- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 30, 2016

President Obama describes himself and Sen. Bernard Sanders favorably as populists, but Hillary Clinton, not so much.

The White House on Thursday declined to label Mrs. Clinton as a populist, a day after Mr. Obama failed to mention her name while extolling the populist virtues of himself and Mr. Sanders, her vanquished rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“When it comes to Secretary Clinton, I’ll let her speak for herself to describe her own philosophy,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

Then he allowed that maybe Mrs. Clinton could be considered a populist, because some of the president’s populism may have rubbed off on her during her tenure as Mr. Obama’s secretary of state.

“My guess is, given the fact that she has been an outspoken advocate for building on the progress that our country has enjoyed under President Obama’s leadership that you could probably fairly apply that label to her too, but it’s something that her team should speak to,” Mr. Earnest said.

At a press conference in Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday, Mr. Obama went on a six-minute rant that journalists shouldn’t label presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump as a populist. Although he didn’t mention Mr. Trump’s name, Mr. Obama said the Republican has never fought for working-class people.

“The president believes it’s cynical for those who want to go in the opposite direction [from his policies] to describe themselves as populist,” Mr. Earnest said, who added that the president objects to journalists referring to Mr. Trump’s criticism of his policies as “populist criticism.”

“It’s just inaccurate,” he said.

Mr. Obama will make his first campaign appearance with Mrs. Clinton in North Carolina next week, and his spokesman said there are likely more anti-Trump rants to come.

“Considering we’ve got another six and a half months to go before the end of the presidency, I think it’s likely we’re all going to get to enjoy at least one more,” Mr. Earnest said. “I think there is a certain amount of freedom that politicians enjoy when they’re not on the ballot.”

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