President Obama has privately told Democratic donors that while Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton would both be great presidents, it's time to unite behind one candidate and that candidate should be Clinton, sources tell the New York Times and Politico. Insiders say that when Obama spoke to Democratic National Committee donors in private last week—days before Clinton scored several more primary wins—he didn't explicitly endorse either candidate, but he praised Clinton as a tough and experienced candidate who would carry on the work of his administration. He dismissed concerns about her "authenticity," saying George W. Bush was once praised for seeming authentic, the sources say.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest didn't deny Obama's remarks when he was asked about them on Thursday. "President Obama made the case that would be familiar to all of you, which is that as Democrats through this competitive primary process, we need to be mindful of the fact that our success in November in electing a Democratic president will depend on the commitment and ability of the Democratic Party to come together behind our nominee," he said. Sanders, who is behind Clinton in pledged delegates 1,139 to 825, has vowed to stay in the race. Dropping out when big states like California and New York haven't voted yet would be "outrageously undemocratic," he told the Washington Post on Thursday. (Sanders has decided against a recount in Missouri.)