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Obama eager to Campaign for Clinton in the US Presidential Election 2016

In 1988, Ronald Reagan had a major impact on George H.W. Bush’s bid for the White House, as did Theodore Roosevelt on William Taft’s victory in 1908

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Hillary Clinton. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Obama is extremely eager to help unite the Democratic party and hit the campaign trail to support its presidential nominee
  • Hillary Clinton is viewed as someone who can push forward Obama’s work beyond his presidency and help cement his legacy
  • Clinton possesses the ability and experience to serve as president
     

WHITE HOUSE- “We have got to make sure we get this election right,” Obama told supporters during a recent Democratic party fundraiser in Florida. Obama, with approval ratings of more than 50%, is the first sitting U.S. president in several decades who can impact the race to elect his successor to a great extent.

Obama is extremely eager to help unite the Democratic party and hit the campaign trail to support its presidential nominee, claim various Administration officials.  However, the White House object to this by saying that he will not make an endorsement until after a meeting with candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday, June 9.

President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Image source: Image source: Wikimedia Commons
President George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Image source: Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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“We take for granted the incredible progress that we’ve made across every dimension of the economy, security, a society that’s more tolerant and more accepting of diversity,” Obama said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to build on.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who claimed the Democratic presidential nomination after decisive primary victories on Tuesday, is viewed as someone who can push forward Obama’s work beyond his presidency and help cement his legacy.

Obama is also ready to burst onto the campaign stage to counter controversial rhetoric by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Trump’s own party leaders have criticized some of his remarks as divisive and racist, and the president has said Trump’s foreign policy statements have “rattled” world leaders.

 Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016. Wikimedia commons.
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016. Wikimedia commons.

Treading carefully and running ‘scared’

Mindful of the need to keep the Democratic Party united and energized to win the November presidential election, the U.S. leader did not step forward immediately to endorse Clinton after her decisive primary victories on Tuesday.

Instead, Obama telephoned both Clinton and her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders.

The Vermont senator has garnered the support of millions of voters, particularly those under 30, with a consistently forceful message against the corrosive sway of special interests in Washington and rising income inequality in America.

At Sanders’ request, Obama will meet with the senator at the White House on Thursday to discuss “how to build on the extraordinary work he has done to engage millions of Democratic voters, and to build on that enthusiasm in the weeks and months ahead,” according to a statement by Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

While the president has expressed confidence in the Democratic party’s ability to win the White house and other key races, he has told supporters, “I want us to run scared the whole time.”

Giving Clinton ‘sizzle’

Obama congratulated Clinton for securing the delegates necessary to clinch the Democratic nomination.

With an unfavorable rating of more than 50 percent in most polls, Clinton has much to gain from the backing of a popular president who is widely respected as a party leader and on the global stage.

“It has been a long time since a sitting president became the super campaign cheerleader for a candidate,” said Douglas Brinkley, Rice University presidential historian.

In 1988, Ronald Reagan had a major impact on George H.W. Bush’s bid for the White House, as did Theodore Roosevelt on William Taft’s victory in 1908.

Clinton possesses the ability and experience to serve as president, said Brinkley. However, she does not have the ability to connect with the public in a way Obama and her husband, former President Bill Clinton do. Also, her image has been tarnished by a series of scandals
“Hillary Clinton is not the most charismatic public speaker. She’s worked on it,” said Brinkley. “But the kind of sizzle factor that President Obama can bring, after winning two terms in a row, will be an immeasurable help to her.”

“Barack Obama knows how to bring out the college students, in a way that Bernie Sanders did. He’s popular with young people. And she sorely needs to energize younger voters,“ Brinkley noted.

Obama is also highly popular among key voting blocs, such as African Americans, Latinos, and younger voters. He wants to ensure the next president will carry forward his signature accomplishments, like passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s almost like he’s running for a third term for president,” said Brinkley.

-prepared by Devika Todi (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: devika_todi

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“All respectable polling are indicating a similar result which will be a reasonable victory for the incumbent and while the challenger did very well in the last debate I’m not sure that will be enough to change the game,”

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Elections
Indonesian election workers dressed in superhero costumes register voters at a polling station in Surabaya, April 17, 2019. VOA

Indonesians voted in national and regional elections Wednesday with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo widely expected to win a second term. However, late reports suggest his winning margin could be much smaller than anticipated.

Security was tight but friendly around Tamon Suropati, a leafy park in the plush suburb of Menteng, home to former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, as voting began under clear blue skies.

“Today, the election, I feel like Hari Raya, it means a big, big day for us,” said 69-year-old Enny, who voted alongside her twin sister for the incumbent, Widodo.

Paul Mirully a 43-year-old taxi driver, added: “For my choice in a president, No. 1 is good. Royally, religiously and for the prospects of Indonesia it’s very good, sir.”

Incumbent President Joko Widodo and his wife, Iriana Widodo, display their inked fingers after casting their ballot at a polling center during the presidential and legislative election in Jakarta, April 17, 2019.
Incumbent President Joko Widodo and his wife, Iriana Widodo, display their inked fingers after casting their ballot at a polling center during the presidential and legislative election in Jakarta, April 17, 2019. VOA

Turnout a factor

For many it was a family day out. Adhi Rasjid, a 48-year-old mining executive, said voting was smooth despite concerns over “golput,” a term used to describe deliberately spoiled ballots and voters who abstain, particularly among millennials.

“I think the turnout for the younger voters are increasing now, compared to say 10 years ago. I think the issues are more relevant. So I hope they take a bigger part in our democracy,” Rasjid said.

There are 60 million voters younger than 30, and surveys have indicated that many could abstain and skew the final result. But retired three-star general Ian Santoso Perdanakusuma told VOA voting had gone well.

“I am happy, everything is very good for Indonesians,” he said. “I haven’t seen any, any movements against the security. I’m happy that it will be good in the next year and the next five years, I hope.”

Voting numbers peaked around 11 a.m. local time, and counting got underway at 1 p.m. after polling stations closed, with a clearer picture of the results expected to emerge later in the evening. Official results were not expected to be known for several weeks.

Presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto shows off his ink-dyed finger after casting his vote in Indonesia's general election at a polling station in Bogor, April 17, 2019.
Presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto shows off his ink-dyed finger after casting his vote in Indonesia’s general election at a polling station in Bogor, April 17, 2019. VOA

Clear favorite

Jokowi went into this poll as the clear favorite, carrying a 20 percentage point lead over his rival, Prabowo Subianto, following five years at the helm where he was praised for delivering on badly needed big ticket infrastructure projects and a national health scheme.

The pair had squared off in five nationally televised debates with most political pundits judging the contest about even and analysts say Jokowi needs to win with a comfortable margin of 8-10% if he is to avoid protests and legal challenges by the opposition camp.

Prabowo has already raised the prospect of “ghost voters” and potential rigging in the fifth ballot to be held since the downfall of President Suharto in 1998 and the outbreak deadly protests across the archipelago of more than 18,000 islands.

“Everybody who loses, pro-forma, takes their case to the constitutional court and then they accept the verdict afterwards. I see no reason to see anything different this time,” said Kevin Evans, director of the Australia-Indonesia Center.

“People like to talk about Armageddon kind of outcomes here. They’ve been predicting violence at every election since I’ve been here and the only violence was during the pre-democratic period. In the democratic period, it hasn’t been the case,” he added.

There were reports that voting was stopped in two districts in the troubled far eastern province of Papua, where residents were arguing with police and ballot papers unavailable.

People look at a list of electoral candidates during elections in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 17, 2019.
People look at a list of electoral candidates during elections in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 17, 2019. VOA

Speculation online

And as the polls closed and early counting began, online speculation was rampant that Prabowo had performed better than expected, with one tweet claiming he expects to win 63% of the popular vote. Another said the Jokowi camp expected to win by a margin of 2-3%.

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However, analysts cast doubts on those figures.

“All respectable polling are indicating a similar result which will be a reasonable victory for the incumbent and while the challenger did very well in the last debate I’m not sure that will be enough to change the game,” Evans said. (VOA)