President Barack Obama reportedly made a deal to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 in exchange for Bill Clinton’s enthusiastic support during the 2012 campaign.
According to Ed Klein, the author of The Amateur, Bill Clinton actually wanted Hillary to primary Obama, but Hillary rejected that idea. Bill Clinton reportedly said, “Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s an amateur!”
There is much animosity between Obama and Clinton, which stems from the 2008 Democratic primary when Clinton dismissed Obama as “Jesse Jackson,” comparing Obama’s overwhelming support in South Carolina with the support Jesse Jackson received from blacks in his failed presidential runs in the 1980s. Many thought Clinton’s comments were meant to be dismissive.
Klein reports that Obama strategist David Axelrod convinced Obama he ultimately needed Clinton, presumably to appeal to working class voters Obama and Mitt Romney repelled, to win reelection. Clinton reportedly demanded that Obama commit to endorsing Hillary in order to receive his support.
After the deal was reportedly made, Clinton gave a roaring speech at the Democratic National Convention, which seems to have upset Obama because it upstaged him.
Obama apparently then had second thoughts about endorsing Hillary, and Bill Clinton “went ballistic” and “threatened retaliation,” according to Klein. To assuage Bill Clinton, Obama reportedly called Steve Kroft, whom Klein describes as “his favorite journalist,” to do “an unprecedented ‘farewell interview’ with departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton” on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”
Black voters continue to overwhelmingly support Obama, and Obama’s endorsement would carry a lot of weight, especially since black voters make up nearly 50% of the Democratic primary electorate in the crucial early primary state of South Carolina.
In addition, Obama’s support would mean even more to Hillary, especially after some black voters soured on her during the 2008 campaign.