- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

President Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Thursday afternoon, hours after meeting with her vanquished rival, Sen. Bernard Sanders.

The president made the expected announcement in a recorded video message, saying of Mrs. Clinton, “I’m with her.”

“I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” Mr. Obama said of his former secretary of state.

Mrs. Clinton immediately responded on Twitter: “Honored to have you with me, @POTUS. I’m fired up and ready to go!”

The post on the Clinton campaign Twitter account was signed “H,” which is supposed to indicate that Mrs. Clinton wrote the message herself.

The president’s endorsement, while hardly a surprise, came rapidly on the heels of his Oval Office meeting Thursday morning with Mr. Sanders and showed again how eager Mr. Obama is to begin campaigning against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump also reacted in a tweet: “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary. He wants four more years of Obama—but nobody else does!”

Almost immediately after the endorsement was released by the White House, the Clinton campaign announced that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton would campaign together Wednesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

“In Green Bay, President Obama and Clinton will discuss building on the progress we’ve made and their vision for an America that is stronger together,” the campaign said in a statement.

In his video endorsement, Mr. Obama emphasized Mrs. Clinton’s government experience, from participating in the decision to conduct the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, to guiding the country’s diplomacy.

“I know how hard this job can be,” he said. “That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it. She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done. I have seen her judgment. I have seen her toughness. I’ve seen her commitment to our values up close.”

In a message that appeared to have been recorded before they met Thursday morning, the president thanked Mr. Sanders for bringing millions of young voters to the Democratic Party.

“I had a great meeting with him this week, and I thanked him for shining a spotlight on issues like economic inequality and the outsized influence of money in our politics, and bringing young people into the process,” Mr. Obama said. “Embracing that message is going to help us win in November.”

He said of the presidential rivals, “They share a vision of America that we all believe in.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Mr. Obama recorded the video endorsement on Tuesday, as the final six states held their primaries, including California. He said Mr. Sanders “was not at all surprised” by the timing of the endorsement, because he and Mr. Obama had spoken by phone three times in the past week.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who dropped out of the 2016 Democratic primary race after a disappointing showing in Iowa, announced about an hour after Mr. Obama’s endorsement that he, too, will be supporting Mrs. Clinton for president.

“Democrats, independents and Republicans alike must come together to confront the fascist threat to our democracy presented by Donald Trump,” Mr. O’Malley said.

Mr. O’Malley commended Mr. Sanders for waging an “exciting” campaign and said he looks forward to campaigning for Mrs. Clinton.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Mr. Obama’s endorsement shows that Mrs. Clinton “is running to give President Obama’s failed polices a third term.”

“President Obama has trampled the Constitution, buried our country in $9 trillion of crushing new debt, presided over the weakest economy in a generation, and with Clinton’s help, pursued a weak and dangerous foreign policy that has made us less safe, Mr. Priebus said.

He said Mrs. Clinton, while secretary of state, “put our national security at risk with her illicit email server, which she devised to skirt government transparency laws and obscure her unethical dealings as the nation’s top diplomat.”

Hillary Clinton is the first ever presidential candidate to be under an FBI investigation, and her corrupt family foundation that has taken millions from foreign governments is an unprecedented conflict of interest,” Mr. Priebus said. “I don’t think there’s been a candidate for this office more unethical and untrustworthy than Hillary Clinton.”

S.A. Miller contributed to this story.

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