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Obama Voices Support for Clinton on Campaign Trail

  • Mary Alice Salinas

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd during a campaign rally for Clinton in Charlotte, N.C., July 5, 2016.

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd during a campaign rally for Clinton in Charlotte, N.C., July 5, 2016.

President Barack Obama and one-time rival Hillary Clinton have joined forces as Clinton seeks to win the White House and the current president tries to ensure his policies push beyond his presidency.

Obama delivered an impassioned case for why he believes Americans should elect Clinton to be the 45th president of the United States.

“I’m fired up! Hillary got me fired up and I’m ready to do some work!” he told a large and lively crowd at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday.

Obama cast his former secretary of state as an intelligent, highly qualified, hard-working, tough and passionate leader who will protect the nation, help working families, and promote American interests and values.

“She’ll know how to mobilize the world around the causes we believe in, that we know are right and make sure other countries pull their own weight,” he said. “That’s strength. That’s leadership. And that’s why Hillary Clinton needs to be the next president of the United States of America!” he told the cheering crowd.

WATCH: Obama, Clinton Speak at Joint Campaign Event

Obama's own path to the presidency was marked by a hard-fought campaign against Clinton in Democratic Party primaries and caucuses eight years ago.

The president said Tuesday that Clinton's preparation and endurance during the 2008 campaign forced him to stay prepared.

Despite their intense competition for the Democratic nomination, Obama said he and Clinton shared a common vision of America and still share a vision for the ideals necessary as the nation goes forward.

The president praised Clinton's record as his secretary of state, saying she did a "great job" as the top U.S. diplomat. He also praised her long advocacy for affordable health care and for championing policies that help American families.

With her long record of service in government, Obama said, "There has never been a man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton."

Tuesday was the first day the two former foes campaigned together.

The president is highly popular within the Democratic Party and his support is expected to give the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee a much-needed boost.

Struggles and challenges

Clinton has been buffeted by a series of scandals and continues to have high disapproval ratings in most polls.

Clinton flew to the site with Obama aboard Air Force One, the highly recognizable presidential aircraft that evokes the power of the U.S. presidency.

Obama and Clinton delivered speeches in which they closely aligned their policies and visions for the future.

Clinton recalled how she and Obama “went from political rivals, to partners, to friends” following the grueling presidential campaign battle in 2008.

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walk down the steps of Air Force One upon their arrival in Charlotte, N.C., for a campaign event, July 5, 2016.

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walk down the steps of Air Force One upon their arrival in Charlotte, N.C., for a campaign event, July 5, 2016.

“He also knows that despite all the progress we’ve made under his leadership and -- yes, we have -- we still have a lot of work to do,” Clinton said.

She promised to promote job growth, make community college free and keep jobs from going overseas. She called for wealthy corporations and individuals to pay their “fair share” of taxes, and for policies she said would help American families, such as affordable child care and paid family leave.

“Most of all, we are going to build on the vision of America that President Obama has always championed, a vision for a future where we do great things together,” Clinton added.

Presidential legacy

“Obama remains wildly popular and that will be a help to her,” said Norman Ornstein, political expert with the American Enterprise Institute.

However, Obama’s level of commit also signals something about him, experts suggested.

“It says, first of all, that he is intent, first of all in preserving his legacy, and he’s very much aware that the next president is critical to that,” Ornstein said. “At the same time, it says he feels warmly enough toward Hillary Clinton that he’s not going to keep any distance.”

President Barack Obama pretends to wipe away tears as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks about Malia Obama graduating college, during a campaign event at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., July 5, 2016.

President Barack Obama pretends to wipe away tears as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton talks about Malia Obama graduating college, during a campaign event at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., July 5, 2016.

Clinton said Obama “knows a thing or two about winning elections,” and her campaign is already drawing from the fundraising and social media teams that helped propel him to the White House.

“A lot of the people who worked on Obama’s campaign, including those who worked against Clinton, are now mobilizing for her and she’s very happy to have them,” Ornstein said.

Clinton will have to navigate carefully moving forward.

She has spoken out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as it stands. Obama has made passage of the massive trade deal a key priority.

However, there is opposition to the TPP in both the Democratic and Republican parties and Clinton could alienate large voting blocs already deeply frustrated with the political establishment in Washington.

“She’s going to follow through on this as much a she can,” Ornstein predicted. “It will be very interesting to see how much this become an issue at the convention and of course TPP is still a dicey deal whatever position Clinton takes on it.”

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