Politics 2016: President Obama Confident He Could Win (If Third Term Allowed)

President Barack Obama says he is “confident” that his platform of “hope and change” would have won him the 2016 presidency if he had been eligible to run.

Obama, who was speaking hypothetically about going up against Trump since it would have been for a third term, told his former senior adviser, David Axelrod, why he believes his message still resonates.

“The Democratic agenda is better for all working people,” said Obama, adding that the idea that Democrats have abandoned the white working class is “nonsense” and that the Affordable Care Act benefits “a huge number” of Trump voters. “Education, family leave, community colleges, making it easier for unions to organize, that’s an agenda for working class Americans of all stripes.”

Obama admitted that it’s a problem the Democratic party has failed to communicate both policy and that the party cares to places like West Virginia and Kentucky.

“There’s an emotional connection, and part of what we have to do to rebuild is to be there,” he said about being involved in state parties and local races.

Michelle and Barack Obama

Obama then said that in the wake of Trump’s election, “a lot of people” have suggested that these values, of his hope and change platform launched in 2008, were a “fantasy.”

“What I would argue is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism,” he said. “The problem is, it doesn’t always manifest itself in politics, right?”

He continued, “I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.

“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.”

During the wide-ranging chat, Obama also defended Hillary Clinton, saying she “performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances.”

“I’ve said this publicly, I’ll repeat it: I think there was a double standard with her,” he said of the former Democratic presidential candidate. “For whatever reason, there’s been a longstanding difficulty in her relationship with the press that meant her flaws were wildly amplified relative to Trump’s.”

He added that it’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback: “Understandably, I think she looked and said, ‘Well, given my opponent and the things he’s saying and what he’s doing, we should focus on that.'”

Obama again expressed his plans to step aside and let the new leadership take form.  His long-term interest is to help build the next generation of leaders by encouraging the 20-and 30-year-old organizers, journalists and politicians to put their idealism to productive use. Short term, however, he won’t be “the old guy at the bar who’s just hanging around reliving old glories.”

“My intentions on January 21st [are] to sleep, take my wife on a nice vacation — and she has said it better be nice,” he said. He also plans to pen a book. “I’m gonna start thinking about the first book I want to write.”

He continued, “I have to be quiet for a while, internally. I have to still myself… You have to get back in tune with your center and process what’s happened before you make a bunch of good decisions.”

He concluded by stressing again how he plans to move aside to make room for “new voices and fresh legs.”