Obama wades deeper into the 2016 presidential campaign

Source: The Washington Post

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton begin to tighten their grips on their respective party nominations, President Obama is plunging into the campaign fray, not only to help Democrats retain the White House, but also in defense of his own legacy in a political climate dominated by Trump.

“The president has been clear that as we get closer to the general election, it will become even more important that the American people understand what is at stake,” White House deputy press secretary Jennifer Friedman said in an email.

Obama and his top aides have been strategizing for weeks about how they can reprise his successful 2008 and 2012 approaches to help elect a Democrat to replace him. And out of concern that a Republican president in 2017 — either Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) — would weaken or reverse some of his landmark policies, Obama and his surrogates have started making the case that it is essential for the GOP to be defeated in November.

As a result, Obama is poised to be the most active sitting president on the campaign trail in decades.

“Do we continue to build on the policies that reward hard-working American families . . . and address challenges for future generations, or do we stop in our tracks, reverse our progress and move in the wrong direction?” Friedman wrote. “This is a choice that the president does not take lightly, and is something he will lay out for the American people with increased frequency in the weeks and months ahead.”

Central to the White House effort to stop Trump — or, under a less likely scenario, one of his rivals — is reassembling and energizing the coalition that propelled Obama into office; that means African Americans, Latinos, young voters and women.

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Austin on Friday, Obama said that consolidating the gains that Democrats have made over the course of his presidency will depend on ensuring that people are “engaged and working just as hard and just as full of hope as they did in 2008.”

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