WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton on Thursday, saying “I’m with her” in a video released on the day he met with Bernie Sanders for what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called “a friendly conversation that focused on the future.”
“I am fired up and I cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary,” Obama said in the 3:15 video, which Earnest said was recorded some time during the day on Tuesday. Clinton claimed the Democratic nomination on Tuesday night after California, New Jersey and four other states voted.
Earnest also said first lady Michelle Obama “deeply respects” Clinton, is backing her, and at some point will make that support formally known.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren D-Mass., the progressive champion who stayed on the sidelines in the primary, is expected to back Clinton Thursday night in Washington. Sanders also met with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday and Biden also will be endorsing Sanders.
Obama’s “fired up” was a reference to his famous “fired up and ready to go” slogan from his 2008 campaign, where he won the Democratic nomination after a long, strong hardball battle against Clinton.
Sanders has yet to acknowledge that Clinton has a lock on the Democratic nomination and is holding a rally in RFK Stadium here later on Thursday in advance of the Tuesday DC vote.
Obama will campaign with Clinton in Green Bay, Wisconsin, making his first campaign swing with the presumptive Democratic nominee in a major battleground state on June 15, the day after the last primary, which takes place in Washington, D.C.
The Obama video was released by the Clinton campaign.
“I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office. She’s got the courage, the compassion, and the heart to get the job done…I have seen her judgment. I’ve seen her toughness. I’ve seen her commitment to our values up close. And I’ve seen her determination to give every American a fair shot at opportunity, no matter how tough the fight — that’s what’s always driven her, and still does,” Obama said.
Obama and Clinton are eager to add Sanders backers to the Clinton team and need Sanders to send a clear message that is what’s needed to beat Republican Donald Trump.
Trump reacted in a Tweet, “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!” To that Clinton advised in her reply Tweet, “Delete your account.”
Obama noted in the video all the voters who cast ballots for the first time, “and a lot of that is thanks to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has run an incredible campaign.” Though the video was shot before Obama met with Sanders on Thursday morning, Obama talked to him on Tuesday night.
Sanders and his supporters want Clinton, Obama and the Democratic Party to elevate their issues, and Obama mentioned the top ones in his Clinton endorsement video.
“I thanked him for shining a spotlight on issues like economic inequality and the outsized influence of money in our politics and bringing young people into the process. Embracing that message is going to help use win in November.”
In an effort to start the unity process, Obama said in the video,”This has been a hard fought race. I know some say these primaries have somehow left the Democratic Party more divided. Well, they said that eight years ago as well.”
Clinton made a strong and clear endorsement of Obama in 2008 and though it took some time for their staffs to make peace with the outcome, Obama went on to make Clinton his Secretary of State.
Clinton and Sanders “may have been rivals during this primary,” Obama said, “but they are both patriots who love this country and they share a vision for the America that we all believe in.”