Obama endorses Clinton, gently nudging Sanders to bow out

In this Dec. 1, 2008, file photo, then-President-elect Barack Obama, left, stands with then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., after announcing that she is his choice as Secretary of State during a news conference in Chicago. President Barack Obama formally endorsed Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House on Thursday, June 9, 2016, praising his former secretary of state's experience and grit, and urging Democrats to unite behind her in the fight against Republicans in the fall. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — President Obama sat down Sen. Bernie Sanders at the White House on Thursday morning, and publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton in early afternoon.

“I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it,” asserted Mr. Obama in a pre-produced YouTube video filled with pictures and music.

He continued, “In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”

Clinton tweeted, signed herself, reading, “Honored to have you with me, @POTUS. I’m fired up and ready to go!”

Despite the endorsement, Democrats are still in the middle of a tricky dance requiring they waltz with Sen. Sanders while also ushering him out of the 2016 race.

Democratic leaders want Sanders out. But they also want to retain his crucial base.

Sanders has developed an enormous and energetic well of support among young voters – a core group Clinton is eager to tap into this election cycle.

The Sanders campaign has valuable email lists and donor rolls that the party would love to get its hands on.

If he’s pushed too hard too fast, they risk the wrath of Sanders and his backers.

At this juncture, Sanders will not – and numerically cannot – win the party’s nomination, yet still refuses to quit.

The president’s endorsement Thursday is a not-so-gentle signal to Sanders that his time has expired.

Democrats’ patience has reached its limit, considering that occupants of the party’s upper rung kept their lips sealed for a year and allowed the process to play out.

Now that Clinton has reached the number of delegates needed to win the nomination, there’s an expectation of Sanders to fully throw his support behind Clinton following next Tuesday’s final primary in D.C.

If he’s compliant, Sanders stands on solid ground as he makes demands of party leaders regarding convention prep and central party planks.

Following his sitdown with Mr. Obama, Sanders thanked him for remaining impartial during primary season and said, “I look forward to meeting with her in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent.”

It appears Sanders knows his juggernaut political bid is nearly over, but intends to extract as many concessions as humanly possible before signing off.

The final 2016 primary will be held in Washington on June 14.

Follow Chance Seales on Twitter: @ChanceSeales

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