President Barack Obama has insisted that if he were able to run for a third term, he would have defeated President-elect Donald Trump.
“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,” he told former campaign chief David Axelrod in a CNN podcast interview. He said he would use the message of hope and change—the same he used during his successful 2008 bids.
“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 said.
Obama also gave a backhand compliment to Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, the current Senate Majority Leader, for his “insight” while trying to obstruct his administration.
“[J]ust from a pure tactical perspective, was pretty smart and well executed, the degree of discipline that he was able to impose on his caucus was impressive,” Obama said.
Following Trump’s victory, the president noted that some people have said it represents a repudiation of Obama’s message for the past eight years.
“Obviously in the wake of the election and Trump winning, a lot of people have suggested that, somehow, it really was a fantasy,” he said. “What I would argue is, is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and full of energy and dynamism. And the problem is, it doesn’t always manifest itself in politics, right?”
Obama, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, said media outlets held her to a double standard, saying she “performed wonderfully” despite losing. Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, although the president-elect handily won the Electoral College.
“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 said.
The president again went after right-wing media outlets and pundits like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.
“[I]f we’re not actually out there like we are during campaigns, then folks in a lot of these communities, what they’re hearing is Obama wants to take away my guns,” he told Axelrod.