In yet another "exit interview" earlier this week with David Axelrod, Obama took the opportunity to remind us once again just how awesome he is. In doing so, he noted that he was "confident" he could have beaten Trump in 2016 and implied that Hillary lost, not because of his failures in the White House, but because she was lazy, complacent, boring and arrogant...although his word choice was way less direct and more on the passive aggressive side.
Apparently these passive aggressive attacks didn't sit well with the Huffington Post's senior political editor, Sam Stein, who appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe with some rare honesty about Obama's political legacy.
"Yeah, I mean this was as much a dig against Clinton as it was Trump from President Obama."
"You look at the destruction of the Democratic Party under Barack Obama’s leadership and you have to wonder, what was the political -- what were the electoral benefits that he gave to the party?”
“He leaves them in a much worse position. The states are decimated, they lost control of the House and Senate, the governorships are decimated.”
"Maybe [Obama] is a gifted candidate. He won election twice by substantial margins, but his legacy as a politician is a bit muddied by all that.”
Careful who you attack, President Obama, the HuffPo likes you but not if you're going to attack their chosen one.
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For those who missed it, here are the details of Obama's interview with Axelrod from earlier this week.
The ever humble Barack Obama has just wrapped up yet another "exit interview," this time with democratic political operative David Axelrod, in which he effectively throws the entire Hillary team under the bus for not connecting with voters while declaring that he would have beaten Donald Trump.
While recognizing that "a lot of people" now think that his whole "Hope & Change" mantra was nothing more than "a fantasy," Obama said he was confident he could have "mobilized a majority of Americans" where Hillary failed because he is better able to articulate the message of "Hope." The full interview with Axelrod can be heard on CNN.
"In the wake of the election and Trump winning, a lot of people have suggested that somehow, it really was a fantasy," Obama said of the hope-and-change vision he heralded in 2008. "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."
"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," Obama told his former senior adviser David Axelrod in an interview for the "The Axe Files" podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
Somehow Obama still seems to be convinced that the American people are simply longing for a few more eloquent speeches from polished politicians rather than actual change in Washington. That said, for some reason we doubt voters chose Trump for his "eloquence"...big league.
Not satisfied with simply reminding us once again that he would have beaten Trump, Obama also decided to take a few more parting shots at Hillary by basically describing her as lazy, complacent, boring and arrogant...not in those exact word, of course.
"If you think you're winning, then you have a tendency, just like in sports, maybe to play it safer," he said, adding later he believed Clinton "performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances" and was mistreated by the media.
"We're not there on the ground communicating not only the dry policy aspects of this, but that we care about these communities, that we're bleeding for these communities," he said. "It means caring about local races, state boards or school boards and city councils and state legislative races and not thinking that somehow, just a great set of progressive policies that we present to the New York Times editorial board will win the day."
Meanwhile, Obama also reminded us that he'll use his retirement to recruit and develop "young Democratic leaders" including organizers, journalists and politicians and that, unlike previous presidents, he plans to be vocal in his opposition to Trump's policies.
He said part of his post-presidential strategy would be developing young Democratic leaders -- including organizers, journalists and politicians -- who could galvanize voters behind a progressive agenda. He won't hesitate to weigh in on important political debates after he leaves office, he told Axelrod.
Following a period of introspection after he departs the White House, Obama said he would feel a responsibility as a citizen to voice his opinions on major issues gripping the country during Trump's administration though he would not necessarily weigh in on day-to-day activities.
"At a certain point, you make room for new voices and fresh legs," Obama said.
"That doesn't mean that if a year from now, or a year-and-a-half from now, or two years from now, there is an issue of such moment, such import, that isn't just a debate about a particular tax bill or, you know, a particular policy, but goes to some foundational issues about our democracy that I might not weigh in," Obama went on. "You know, I'm still a citizen and that carries with it duties and obligations."
Obama's first acts out of office, however, will be lower-profile. He said he'll focus on writing a book and self-analyzing his time in office. Obama and his family plan to live in Washington while his younger daughter finishes high school.
"I have to be quiet for a while. And I don't mean politically, I mean internally. I have to still myself," he said. "You have to get back in tune with your center and process what's happened before you make a bunch of good decisions."
While we're happy to see that Obama has de-emphasized the "Russian hacking" narrative in his official talking points, we continue to be stunned by his blissful ignorance to the true underlying causes of Hillary's loss.