- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2015

As another high-level staffer leaves the Obama administration to work on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s likely presidential campaign, the White House on Friday did not rule out the possibility the president could endorse Mrs. Clinton or another candidate at some point in the primary process.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said it would be unusual for a president to take such a step but left the door open.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule it out at this point. But we’ll see. Long way to the Democratic convention,” he told reporters.

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His comments come on the same day White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri leaves the administration for an expected top spot on Mrs. Clinton’s presidential team. Former White House counselor John Podesta also will join the former secretary of state’s fledgling campaign.

While offering no specific endorsement for Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Earnest hinted to reporters that the former secretary of state could be the next president.

Ms. Palmieri “is somebody who has earned the respect and admiration of so many people here at the White House. Not just for her obvious skill at what she does but, really, the way that she does her job, I think, has really is what has many people sad about her departure today,” he said. “So that said, I’m confident that she has a very bright professional future, and I think it’s possible that, while today is her last day in this White House, it may not be the last time that she serves at the White House, so we’ll see.”

Also this week, supporters of Vice President Joseph R. Biden launched the “Draft Joe Biden 2016” organization to begin laying the groundwork for a possible presidential bid.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and others also are expected to run.

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