President Barack Obama officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Thursday, just hours after meeting with her Democratic primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, at the White House.
Sanders has not yet conceded the race to Clinton, though she has enough pledged delegates to clinch the nomination. The self-described Democratic socialist has said he plans to continue his fight to the Democratic convention in July.
But in a more than 3-minute video posted online, Obama says: “I want to congratulate Hillary Clinton on making history as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States.”
“Look, I know how hard this job can be,” Obama said. “That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office. She’s go the courage, the compassion, and the heart, to get the job done. And I say that as somebody who had to debate her more than 20 times.”
Obama said he plans to campaign for Clinton, his primary rival in 2008 and later his secretary of state. “So I want those of you who’ve been with me at the beginning of this incredible journey that I’m with her, I’m fired up and I cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary,” Obama said.
Calling the contest between Clinton and Sanders a “hard-fought race,” Obama said “there are millions of Americans, not just Democrats who’ve cast their ballots for the very first time.”
“And a lot of that is thanks to Senator Bernie Sanders, who has run an incredible campaign,” Obama said. “I had a great meeting with him this week, and I thank 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.”
After his meeting with Obama on Thursday, Sanders signaled that he may recognize that the end of his campaign is near. Speaking of Clinton, Sanders said: “I look forward to meeting with her in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent.”