U.S. President Barack Obama says he has utmost confidence in his vision for the country and that had he “run again,” he would have defeated Donald Trump in the presidential election.
In an interview with former adviser David Axelrod, released Monday, the president said, “I am confident in this vision because I am confident that if I — if I had run again and articulated it — I think I could have mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.”
But president-elect Trump disagreed later Monday. In a Tweet, Trump fired back, "President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! - jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc."
While Obama praised the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, he also criticized her campaign for being too cautious. “If you think you are winning, then you have the tendency, just like in sports, maybe to play it safer,” he said in Axelrod's podcast “The Axe Files.”
The president expressed admiration for Clinton, saying she “performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances,” but did not hesitate to criticize her campaign for not pushing hard enough.
“We're not there on the ground communication not only the dry policy aspects of this, but that we care about these communities, that we're bleeding for these communities,” he said. "It means caring about local races, state boards or school boards and city councils and state legislative races and not thinking that somehow, just a great set of progressive policies that we present to The New York Times editorial board will win the day.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at a ceremony to unveil a portrait honoring retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in Washington, U.S. Dec. 8, 2016.
Obama also defended his legacy, saying Trump's victory does not mean his vision for the country had failed. “Obviously, in the wake of the election and Trump winning, a lot of people have suggested that somehow, it really was a fantasy.
“What I argue is, is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism.”
Obama, who leaves office in less than a month, made clear his future plans. He said he aims to “build that next generation of leadership, organizers, journalists, politicians. I see in America, I see them around the world — 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds who are full of talent, full of idealism. And the question is how do we link them up? How do we give them the tools for them to bring about progressive change? And I want to use my presidential center as a mechanism for developing that next generation of talent.”
The president said he did not want to be someone “who's just hanging around reliving old glories.”