Obama: Hillary Will Have To Build Her Own Coalition

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for RFK Ripple Of Hope/AFP
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for RFK Ripple Of Hope/AFP

Can Hillary Clinton win the Obama coalition of young people, women, and people of color? Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith asked that question in an interview with the president on Tuesday.

Obama signaled that if Clinton runs, she would have to build her own coalition to win the presidency.

“I don’t think any president inherits a coalition,” Obama replied. “I think any candidate has to win over people based on what they stand for, what their message is, what their vision is for the future.”

Obama admitted that he had reached a lot of younger voters, but pointed out that the reason more people of color supported him was “just reflective of the shifts in the country.”

Obama also pointedly reminded Smith that he had won in Iowa, which “doesn’t have one of the most diverse populations in the country.”

He explained that any candidate for president should focus on how to bring Americans together, rather than drive a wedge in the electorate.

“I think that one of the biggest challenges in our politics is always how do we get all of us to recognize what we have in common,” he said. “And there’s so many forces that push us apart. Race is just one of them. You’ve got the rural-urban divide. You have states that are traditionally very Republican versus very Democrat. North-South.”