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‘Ready to pass the baton,’ Obama campaigns with Clinton

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wave to the crowd during a campaign rally for Clinton in Charlotte, N.C., today.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. >> President Barack Obama vigorously vouched for Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness and dedication today, making his first outing on the campaign stump for his former secretary of state just hours after his FBI director blasted her handling of classified material.

Shirt sleeves rolled up in campaign form, Obama declared, “I’m ready to pass the baton.”

“I’m here today because I believe in Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I have had a front-row seat to her judgment and her commitment.”

The energetic Obama-Clinton appearance in North Carolina was a show of Democratic unity in a state Clinton is hoping to put back in the party’s column. But the moment wasn’t what her campaign and the White House imagined during the long primary season.

Shortly before the president and his would-be successor flew to Charlotte together, FBI Director James Comey announced he would not recommend charges against Clinton for her email practices — but only after he presented a searing description of her “extremely careless” handling of classified information that ensured the matter won’t be going away.

The White House declined to comment on Comey’s findings, saying the investigation was not formally closed and it did not want to appear to be influencing prosecutors. Still, the timing of the trip pulled the president into a controversy he has at times tried to keep at arm’s length. His appearance with Clinton was a reminder that it was his appointee who declined to pursue criminal charges.

Yet Clinton and Obama did not veer from their display of lock-step unity. The duo flew to Charlotte together on Air Force One, they rode to the rally together in Obama’s armored limousine, known as “The Beast.” Clinton shared photos of her grandchildren, Charlotte and newborn Aidan, with the president.

As they were welcomed by a screaming crowd of supporters, the president led chants of “Hillary!” as they stood onstage under banners reading “Stronger Together.”

Referring back to their own primary battle in 2008, Obama said, “We may have gone toe to toe, from coast to coast, but we stood shoulder to shoulder for the ideals that we share.”

Clinton’s Republican rival didn’t let the Democratic duo’s outing go unanswered. As the rally began, Donald Trump released a lengthy statement casting the joint appearance as an example of a “rigged” political system.

“It was no accident that charges were not recommended against Hillary the exact same day as President Obama campaigns with her for the first time,” Trump said.

Clinton shot back early as she introduced the president, chiding Trump for once leading the questioning of the president’s birthplace.

She said Obama was a man that “I was honored to stand with in the good times and the bad times, someone who has never forgotten where he came from. And, Donald, if you’re out there tweeting, it’s Hawaii.”

Obama, too, got in a dig at Trump.

“Anybody can tweet but nobody actually knows what it takes” to be president, he said.

Obama’s and Clinton’s journey from political opponents to close political allies was a steady theme in the event.

The Clinton campaign hopes Obama can reassure voters about her experience, talent and character — and speak to their questions about her honesty and trustworthiness, some of which stem from the email investigation.

Indeed, the president took on the criticism of Clinton directly, casting the negative impressions of her as a result of her many years in the political spotlight. He also noted that he had benefited from Americans’ desire for a fresh face.

“Sometimes we take somebody who’s been in the trenches and fought the good fight and been steady for granted,” Obama said, as Clinton sat behind him. “As a consequence that means sometimes Hillary doesn’t get the credit she deserves. But the fact is Hillary is steady and Hillary is true.”

Clinton noted that she has been Obama’s loyal ally, lavishing praise on his record in the White House and saying he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for overseeing the nation’s economic recovery. She recalled her surprising decision to join his team after their bruising 2008 Democratic primary and shared memories of her four years in the administration, from crashing a meeting with the Chinese at a global climate summit to being in the Situation Room during the raid on Osama bin Laden

“He’s made difficult, even unpopular, decisions for the good of our country,” she said.

Obama and Clinton originally planned to make their first campaign appearance together in Wisconsin, a Democratic-leaning state where Clinton struggled in her primary fight with Bernie Sanders. Campaign aides viewed that as a way to forge Democratic unity after the bruising primary and consolidate the party’s voters in a state Clinton needs to carry in November.

The June 15 rally was postponed due to the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. By the time the campaign and White House got around to rescheduling, Clinton aides said the landscape had shifted — they are now far less worried about bringing along Sanders voters and more interested in using the president to rally voters in one of the most divided general election battlegrounds.

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  • Is it proper for a candidate for office and a president to ride on Airforce One? Does the candidate have to pay or is it free? It seems to me to be unfair for the government to underwrite the campaign cost for one candidate.

    • I belive i heard some news media said that Clinton’s campaign needs to pay the gov’t a portion of the expense, did not say what percentage though.

    • No, it is not proper to ride on Air Force One nor is it proper for the President to campaign for any candidate using the Seal of his office on the podium for a political campaign event because both actions convey that Clinton is being officially endorsed by the US government.

    • Poi, all his speeches or comments go through editors looking for ways to make him look bad. I mean he doesn’t need much help. As far as the Brexit comment when he was asked how Turnberry would do as a result he said they should do well if the pound devalued. That is Economics 101. A strong dollar versus a weak pound gives a better exchange and vice versa.

  • Lying Hillary! she’s a habitual liar and we all how that goes. Once she gets away with lying having no real repercussions she just keeps on going like an Energizer lying toy. No different than a gf/wife abuser, an alcoholic, a drug addict, etc.. If if she changes her lying ways she’d have to constantly watch what she says and that ain’t happening, gangy.

  • obama paved the way for the first female felon to be nominated president. he owed hiliar big time for taking point on benghazi and falsely blaming a video for the violence and deaths of the ambassador and staff.

    hiliar has shown other felons how to get away with the crime: control the evidence, destroy all the evidence you can, contain all conspirators testimony and have all conspirators use the same attorneys.

    chelsea has had in family training on committing crimes. both her father and father-in-law were indicted, arrested, convicted and sentenced for tax fraud.

    with this latest pass from the f.b.i. the clinton crime family has eclipsed bulger, capone and the rest of the east coast familias.

  • More like passing a stick of dynamite. Klastri can’t be too happy that the Director of the FBI called her a liar, extremely careless, hid emails and other documents. I have faith in Comey. He might let Hilliary walk for now but I got a feeling a bird or two is going to start singing. Boom.

    • Mr. Comey didn’t call her a liar, despite your fantasy that he did.

      Can you be truthful in just one comment? Maybe choose one tomorrow – just one would be fine – and not lie? Could you at least try that?

      And I can’t tell you how flattered I am that you think about and write about me so often. I never think about you. Not ever.

      • A lie is a statement that the stating party believes to be false and that is made with the intention to deceive.
        Yep, that’s what Comey said.

      • Pass the baton? Is Obama trying to be funny? This isn’t a relay race, and I’ll lay money Trump can outrun Hilliary. She can’t make it down the gang plank, not supposed to take long plane rides, extremely careless, no security clearance, bought and paid for by special interests, murdered innocent people. I don’t know how she can sleep at night.

      • Ok, it’s the day after. Hilliary is a liar.drip, drip, drip.
        What the heck was she doing in front of the Taj? Trump doesn’t own it anymore.
        Big crowd of supporters. They had to rustle up some homeless, including one of the contractors who lost millions, spray them down, they stunk so bad, and issue them some we’re together signs.
        One of her aides had a “clap” sign, it was so bad. As soon as they got paid off they left.

  • Majority of the Posters here are anti-Clinton but polls show the opposite. Are the Posters here much brighter and more intelligence than the numerous people for Clinton? Or are the polls the metaphor of gullible lemmings plunging into the sea and their unsuspecting death?

  • That’s got to be the stupidest, worst picture of the two biggest dorks who ever ran for office. Two idiots waving. Looks like a skit right out of SNL, only it’s not. What a mockery the presidency has become. The decline and eventual fall of the American empire was preceded by this clown show.

  • “President Barack Obama vigorously vouched for Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness and dedication today,…”.

    Whut? Wait a minute. Who’s vouching for his?

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