Obama: I Could Have Beat Trump For A Third Term


(relevant portion begins at 36:00 mark)

President Obama told former campaign strategist and senior White House aide David Axelrod that he would have won a third term if he ran again. In a podcast released Monday, Obama said that "people around the country" have told him his vision is "the right one."

AXELROD: Well, let me try something out on you (ph). 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.

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...

AXELROD: Yeah, right.

OBAMA: ... 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...

AXELROD: Which they did.

OBAMA: 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 -- 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.

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