President Barack Obama still believes in the message of “hope and change” he campaigned on in 2008 — so much so that he believes it could have delivered him a third term over Donald Trump had the Constitution allowed him to run again.
“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I — 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 his former senior adviser, David Axelrod, on Monday’s “Axe Files” podcast. “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.”
Obama campaigned vigorously for Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state, dispatching himself, Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama across the country on Clinton’s behalf. It would be a “personal insult” to his legacy, he said during the campaign, if the black community didn’t support Clinton. All of his administration’s accomplishments would be reversed under a President Trump, he warned. Progress and hope, he argued, were on the ballot, although his name was not.
But it was all for naught.
Republicans successfully painted Clinton as a corrupt, dishonest politician who was running for Obama’s third term despite, they insisted, putting America’s national security at risk when she set up a private email server as head of the State Department. She belonged in jail, some said. Others accused her of using her family nonprofit as a slush fund and argued that the longtime politician was the quintessential emblem of the status quo, not the change agent she portrayed herself to be.
Clinton prevailed in the popular vote, winning nearly 3 million more ballots across the country than Trump. But it was Trump’s improbable campaign that won the requisite number of Electoral College votes to be elected president, and he maintains he could have won the popular vote, too, had that been his aim.
By Obama’s assessment, Clinton performed “wonderfully under really tough circumstances.” But there were problems: Obama accused the media of “wildly” amplifying Clinton’s flaws because of a double standard and said Democrats weren’t on the ground where they needed to be to show people in rural communities that the Democratic Party cares about them, too.
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SOURCE: Politico, Nolan D. McCaskill