Obama plunged ever deeper into 2016 election


WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is fond of saying he has run his last election, but Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings and Donald Trump’s shock assent are drawing him ever faster into the 2016 race. Still, inside the White House, the panic is starting to ease. In the early days of the Democratic primaries, Team Obama watched in horror as heir apparent Hillary Clinton stumbled and fumbled her way through contests against unlikely rival Bernie Sanders. The former First Lady, former Secretary of State, former Senator – one of the most qualified presidential candidates in modern history – seemed uninspired and uninspiring, awkward on the stump and seen with suspicion by key swathes of the electorate, including, incredibly, women. There was talk of an early presidential endorsement to prod the election-winning “Obama coalition” – African Americans, Latinos and college-educated whites – into getting behind her. But that was a last-ditch nuclear option, one which risked fracturing the party and would inject Obama into the center of the election when he still had a year of governing left to focus on. Instead, Obama more subtly put his hand on the scales. “She’s extraordinarily experienced – and, you know, wicked smart,” Obama told Politico in a January interview.


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