Subscribe to our mailing list

What Topic Matters Most To You?
View Privacy Policy

Obama: People Didn’t Understand Hillary Clinton’s Economic Message

Obama says Clinton played it safe.

Obama and Clinton

President Obama sat down with David Axelrod for an exit interview before he leaves office in January. Axelrod asked Obama how Donald Trump was able to win 200 counties that Obama had won, and what went wrong with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“We’ve both been in campaigns. If you think you’re winning, then you have a tendency, just like in sports, maybe to play it safer,” Obama told Axelrod of Clinton’s campaign.

Obama went on to say about Clinton’s economic message: “There is a sense, obviously, that some communities have been left behind from the recovery and people feeling anxious about that. But if she was looking at the campaign and saying ‘OK, I’m winning right now,’ and her economic agenda was in fact very progressive.”

“But not well understood. A lot of trees, no forest,” Axelrod interjected.

“No, you’re right, not well understood. But understandably, I think she looked and said ‘well, given my opponent and the things he’s saying and what he’s doing, we should focus on that,’” Obama responded.

“The — the problem is, is that we’re not there on the ground communicating, not only the dry policy aspects of this, but that we care about these communities, that we’re bleeding for these communities, that we understand why they’re frustrated,” Obama went on to say.

Obama concluded, taking a final shot at Clinton it would seem: “And there’s an emotional connection, and part of what we have to do to rebuild is to be there and — and that means organizing, that means caring about state parties, it means caring about local races, state boards or school boards and city councils and state legislative races and not thinking that somehow, just a great set of progressive policies that we present to the New York Times editorial board will win the day.”