Obama all in for Hillary
President Barack Obama said out loud Thursday what he’s hinted for months: He wants to hand over the Oval Office to Hillary Clinton.
Less than an hour after a private White House meeting with Bernie Sanders, a video message from Obama ended his official neutrality in the long Democratic primaries battle, Newsday’s Tom Brune reports.
“Look, I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” Obama said in the video. “I cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary.”
Obama will make a joint appearance with Clinton in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Wednesday. That’s one day after the Democratic primary calendar concludes with a contest in the District of Columbia, which Sanders will campaign for.
While Sanders did not drop out, he signaled he would seek to work with Clinton to unify the party and keep his agenda alive. Clinton needs Sanders’ supporters to fall in line behind her.
“I look forward to meeting with her in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government that represents all of us and not just the one percent,” Sanders said.
Sanders also met on Capitol Hill with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who predicted: “I’m confident he will be a good campaigner for Democratic senators and for the Democratic nominee.”
The take-away: Watch the gap
The White House and Clinton are saying that she and Sanders have put forward similar goals, But their policy differences have been significant, and that won’t be lost on Sanders’ supporters, writes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
Hoping history is no guide
No Democratic president who served out his term has been able to hand over the office to another Democrat since before the Civil War.
There were various reasons, writes Newsday’s William Goldschlag. Sometimes the incumbents were unpopular with voters. Other times, there were strained relations between the departing presidents and would-be successors.
Neither circumstance is the case with Obama and Clinton, so the losing streak could end this November.
Trump drops in poll
A new Fox News poll shows Clinton with a narrow lead over Trump — a reversal from the last result in May. His support fell from 45% to 39% of voters, while the Democrat held steady at 42%.
Among independents, Trump sank 11 points.
Warren punches in for the ticket
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who was the first presidential hope for many progressives before Sanders got in the race, endorsed Clinton Thursday night on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show.
Clinton told Politico in an interview that Warren, “an incredible public servant,” would be qualified to be her vice president. She didn’t, when asked, say the same about Sanders, though she saluted “his passions for the issues that he promoted.”
Warren has been intrigued by the running-mate possibility, but sees potential drawbacks, according to Reuters.
Candidates in retweet
Trump and Clinton skirmished on Twitter after Obama’s endorsement.
To Trump’s snark — “He wants four more years of Obama — but nobody else does!” — Clinton responded with the classic tweet-of-derision: “Delete your account.” That earned her 230,000 retweets by early evening.
Trump’s comeback: “How long did it take your staff of 823 people to think that up — and where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?” That got him 48,000 retweets.
On the sidelines, a network news executive observed, “Tbh [to be honest] we should all delete our accounts.” Which prompted former Rep. Anthony Weiner to chime in: “Too late for some of us.”
Trump and his businesses have faced lawsuits and complaints from hundreds of people — carpenters, dishwashers, painters, even his own lawyers — who say he didn’t pay them for their work, according to a story by USA Today.
The report said there was a pattern of Trump’s sprawling organization frequently failing to pay individuals and small businesses, such as a Plainview heating and air conditioning company, and using its legal resources to overpower and outlast many of them in court.
What else is happening:
- Questions within the State Department on Clinton’s email practices arose because of the famous 2011 photo of her using a BlackBerry on a plane, Politico reports ...
- Former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on MSNBC that Trump exposed “a character flaw” by attacking Judge Gonzalo Curiel ...
- State Department staffers were baffled in 2011 by the political addition of a Clinton Foundation donor to an intelligence advisory board, newly released e-mails show.
- Carl Icahn — the business titan whose name Trump drops more than any but his own — still backs him. But asked on CNBC about the “Mexican judge” comments, Icahn said, “I don’t think anybody who supports Donald is happy with that” ...
- Vice President Joe Biden endorsed Clinton Thursday night and said in a Washington speech that Trump’s targeting of Curiel revealed him to be a threat to the independence of the judiciary who would “defy the courts if they ruled against him as president” ...
- Trump, who has been slow to build a general-election war chest, met with top fundraisers and potential donors at the Four Seasons restaurant in midtown Manhattan ...
- GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a sharp critic of Trump, tells The New Yorker it’s “unlikely” she’ll support Clinton but, “I’m not going to say never, because this has been such an unpredictable situation” ...
- Sanders has no support from the White House in his effort to topple Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee. Biden will headline a Florida fundraiser for her House re-election bid ...
- Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who ended his Democratic presidential bid on Feb. 1, endorsed Clinton ...
- Culture and politics fuse in giddy ways these days. Example: Trump seen in a new supercut video "rapping" Mac Miller's "Donald Trump" song...
- Now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sounds a soft on whether he could withdraw his Trump endorsement, for what it's worth...