President Obama recently sat down with his good friend David Axelrod for an hour-long interview where they ruminated on the Obama era of American politics.
The discussion was far ranging, but the part that seems to be capturing the most interest today happens about 36 minutes into the interview when the President tells Axelrod that he believes he would have defeated Donald Trump if he, instead of Hillary Clinton, had been running for President.
Donald Trump was, of course, incredulous.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 26, 2016
Listen/read for yourself, as President Obama waxes delusional:
Below is a partial transcript of the pertinent comments, but you can find a full transcript of the interview at CNN. The pertinent comments come about 36 minutes into the interview.
David Axelrod: Well, let me try something out on you… I mean, my sense is that McConnell, just as a clinical political matter, recognized the power of your message and figured out very quickly — and he’s pretty much said this — that if we were to cooperate, it would’ve meant that he had figured this out.
President Barack Obama: It would’ve validated this vision and it would’ve reinforced it and — and it would have, I think, consolidated itself for a generation or two. And so Mitch McConnell’s insight, which I’ve — I’ve said, just from a pure… tactical perspective, was pretty smart and well executed, the degree of discipline that he was able to impose on his caucus was impressive. His insight was that we just have to say no to that. And if we can just throw sand in the gears, then at a time of deep economic crisis, when people are really stressed, really worried, we’re already stressed and worried before the crisis, now are thinking the — the bottom’s falling out of their lives and their home prices are going down, their 401(k)s are evaporating, they’re losing their jobs.
That if we just say no, then that will puncture the balloon, that all this talk about hope and change and no red state and blue state is — is proven to be a mirage, a fantasy. And if we can — if we can puncture that vision, then we have a chance to win back seats in the House and… and win back seats in the Senate. And — and so, I understand what happened politically.
Two points I would make though, David, because obviously in the wake of the election and Trump winning, a lot of people have — have suggested that somehow, it really was a fantasy. What I would argue is, is that the culture actually did shift, that the majority does buy into the notion of a one America that is tolerant and diverse and open and — and full of energy and dynamism.
And the problem is, it doesn’t always manifest itself in politics, right? You know, I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I — if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.
I know that in conversations that I’ve had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one.
It’s an interesting exercise in rewriting history, but the truth is we’ll never know because our Presidents are term-limited (thankfully). However, it does reveal some interesting perspective about President Obama, doesn’t it? The man is a grade-A narcissist and this is simply more evidence (not that we needed more evidence) of that fact.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke used the President’s comments as an opportunity to openly mock him.
Yeah right. He would have won the 2016 US Open golf if he had played too. Obama couldn't win N. Carolina for Clinton https://t.co/sn0XrCZo2z
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) December 27, 2016
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) was asked about the comments on MSNBC,1 and he delivered a perfect response, calling the President’s words “graceless.”
Look, I think people get pretty tired of you after eight years, no matter how good the show’s been. I think that’s a little bit graceless, where Secretary Clinton was concerned.
I’m surprised he did it.
These guys all have pretty strong ego, if you’re President of the United States. They all think they can win anything, all the time. But there’s a reason that only Franklin Roosevelt’s pulled this off. Even other presidents like Grant that tried to come back after four haven’t been able to do it. So I suspect, probably not. But again, it’s an interesting parlor game. We’ll just simply never know. I’m surprised he raised it publicly, because I don’t think it reflected well on him.