Although President Obama has remained neutral in the Democratic Primary elections as to not upset the base Democrats who support Hillary Clinton and the populists who back Bernie Sanders, he did take a major step in telling donors to “unite” behind a candidate.
Sensing that Bernie Sanders’ campaign is coming to an end, even before Clinton’s clean sweep last Tuesday, President Obama urged Democratic donors to unite behind Clinton as the Democratic nominee. The event, held in Austin, Texas and hosted by Kirk Rudy, a real estate executive, ran for $33,400 a ticket. Although those in attendance were left anonymous, the White House has confirmed the President’s statements.
President Obama stopped just short of endorsing any candidate, but had some candid observations, as the New York Times noted:
But, while he stressed that he was not endorsing either candidate, and that both would make good presidents, Mr. Obama went on to lavish praise on Mrs. Clinton, describing her as smart, tough and experienced, and said that she would continue the work of his administration…Mr. Obama said that he understood the appeal to voters of a candidate who is authentic, the official said. But he also reminded the Texas donors in the room that Mr. Bush was considered authentic when he was running for president, suggesting that being authentic did not necessarily translate into being a good president, in his view.
President Obama did not specifically endorse any candidate, and sensed a growing issue facing Democrats: division. Attendants at the meeting noted that President Obama was urgent in expressing hopes that Democrats would ultimately come together in November to defeat Donald Trump. Obama also warned donors that the division among Democrats is red meat for Republicans to exploit.
Hillary Clinton’s clean sweep last Tuesday, in which she took Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, was seen as the beginning of the end for the Sanders campaign. However, the Sanders camp hopes to see a restart of their efforts in upcoming caucusing states, and potentially swaying super delegates.
When it comes to donors, Clinton takes a commanding lead with coffers and individual donors, but has amassed more debt than the Sanders campaign.
President Obama’s comments may ignite fury from populist progressives, an influential base of the Democratic Party.
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