In 2004, Barack Obama delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention and spoke of a united America. Now, in an exit interview published Monday, the president told one of his former advisers that had he been allowed to run for a third term in 2016, he would have harnessed that same message—and he believes he could have won with that message, the Hill reports. "I am confident in this vision [and] confident that … if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it," Obama told David Axelrod for the latter's "Axe Files" podcast, per CNN. "I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards, is the right one."
Although Obama said Hillary Clinton "performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances" in her run against Donald Trump, he added that her camp missed an entire segment of the population that it needed to speak to—notably, Americans still hurting from the recession. He also dug into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOPers for instituting "a backlash" to Obama's vision, though he conceded McConnell's strategy was "pretty smart and well executed." But despite what he points out as missteps, as well as the contentious nature of Election 2016, Obama stuck by the assertion he made 12 years ago. "What I would argue is … the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism," he said. (Ta-Nehisi Coates' take on Obama's presidency: "one of the greatest.")