- The Washington Times - Friday, September 23, 2016

President Obama says there is a “level of mistrust” and a “caricature” associated with Hillary Clinton that doesn’t correspond with the person he knows.

Ahead of the first presidential debate Monday, Mr. Obama advised Mrs. Clinton to “be yourself and explain what motivates you.”

“I’ve gotten to know Hillary and seen her work and seen her in tough times and in good times. She’s in this for the right reasons,” Mr. Obama said in an interview for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” parts of which aired Friday.

“I think there’s a reason why we haven’t had a woman president before and so she’s having to break down some barriers,” he said of the Democratic nominee.

“There’s a level of mistrust and a caricature of her that just doesn’t jibe with who I know — this person that cares deeply about kids, and wants to make sure they get a good education and wants to make working families have support and wants everyone to succeed and wants to keep America safe,” he said.

Mr. Obama defeated Mrs. Clinton in a bitter 2008 Democratic presidential primary contest and later selected her to serve as his secretary of state.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has been picking up ground on Mrs. Clinton in recent polls — some of which also show her continue to struggle with issues tied to honesty and trustworthiness.

Even in a national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week that showed Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. Trump by 7 points head-to-head, 41 percent said Mr. Trump would be better at being honest and straightforward, compared to 31 percent who chose Mrs. Clinton.

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