>> To be the first to know that I'm with her.>> President Obama endorses Hillary Clinton on the same day that he meets with Senator Bernie Sanders at the White House.>> I don't think there's ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.>> I'm Jeff Mason at the White House.
I think President Obama's trying to draw a line under what was a contentious primary debate between Clinton and Sanders, by weighing in today before Senator Sanders officially drops out, he's saying, look the race is over, and this is my candidate. His poll ratings are higher than most Democrats, so he's a valuable asset for Hillary Clinton and has a pretty big podium from which to speak, and that's what he started to do today.
I think it's clear that President Obama is very eager to get out on the campaign trail. He likes to campaign. He doesn't get to run for President or any other office again but it's very important to him to see a Democrat succeed him. And by weighing in on Thursday and going out at as early as next week on Wednesday they've said already, it shows that he wants to jump feet first into the campaign trail.
He also wants to do that before the convention. Again, this is all part of his effort to get the Democratic Party united. At the same time he met earlier with Bernie Sanders. Sanders made a point of saying he was grateful that President Obama and Vice President Biden remained neutral in the race up until now.
He also said he looks forward to working with Hillary Clinton on how to defeat Trump.>> I look forward to meeting with her in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump.>> And that was a fairly conciliatory comment, since he didn't actually, this week, acknowledge the fact that she had become the presumptive nominee.
The leverage that Sanders has is this big group of supporters that have propelled him this far in the campaign. And he will use that leverage to try and affect the convention, to influence the party's platform. And that's another thing that he, no doubt, is talking to people about.
Sanders did not suggest today that he's ready to drop out. He has made it clear he wants to compete in the DC primary which takes place next week, but I think it's probably likely that as soon as that last vote is over that he'll be ready to go.