President Obama told Politico in an interview published on Monday morning that the Republican party has made a major transformation since he ran against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in the 2008 presidential election.
“You think about it: When I ran against John McCain, John McCain and I had real differences, sharp differences, but John McCain didn’t deny climate science,” Obama said on Politico’s “Off Message” podcast. “John McCain didn’t call for banning Muslims from the United States… [The] Republican vision has moved not just to the right, but has moved to a place that is unrecognizable.”
The President said that he hasn’t been watching the Republican presidential debates, explaining that he didn’t enjoy participating in the debates himself.
In discussing the Democratic presidential primary with Politico, Obama said that Clinton started the race with a “disadvantage.”
“Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose,” he said. “I think Hillary came in with the both privilege – and burden – of being perceived as the frontrunner… You’re always looking at the bright, shiny object that people haven’t seen before – that’s a disadvantage to her.”
He also said that he thinks “the candidate who can project hope still is the candidate who the American people, over the long term, will gravitate towards.”
But the President added that that presidential candidates need an extensive knowledge base on a wide range of issues.
“[The] one thing everybody understands is that this job right here, you don’t have the luxury of just focusing on one thing,” Obama told Politico.