'Neutral' Obama Sounds Like He Favors Clinton

Opinion: President just 'undercut' Sanders in an interview
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2016 11:10 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama has promised to remain neutral during the Democratic primary, but a number of stories are suggesting that his public comments reveal him to be squarely in camp Clinton. In an interview with Politico, for instance, Obama downplayed the suggestion that Bernie Sanders is tapping into the same kind of passion that Obama himself did in 2008. While praising Sanders for his "full-throated" support of progressive issues, he added that "Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose." He also likened Sanders' candidacy to a "bright, shiny object." In contrast, "I think that what Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics, making a real-life difference to people in their day-to-day lives. I don’t want to exaggerate those differences, though, because Hillary is really idealistic and progressive." Read the full interview here.

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Some takes:

  • "He couldn’t hide his obvious affection for Clinton or his implicit feeling that she, not Sanders, best understands the unpalatably pragmatic demands of a presidency he likens to the world’s most challenging walk-and-chew-gum exercise," writes Glenn Thrush, who conducted the interview for Politico. Thrush notes that Obama didn't dispute the idea that Sanders might be too much of a "one-issue" candidate in regard to income inequality.
  • "Make no mistake: Obama just tried to undercut Bernie Sanders," reads the headline of a post by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post. "Obama is basically trying to pour cold water on the loftiness of Sanders’ argument, by nodding to the 'appeal' of promising another transformative moment, while suggesting that Clinton’s more constrained view of what can be 'delivered' is more realistic, and that this is actually an attribute that recommends her for the presidency."
  • In a piece written before the Politico interview, a New York Times story observed: "Obama has said he will not endorse a candidate during the primaries; his advisers are careful not to root publicly for anyone. But the White House is working with Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in ways large and small. Their two staffs consult on issues ranging from the campaign’s use of Mr. Obama’s image in advertisements to the positions she takes on his policy priorities ..."
(Read more President Obama stories.)

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