Does Obama secretly support Hillary Clinton for 2016?
January 24th, 2014
03:12 PM ET
10 months ago

Does Obama secretly support Hillary Clinton for 2016?

(CNN) - Political observers are trying to read the tea leaves after the largest super PAC that backed President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is now raising money for a potential Hillary Clinton bid.

The group, Priorities USA Action, also added Obama's top re-election campaign official, Jim Messina, to its roster as co-chairman.

So does that mean the transition comes with the President's knowledge or support?

Not necessarily, says White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

At Friday's press briefing, Carney was asked if Messina alerted the President he was going to help out at Priorities, and if it indicates the President himself supports her.

"I think Jim Messina is an independent American citizen," Carney responded. "He's not affiliated with the President, the White House. The campaign is over."

A reporter argued Messina spent more time with the President that anyone else during the campaign, indicating the two must be close.

But Carney said that may not have been the case "because the campaign was run out of Chicago."

"Obviously, (Messina) worked here and he's close to the President, but you know, what he does and what an independent, third-party organization does is not something that is coordinated with the White House."

It's no surprise Carney can't say whether or not the President supports his former Secretary of State. The President's right hand man, Vice President Joe Biden, is mulling a 2016 bid as well. At this time – so early in the next presidential election cycle – Obama can't be seen as taking sides in the race for the Democratic nomination.

"The president is focused on what he can do in 2014 and 2015 and 2016, as president with the unbelievable privilege and opportunity to be the CEO of an organization that has more capacity to do good in the country and the world than any other," Carney said. "You know, what 2016 looks like? I promise that's not something that's on his mind."

Pressed further whether Messina told Obama he was joining Priorities, Carney said he's "not privy to every single conversation the President has with the variety of people who have worked with him in the past."

Messina isn't the first former Obama campaign aide to jump into the Hillary Clinton orbit.

Ready for Hillary, a group that raises money and pushes for Clinton to run, said last summer they had partnered with 270 Strategies, a consulting firm run by Mitch Stewart, the director of battleground state strategy for Obama's 2012 campaign, and Jeremy Bird, who was Obama's national field director in last year's contest.

CNN's Ashley Killough and Chloe Sommers contributed to this report.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The President has stated previously that if the nomination is between Joe & Hillary that he's staying out of it. However, I'm sure the President will stand behind the candidate who is going to hold up the ACA.

    January 24, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    I'd question his sanity if he backed Biden. Seriously.

    January 24, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Obama only supports Obama, and no one else.

    January 24, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. jerrylax

    who in their right mind would vote for either of these two? clinton with decades of controversy right up to benghazi and biden…a total goof ball as president. Another cnn non article...

    January 24, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Rudy NYC
    Lynda wrote:

    "I wish I could make the same claim, but I have found myself too often on the receiving end of "4th grade" name calling."
    ––

    Oh – but Rudy ... you've given as well as received !! I'm only suggesting here that I am an outsider looking in. Both you and Fair is Fair have had some very lively conversations and I do appreciate a good debate when I see one. The two of you are very, very good at what you do.
    -------–
    Nope. Never have I called someone a name. I will find words to describe what someone wrote, but never name calling. I've posted my opnions about name calling many times. "Once you go there, you've lost the argument." Remember?
    -------

    Oh my. In my willingness to compliment you, I have offended you?

    That'll teach me, eh?

    January 24, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. IA

    Will he be a man and stand up for one or the other? Politicians don't do that...Rep or Dem.

    January 24, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Wake up People!

    Let's be fair, Fair. You've always questioned his sanity along with his intelligence.

    January 24, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    This is nonsense. What's next? Will popsicles rain down from the sky in all the different flavors except lime, and why is lime being left out? Will unicorns farting gold coins while running along a self-perpetuating rainbow bridge invade your town and make everyone rich but smelly? Speculation and conspiracy-esque drivel.

    January 24, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Silence DoGood

    @jerrylax "clinton with decades of controversy right up to benghazi "
    ---------
    All fishing expeditions led by conservative money. At the end of the day there was no fish to bring home.
    Time to switch again. How about asking for (no demand it) Ms.Clinton's birth certificate?

    January 24, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Rick McDaniel
    Obama only supports Obama, and no one else.
    ----------------------------------------
    How can you prove that? He's only been in a primary against Hillary.

    January 24, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    These non-controversies are cracking me up, CNN.

    January 24, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -Lynda/Minnesota

    Rudy NYC
    Lynda wrote:

    "I wish I could make the same claim, but I have found myself too often on the receiving end of "4th grade" name calling."
    ––

    Oh – but Rudy ... you've given as well as received !! I'm only suggesting here that I am an outsider looking in. Both you and Fair is Fair have had some very lively conversations and I do appreciate a good debate when I see one. The two of you are very, very good at what you do.
    ---–
    Nope. Never have I called someone a name. I will find words to describe what someone wrote, but never name calling. I've posted my opnions about name calling many times. "Once you go there, you've lost the argument." Remember?
    ---

    Oh my. In my willingness to compliment you, I have offended you?

    That'll teach me, eh?
    ***************
    Then don't compliment him. Apparently that is akin to poking a tiger when you utter the uncomfortable truth, like he's very good at what he does. Rudy, not every situation is worthy of your talent.

    January 24, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Wake up People!

    Let's be fair, Fair. You've always questioned his sanity along with his intelligence.
    -----------------------
    She and tom "disproved" my claim that 200,000 workers have left Wisconsin since Walker took over by posting population figures that showed a steady growth in Wisconsin's population. I guess that they forgot about babies being born, and expected to see a drop in the population, instead of the slow down in growth that they demonstrated.

    January 24, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Lynda,

    Oh my. In my willingness to compliment you, I have offended you? That'll teach me, eh?
    ------------------------–
    No offense taken. You were merely mistaken. I've always been quite clear about name callers being losers.

    January 24, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    @IA "Will he be a man and stand up for one or the other? "
    ------
    OK – here are Obama's choices and the GOP/media responses:
    - Obama stays out of it – "Why can't he be a man and stand up for one or the other?"
    - Obama backs Clinton – "Why did he abandon his VP? He is a turn-coat"
    - Obama backs Biden – "Why is he meddling in this? He wants to control everything"
    - Obama picks flowers – "He is a socialist dictator."

    January 24, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. The REAL Truth...

    @jerrylax – who in their right mind would vote for either of these two? clinton with decades of controversy right up to benghazi and biden
    ---------------------------
    Given what I have seen the GOP produce over the last 2 sets of POTUS elections.. I'd pick either one ahead of ANY Republican nominee... Romney, Santorum, Perry, Paul (both) and potentially Ryan, Rubio, Cruz, and so on.. It's not a tough choice for anyone not living in a double-wide.

    January 24, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |