Washington, Jan 26: US President Barack Obama has virtually endorsed Hillary Clinton in the bitterly-contested race for Democratic presidential nomination, praising his former secretary of state as a “good, smart, tough” person who is “wicked smart and knows every policy inside and out.” Obama said Clinton “can govern and she can start here, (on) day one,” remarks that came days ahead of the first votes being cast in the primaries where she faces her nearest-rival Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. “She is a good, smart, tough person who cares deeply about this country, and she has been in the public eye for a long time and in a culture in which new is always better,” Obama said in an interview to Politico released yesterday. Clinton served as his top diplomat for four years during his first term.
“Her strengths, which are the fact that she is extraordinarily experienced and, you know, wicked smart and knows every policy inside and out sometimes could make her more cautious and her campaign more prose than poetry, but those are also her strengths,” Obama said. This is probably for the first time that the US President has indicated his preferences in the current election season. “It means that she can govern and she can start here, (on) day one, more experienced than any non-vice president has ever been who aspires to this office. Her strengths, in terms of the ability to debate, the ability to, I think, project genuine concern in smaller groups and to interact with people, where folks realise she’s really warm and funny and engaging,” he said. Responding to a question on a female president succeeding the first African-American president, Obama said he does not think that Democrats would vote for her just because she is a woman. (Also Read: Hilary Clinton claims Barack Obama legacy, Bernie Sanders agent of change)
“My No 1 priority is having a Democratic president succeed me, and I think there’s no doubt that, given our history, I want more women in politics generally, and I want my daughters to feel that there’s nothing that they can’t do,” he said. “I don’t think that Democrats are going to vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman any more than they’re going to vote for Bernie just because they agree with him on one particular issue,” Obama said. “I think voters are pretty sophisticated. They’re going to take all these things into account. I am proud of the fact that the Democratic Party represents today the breaking down of all sorts of barriers and a belief that you judge people on what they bring to the table and not what they look like or who they love or their last name,” he argued. Later at an Iowa townhall, Clinton appreciated Obama’s remarks. “I was really touched and gratified when I saw that.” “I had the opportunity when he asked me to serve as a secretary of state. It not only was a great working relationship, but it turned into a real friendship, and he knows how hard the jobs is. He knows it first hand,” she said. “I really appreciated what he said, and how he said it because it was a positive reflection on what we have to get done,” Clinton said.