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President Obama on His Legacy and the Future of the Democratic Party (Audio)

Posted on Dec 27, 2016
President Obama and David Axelrod in 2009. (Flickr / CC 2.0)

In a new interview on David Axelrod’s podcast “The Axe Files,” President Barack Obama shed light on his eight years in the Oval Office and talked about what may be in store for the Democratic Party.

The two began by discussing Obama’s ascent to the presidency—Axelrod worked on both of Obama’s successful presidential campaigns—and his initial distaste for the famous slogan “Yes We Can.”

Halfway through the interview, they began to discuss President-elect Donald Trump and the ways Hillary Clinton’s campaign could have been more successful. Obama said:

Look, you know, I think that Hillary Clinton performed wonderfully under really tough circumstances. I’ve said this publicly, I’ll repeat it. I think there was a double standard with her. For whatever reason, there’s been a longstanding difficulty in her relationship with the press that meant her flaws were wildly amplified …

In retrospect, we can all be Monday morning quarterbacks. Here’s what I—here’s what I would say prospectively, is that the Democratic agenda is better for all working people. …

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The problem is, is that we’re not there on the ground communicating not only the dry policy aspects of this, but that we care about these communities, that we’re bleeding for these communities.

Obama addressed the role of the media in the chaotic 2016 presidential race, noting that politics “becomes more complicated now that you’ve got social media, where people are getting news that reinforces their biases.”

However, he maintained a positive political outlook. “I would argue that during the entire eight years that I’ve been president, that spirit of America has still been there in all sorts of ways,” he told Axelrod. “It manifests itself in communities all across the country … 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.”

He also explained how he hopes to help the Democratic Party grow after his term comes to a close. He noted “a generation gap” between many current leaders of the Democratic National Committee and the millennials who are part of the party.

“[T]hat’s where I can be helpful, shine a spotlight on all the great work that’s being done and [on] all the wonderful young Americans who will help lead the way in the future.”

Listen to the full interview below, and read the transcript here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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