President Obama took a brief respite from his two-week summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard to attend a Democratic fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on the island Monday night. And with more than two months to go before the Nov. 8 election, the commander in chief said he’s already tired of talking about Donald Trump.
“You notice I haven’t said much about her opponent,” Obama told the approximately 60 guests who contributed $10,000 each to attend the fundraiser at a private home in Chilmark, Mass., according to a White House transcript.
“Frankly, I’m tired of talking about her opponent. I don’t have to make the case against her opponent because every time he talks he makes the case against his own candidacy.”
Obama said this despite the fact that he has yet to really hit the campaign trail for Clinton, who is running on an agenda that includes cementing the 44th president’s policy legacy.
At the Monday fundraiser, Obama further emphasized “a sense of urgency” in “finishing the job of getting her elected.”
“This has been an unpredictable election season,” Obama said. “Not only because of anxieties and concerns that the American people have, but also because of the changing nature of the media and voting patterns. There’s still a lot of uncertainty out there. And if we are not running scared until the day after the election, we are going to be making a grave mistake.”
According to RealClearPolitics’ most recent average of national polling data, Clinton has opened up a seven-point lead over Trump (48 percent to 41 percent) among likely voters. Following last month’s Republican National Convention, Trump held a one-point lead over the former secretary in RCP’s poll average.
Obama’s comments came hours after Clinton appeared at a rally in Scranton, Pa., with Vice President Joe Biden, who tore into Trump as a candidate who “doesn’t have a clue.”
“I can say that no major-party nominee in the history of the United States of America has known less or been less prepared to deal with national security than Donald Trump,” Biden said. “And what absolutely amazes me is he doesn’t seem to want to learn it.”
At the fundraiser, which Clinton did not attend, Obama said he did not want to “belabor” making the case for her candidacy, noting that both he and Biden already did that at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
“The main thing I want to emphasize is that this is somebody who I know and I have worked alongside for many years,” Obama said of Clinton. “And, look, I’m a Democrat, and so it’s fair to say that whoever the Democratic nominee was I would want to get behind them. But I don’t display the kinds of enthusiasm and energy and commitment to Hillary’s candidacy just because of the fact that we belong to the same political party.
“When I say that she knows what she’s talking about, it’s because I have seen her do the work,” he continued. “When I talk about her work ethic, it’s because I’ve watched her travel around the world and, at a breathless pace, manage a whole range of conflicts and open up opportunities that have resulted in American national security interests being served. When I tell you that I’ve seen how she works not just with me, but with her staff and people below her in a way that is full of integrity and seriousness and good humor, it’s something that I’ve witnessed on a day-to-day basis.”
Obama added that he’s learned that “you don’t know ahead of time how you’re going to turn out as president” until you’re actually “at that desk.”
“But I will tell you that I have as good a guess when it comes to how Hillary will respond as I would of anybody’s,” he said, “because I’ve seen her under really tough-pressure situations. And that’s what’s needed right now.”