Obama backs Clinton after White House meeting with Sanders
Published 10/06/2016 | 07:11
President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton's bid to succeed him and urged Democrats to line up behind his former secretary of state.
It was all part of a carefully orchestrated pressure campaign aimed at easing her rival Bernie Sanders towards the exit and turning fully to the fight against Republican Donald Trump.
Mr Obama's long-expected endorsement, delivered via an online video, included a forceful call for unity and for "embracing" Mr Sanders' economic message, which has fired up much of the liberal wing of his party.
The president sought to reassure Democrats that Mrs Clinton shares their values and is ready for the job.
"Look, I know how hard this job can be. That's why I know Hillary will be so good at it," he said. "I have seen her judgment. I have seen her toughness. I've seen her commitment to our values."
Mr Obama's testimonial came less than an hour after the president met Mr Sanders privately to discuss the future of the senator's "political revolution" - one that will not include him taking up residence at the White House.
Mr Sanders emerged from the White House meeting subdued and indicated he had got the message.
Although he stopped short of endorsing Mrs Clinton, the Vermont senator told reporters he planned to press for his "issues" - rather than victory - at the party's July convention and would meet her "in the near future" to discuss ways of defeating Mr Trump.
At an evening campaign rally at Washington's RFK Stadium, Mr Sanders made no mention of Mrs Clinton, of trying to win over the party insiders known as superdelegates or of pressing his case at next month's Democratic National Convention.
He barely mentioned next Tuesday's primary election in the city, the last on the Democratic primary calendar.
"It would be extraordinary if the people of Washington, our nation's capital, stood up and told the world that they are ready to lead this country into a political revolution," Mr Sanders said at the end of an hour-long address.
Mrs Clinton declared victory over Mr Sanders on Tuesday, having captured the number of delegates needed to become the first female nominee from a major party.