In a video published by Hillary for America on Thursday, President Obama endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president. Obama's message spoke strongly to party unity, and made a point to acknowledge the role Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has played in the race. He stated that Democratic values will be tested over these next few months. The transcript of his endorsement is moving.
For more than a year now, across thousands of miles and all 50 states, tens of millions of Americans have made their voices heard. Today, I just want to add mine. I want to congratulate Hillary Clinton on making history as the presumptive Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Look, I know how hard this job can be. That’s why I know Hillary will be so good at it. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office. She’s got the courage, the compassion, and the heart to get the job done. And I say that as someone who had to debate her more than 20 times. Even after our own hard-fought campaign, in a testament to her character she agreed to serve our country as secretary of state. From the decision we made in the situation room to get Bin Laden, to our pursuit of diplomacy in capitals around the world, I have seen her judgement, I’ve seen her toughness, I’ve seen her commitment to our values up close. I’ve seen her determination to give every American a fair shot at opportunity, no matter how tough the fight was. That’s what has always driven her. And it still does. So I want those of you who have been with me from the beginning of this incredible journey to be the first to know that I’m with her. I am fired up, and I cannot wait to get out there and campaign.
I also want to thank everybody who turned out to vote and who worked so hard for our candidates. This has been a hard-fought race. I know some say these primaries have somehow left the Democratic party more divided. Well, they said that eight years ago as well. But just like eight years ago, there are millions of Americans, not just Democrats, who have cast their ballots for the very first time. And a lot of that is thanks to senator Bernie Sanders, who has run an incredible campaign. I had a great meeting with him this week, and I thanked him for shining a spotlight on issues like economic inequality and the outsized influence of money in our politics, and bringing young people into our process. Embracing that message is going to help us win in November. But more importantly, it will make the Democratic party stronger, and it will make America stronger. Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders may have been rivals during this primary, but they’re both patriots who love this country. They share a vision for the America that we all believe in, an America that is hopeful, an America that big-hearted, an America that is strong and fair and gives every child the same chance that we had. Those are the values that unite us as Democrats. Those are the values that make America great. Those are the values that are going to be tested in this election. But if we all come together in common effort, I’m convinced we won’t just win in November, well build on the progress that we have made and we will win a brighter future for this country that we love.
Party unity has been a contentious topic in recent weeks, as Democrats debate whether Sanders' decision to remain in the race has made for a livelier, stronger party or has risked alienating certain voters from Clinton, even losing them to Trump in the general election. Obama's praise of Sanders might not glue the party together in full, but it's a much more productive move than simply congratulating Clinton and leaving the Vermont senator behind.