President tells party to keep ‘running scared until the day after the election’
CHILMARK, Mass.—President Barack Obama warned against Democratic complacency Monday, telling members of his party that Republican nominee Donald Trump could still win the White House in this unpredictable election season.
At a fundraiser in Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Obama made an enthusiastic pitch for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and called on her supporters to work aggressively during the final 12 weeks of this campaign, saying that this race was far from over.
“If we are not running scared until the day after the election, we are going to be making a grave mistake,” the president told Democratic donors.
Polls have shown Mr. Trump slipping farther behind Mrs. Clinton in recent weeks amid a series of controversial comments. But the president said continuing criticism also had taken a toll on his former secretary of state’s reputation.
“We are still going to have to fight what has been an unrelenting negative campaign against her that has made a dent in the opinion of people even who are inclined to vote for her,” Mr. Obama said.
The president briefly interrupted a two-week family vacation on this island for Monday’s event, which benefited the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint committee of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties. Mrs. Clinton is expected to travel to Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday for another fundraiser in this scenic vacation spot off the coast of Cape Cod.
At the intimate, outdoor reception, the president touted Mrs. Clinton’s work ethic, saying that she’s not the flashiest person, but she will get the job done. And he told the crowd that he had grown tired of talking about Mr. Trump.
“I don’t have to make the case against her opponent because every time he talks, he makes the case against his own candidacy,” Mr. Obama said.
The president has not shied from lambasting Mr. Trump in his recent public remarks, but on Monday, he made only a passing reference to the GOP nominee and instead focused on making an affirmative case for his former secretary of state. He told supporters that he could personally vouch for Mrs. Clinton after working alongside her for years.
“I’m a Democrat, so it’s fair to say that whoever the Democratic nominee was, I would want to get behind them,” Obama said. “But I don’t display the kinds of enthusiasm and energy and commitment to Hillary’s candidacy just because of the fact we belong to the same political party.”
The president’s appearance at Monday’s event comes as the White House ramps up its efforts to boost Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. Vice President Joe Biden made his debut on the 2016 presidential campaign trail Monday in Scranton, Pa., where he courted working-class voters and declared that “Donald Trump has no clue what it takes to lead this great country.”
Last month, the president, first lady and vice president all voiced their support for Mrs. Clinton during the Democratic National Convention.
Tickets to Monday’s event cost $10,000, and the hosts—Hank and Carol Goldberg—contributed $33,400, according to a Clinton aide.
By COLLEEN MCCAIN NELSON, Wall Street Journal (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/08/15/obama-warns-democrats-to-not-get-too-comfortable-with-lead-over-trump/)