democrat, the idea this will be brought up within a month or two or three is highly unlikely.”
As with the President, the Vice-President is likely to be an effective campaign surrogate, especially among the largely white, working class voters that have been attracted to Donald Trump over the course of the past year.
I assume this will put an end to the speculation in some quarters that she’ll drop out and Biden will replace her. It got tedious.
Can a pardon be far behind?
I have a feeling Obama is going to be an incredible surrogate for Clinton 45. He seems to take special delight in ridiculing Trump. Of course, Trump is a big target. Easy duty, that.
She’s smarter than Al Gore. If Gore had embraced Clinton 42 he would have saved us all the debacle that was Bush 43. One can assume the world would be a vastly different place today, had we not suffered the colossal blunder of Iraq, and likely not the Bush Contraction of ’07 and ’08.
Trump, in the meantime, is heading into his convention with half the party shaking their heads in disbelief.
Obama’s third term, and keep thin-skinned racist Donald out of the White House are campaign themes that will work for Clinton.
I’m glad to see Bernie behaving well. Now we get to see just how many of the Bernie Bros are really Trump supporters.
According to the SF Chronicle, not too many of his younger supporters bothered to show up at the polls in California to vote for him.
It would take a pathological case of cognitive dissonance for a true Sanders supporter to suddenly switch to Trump.
@C. Clavin: “I have a feeling Obama is going to be an incredible surrogate for Clinton 45. He seems to take special delight in ridiculing Trump. Of course, Trump is a big target. Easy duty, that.”
He’s got two things – first, a desire to not have his presidency and legacy destroyed, and second a strong desire to say ‘F*CK YOU ALL, YOU REPUBLICAN MOTHERF*CKERS!!!!!!!!!!111’ on his way to Marine 1.
@CSK: Or it just goes to demonstrate the importance of working voter registration and actual voting. This is my concern with the younger crowd, including my young adult children. They’re registered but I’ll be nagging them to vote even if I have to take them by their young adult hands.
Her speech last week has taken me from a “sure, I support her,” to a “HELL YES, LET’S GO.”
I’m changing my party affiliation next week to Democrat. It’s weird for me, having worked for the Republican party in the past to actually take that step, but I’m pretty jazzed about this.
This is no surprise, we all knew Obama would support Hillary as he should, but it changes nothing the American people are still polar opposites and Trump still has a lot of supporters on his side, I was watching Glen Beck earlier he is jumping ship and asking his followers to vote for Hillary as he put it He would rather have Hillary and a Republican congress to stop her than to tarnish the Republican name with Trump. We’ll see who will be next on right wing wacko shows to change their positions
With Obama, Warren, Reid, Biden, and both Clintons on the campaign trial, it’s going be like the Magnificent 7 of presidential campaigns. I almost feel sorry for Trump.
You obviously aren’t on Twitter. Plenty of Bernie Bros there saying they’ll move to Trump.
Or Sauron. Or Cthulhu. Whatever.
@Todd: Obama’s third term ? I keep hearing speculation about that on a lot on You Tube . Is there some situation in which he could cancel the election ? What are you hearing about this ?
This country can’t go through another Obama term. And I am not a Republican.
Likewise on Reddit.
Of course, Reddit is kind of a hive of middle-class college-aged misogynist white boys, so. Not surprising.
I think this election will be the least positive in living memory. These are two shitty, flawed candidates and the only way to get a justifiably cynical electorate to vote for either of them is through fear enable by demagoguery and portraying the other as an atypical evil (which is pretty easy to do). It will be interesting to see how much voters who actually care about issues will subsume their distaste for these two in order to prevent a relative “worse” outcome. What’s certain is that partisans will jump on that bandwagon and try to turn shit into gold. – in fact they already have been. I’m not sure I can stand 5 more months of it.
As a consequence, IMO whoever gets elected will not have the kind of political capital enjoyed by other newly elected Presidents. Trump misogynist cradle robbing tycoon fighting for conservative values? Ha! Clinton, the robotic poster child for the 1% fighting for the common man (irony alert)? Ha! Either one will face opposition within their own faction not to mention the kind of opposition that will make the things said against President’s Obama and Bush look tame.
It’s a sad and pathetic state of affairs that these two candidates, “vetted” by two major parties,, are supposedly the best this country has to offer. A system that allows these two to rise to the top above all others is one that is not worth defending.
Additionally, these two candidates are likely the last of the Boomers who will run for President – which I guess is appropriate considering what that generation has done for the country. Perhaps America’s critics are correct in saying that we are in decline, a wasting asset beginning a long spin down the bowl toward irrelevance. I hope that’s not the case, but I can’t see either of these two very flawed and controversial candidates doing much to improve America’s position. WASF.
And who would you have preferred to rise to the top…
@An Interested Party:
Someone with integrity and competence for starters.
you might get competence but that’s it.
@Tyrell: Not literally Obama …
I continue to have strong reservations about Hillary Clinton, but I’m on board because a Donald Trump presidency would be disastrous. I will give some of my fellow Bernie Sanders supporters some time to reach the same conclusion, but ultimately if we get to September or October, I will gently remind them that “never Hillary” is a very short-sighted approach to “change”.
On the flip side though, I do agree with you that partisan Democrats continue to be insufferable. Hillary Clinton may be the only chance we have of stopping thin-skinned Donald, but that doesn’t suddenly transform her into a “quality” candidate. I still think there’s a chance that this all blows up in our faces. But as I’ve said for a while now, I really hope I’m wrong about that.
As for this: @Andy:
With Clinton, the integrity question is definitely open to debate. However, I’d have a hard time seeing any sort of logical argument that she’s not entirely competent to hold the job of President.
She is a plausible, if likely imperfect President.
Donald Trump, not at all.
@DrDaveT: No way; those guys aren’t US citizens.
BTW, is anyone else here wishing Trump would come up with a more euphonious slur than “Crooked Hillary”? It bothers me every time I hear it or read it because I can’t help but notice that it just does not roll off the tongue like “Deadbeat Donald” or Don the Con.” It’s a half-assed effort. I thought he at least had enough money to pay for better put-downs than that.
ETA: I am not a crank.
The majority of the worst of the “Bernie Bros” who got all the negative attention were likely never all that “pro Sanders” as they were/are “anti Hillary”
There’s a guy I was stationed with about 10 years ago who I’m still friends with on Facebook. He’s anti-religion, pro-gay rights, don’t think I’ve ever seen him say anything nice about Republicans. However, he is also very much not a fan of President Obama, and especially not of Hillary Clinton. I think there are more of these “conflicted” type voters out there than we maybe give credit for. Not everybody fits neatly into the “liberal” or “conservative” molds.
@edmondo: Won’t probably be needed. Obama has either got assurances that there won’t be any charges against Hillary, or has quashed any effort for charges to be brought. I doubt he’d have endorsed Hillary if there was any chance she’d be charged with anything serious.
For a variety of reasons I vote primarily based on foreign policy and these are two candidates that I cannot possibly support because of that. One is firmly in the neocon/r2p activist/muscular foreign policy camp and the other lacks the temperament to be a world leader. I’ve never been a member of any political party and I’ve only voted for a major party candidate twice that I can remember (GWB in 2000 and Obama in 2008). This year will be the easiest third-party vote I’ll ever make given the deficits of these two candidates. It’s not even close.
And I do question Clinton’s competence. Is she completely incompetent? No, I think she can muddle-through given her experience, but her track record does not inspire confidence – IMO she’s been on the wrong side of just about every foreign policy move she’s had a hand in, as both a Senator and Secretary of State.
Acceptance of a pardon is a de facto admission of guilt.
Oh let that be the case. For when it comes out, even after the election, it will destroy any facade on the Democratic Party that they are in anyway still American in the cultural, philosophical sense.
@Andy: I suppose it depends where you live.
I actually just had a somewhat related conversation with a friend on FB who voted for Sanders in the primary, but now plans to vote 3rd party in November.
Here’s what she said:
And this was my response …
3rd party is fine for those of us who live in States like AZ. But for people who live in a place like CO, OH, PA, VA or FL, their choice could make a difference, and your analogy definitely comes into play. It’s almost classic prisoner’s dilemma. If you choose measles it’ll suck, but you’ll probably survive. If you say neither, you’ll save yourself from having to affirmatively choose measles, but will simultaneously increase the chance that you could end up with smallpox … which is significantly worse.
… and making the choice of neither even less rational, let’s say you are vehemently opposed to choosing either measles or smallpox, but since there’s a 99.9% probability that you’ll end up with one or the other no matter what, in the best case scenario you still get measles. 😉
I live and vote in Florida.
I’ve heard many variations of the “lesser of two evils” argument over the years and still find them all unconvincing.
@Andy: Fair enough.
If you really do honestly have no preference one way or another, then by definition there is not a “lesser of two evils” … so my argument doesn’t apply to you.
@Andy: I’d be interested to hear you expand your thesis that ‘3d party’ candidates are the right path to follow in relationship to the FL 2000 debacle. I think I recall that if one in ten Nader votes had been cast for VP Gore we’d never had had a second Pres Bush. The margin between Bush and Gore was finally determined to be something like 532 votes (in the R’s favor). When the question of — say — the Iraq War could have turned on only five hundred votes or so in some cracker town in FL, I think the ‘lesser of two evils’ argument got quite strong.
One could say the same thing about GHWB, Clinton and Perot (I voted for Perot, BTW).
As far as an explanation goes, I think a lot depends on how and why people vote. For me, I want to vote for who I think is the best candidate out of those available on the ballot. Most other people look at voting differently – some vote based on party or general ideology. Some are single-issue voters. Some vote to prevent another candidate from winning (that will certainly be a major theme this election year.).
If my priority is to vote for who I think is the best candidate, then the entire either-or construct of the partisan divide doesn’t work on me because I reject the either-or choice as a false one. And to be clear, I’m not making any value judgments – people have the right to vote based on whatever criteria or calculation that matters to them – but I do wish fewer people would settle for an “evil” candidate, even if they perceive him/her as a lesser evil.
It must be so easy when you are so pure…
That’s quite amusing considering you and your political party, with your support of Trump, are showcasing the ugliest traits of being American, particularly the dirty stain of racism that we are still trying to scrub away…
@An Interested Party:
Who said anything about purity?
Well certainly you are free of the taint of either major political party and their loathsome candidates…
@michael reynolds: Well, I voted for Bernie and will happily vote for Hillary. I think there are a lot of people like me. (I haven’t seen anything but Bernie signs here in my Chicago neighborhood. We’re wacky that way.)
Ah yes, the innocence of youth, where it’s more important to protest and to throw a fit than to get stuff accomplished.
It’s usually only after you get your head slammed against the wall with the results of your stupidity that you start to understand game theory, Nash equilibria, and why “the lesser of the two evils” is actually the way to go.
@An Interested Party:
Why the condescension towards Andy? … or am I reading into it?
If someone has consistently voted 3rd party in the past, it makes sense that’s what they intend to do again this year. Game theory aside, the candidates should have to do something to earn that type of person’s vote.
I don’t know anybody who thinks our two party system is doing even a functional job of selecting enough people who are willing/able to actually govern. I’m not sure that having more options would be a solution. But it is obvious that no 3rd party option will ever gain traction if upwards of 90% of voters (including the majority of Independents) always vote for the lesser of two evils … even in a year such as this where both major party candidates are considered to be unfavorable by more than half the electorate.
For Republicans who are moderate on social issues, voting for Johnson/Weld makes a lot more sense for those who can’t bring themselves to pull the lever for Trump, than giving Clinton their vote. And likewise, if the Clinton campaign decides to tack to the center to try to target those same sort of voters instead of the progressive base, then by all rights Jill Stein should end up with more votes than the Greens might be expected to get in a normal election.
Over the past couple of months, when I was still arguing that Clinton might not have been the wisest choice for the Democrats to nominate, I got called “pure” (in a pejorative manner) a few times too.
I’m not sure why some think that’s an insult?
Neither major party should feel entitled to any citizen’s vote simply because the majority of their views happen to fall on the same side of the ideological spectrum.
Voting for 3rd party candidates does nothing more than taking votes away from/allowing votes to be more important to one of the two major party candidates…I guess it can allow someone to think that he isn’t contributing to one of the major party candidates but that isn’t exactly accurate…
@An Interested Party:
If one of the two major party candidates is viewed by an individual as much worse than the other, then, yes, voting for a 3rd party can be viewed as illogical … in the short term.
But from a longer-term perspective, I do think there’s some validity to the argument that 3rd parties will only gain significance down the line if people whose values and ideas they align with support them with their votes in the here and now.
This year, I obviously hope that Donald Trump loses, and I personally plan to vote for Hillary Clinton.
If October rolls around and the Democratic party has made an effort to reach out to its progressive base, and a significant number of them still refuse to support a ticket with Hillary Clinton at the top, then I will join you in mocking them as petulant and short-sighted (I’m already getting annoyed with a few of my friends for their ridiculous insistence that some “voter fraud” lawsuit is going to result in Sanders somehow getting the nomination in Philadelphia).
If on the other hand, the Democratic party takes them for granted, and just assumes that fear of Trump will be enough to get their votes, then Jill Stein’s Green Party should be the box they check on their ballot.
… and if that somehow contributes to Donald Trump becoming President, Democrats who get mad because the Green Party had the gall to have a line on the ballot at all will be missing the point entirely.
@Todd: Fair enough…