White House spokesman Josh Earnest was asked multiple times during Friday's daily press briefing about First Lady Michelle Obama and her influence as a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton.
"Do you deny the White House is so confident that Secretary Clinton is going to win the election the president can really expend a lot of capital down ballot?" Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke asked. "It seems to me that he's putting a lot of energy and effort into that, and not just the president but also key surrogates the vice president, the first lady."
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Earnest said that the president was able to use the political capital to support down-ticket Democrats because they share his values and are able to build on the progress of the last eight years.
"Of course, the first lady is out on the campaign trail, too, making a lot of noise lately. And a lot of pundits and writers have been saying that the first lady is Hillary Clinton's most potent surrogate. Would the president agree that she has more power to move the needle in this election than he does?" CBS correspondent Chip Reid asked.
Earnest said the president would agree that the first lady maintains the deep respect of a majority of Americans.
"Does she have more power than he does in this election?" Reid asked.
Earnest said that she is a persuasive speaker who can make a purposeful case for Clinton to be the next president.
"Yes, I think the president would admit that his wife is an enormously influential and powerful surrogate in support of Secretary Clinton," he added.
Earnest said that the first lady was very talented at delivering a speech.
"If I could follow up on my colleague Chip's line of thought regarding an individual who has been in the middle of this divisiveness, as you call, the rhetoric has come out very favorably and very powerfully, and that's the first lady," the reporter said. "Her various speeches, her surrogate opportunities for Secretary Clinton, would she ever consider coming back in to this White House on a future date not as the first lady but perhaps as the president?"
Earnest bluntly responded no, which was met with laughter from the press briefing room.