Obama Says He Could Have Won 2016 Race, Prompting Trump To Hit Back

Andrew Harnik

During an interview with former adviser David Axelrod on his podcast, President Obama said that he would have won the 2016 presidential race, arguing that "the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open."

"I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I — if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it," Obama told Axelrod in an interview that went online Monday. "I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one."

Obama's comments drew a quick reply from Donald Trump, who said Monday afternoon that he would have beaten Obama.

During the interview, Axelrod asked Obama if Hillary Clinton should have focused more on the economy.

"Look, you know, I think that Hillary Clinton performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances," Obama responded. "I've said this publicly, I'll repeat it. I think there was a double standard with her. For whatever reason, there's been a longstanding difficulty in her relationship with the press that meant her flaws were wildly amplified relative to..."

"If you think you're winning, then you have a tendency, just like in sports, maybe to play it safer," the President continued. "And the economy has been improving. There is a sense, obviously, that some communities have been left behind from the recovery and people feeling anxious about that. But if she was looking at the campaign and saying OK, I'm winning right now, and her economic agenda was in fact very progressive."

Obama said Clinton "understandably" decided to focus on Trump.

He also said that Democrats aren't good enough at communicating their message.

"I think the issue was less that Democrats have somehow abandoned the white working class, I think that's nonsense. Look, the Affordable Care Act benefits a huge number of Trump voters. There are a lot of folks in places like West Virginia or Kentucky who didn't vote for Hillary, didn't vote for me, but are being helped by this," Obama said. "The problem is, is that we're not there on the ground communicating not only the dry policy aspects of this, but that we care about these communities, that we're bleeding for these communities."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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