During private remarks to a group of Democratic donors, President Obama acknowledged that some members of the party do not view Hillary Clinton as “authentic” or exciting, though he indicated that Democrats should nevertheless soon rally around Clinton’s candidacy.
The New York Times reported:
Mr. Obama acknowledged what have emerged as the central complaints about Mrs. Clinton among Democratic activists: that she is not generating enough excitement in her campaign, and lacks the “authenticity” of [Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.)]. … Mr. Obama indicated that he knew some people were not “excited” by Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, a White House official confirmed. But, while he stressed that he was not endorsing either candidate, and that both would make good presidents, Mr. Obama went on to lavish praise on Mrs. Clinton, describing her as smart, tough and experienced, and said that she would continue the work of his administration.
Obama made the observations last Friday, after Sanders upset Clinton in Michigan and before Clinton recorded four significant wins following Tuesday’s voting. The president indicated that Sanders’ candidacy would soon be over, though he stopped short of asking the Vermont senator to leave the race.
The Times cited three individuals at the Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Austin, Texas, who described Obama’s remarks, which were also confirmed by an administration official.
While Clinton is poised to become the Democratic presidential nominee following her primary victories this week, the former secretary of state has struggled to convince voters of her honesty, especially as she endures scrutiny for her use of private email at the State Department, a matter that is under FBI investigation.
Exit polls out of all five states that voted in primaries Tuesday showed that Sanders beat Clinton handedly among Democrats who named honesty as the most important quality for their choice candidate. For example, Sanders bested Clinton by more than a 4-to-1 margin among primary voters in Missouri who rated honesty as their top candidate quality.
While Clinton has sought to minimize the controversy surrounding her personal email server, critics have accused her of compromising national security by using an unsecured system to conduct government business. Thousands of Clinton’s emails have been found to contain classified information. Still, the former secretary of state has insisted that she never sent or received any information “marked” classified during her tenure.