(ABC News) — President Obama is set to hit the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton in the swing state of North Carolina next week after sitting out the primary until the former secretary of state became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee earlier this month.
The president has described his mood as “fired up” about talking with voters, adding that he “cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary.”
Obama is expected to campaign quite a bit for Clinton, particularly in the fall, and brings a unique perspective, having competed against her in the 2008 primary before working closely with her as his secretary of state.
“The president has had to opportunity to watch Secretary Clinton perform up close and he’s seen her tenacity, her dedication, her commitment to a set of principles that they share. And that’s why the president is quite enthusiastic about her campaign,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said earlier this month after Obama’s endorsement of Clinton released in a video.
But campaigning for Clinton is about much more than educating voters about the president’s admiration for the candidate, according to Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
It’s also about protecting his own legacy.
“Trump is a repudiation of Obama, if elected, plain and simple,” O’Hanlon said of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“If Obama sees Hillary in danger of losing and feels he can do something about it, he will leave no stone unturned, partly for her, but much more so for his own legacy.”
In order to make sure his successor builds on what he has achieved, the White House says, Obama will specifically reach out to Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters with whom he “has a lot of credibility” because he “fought very hard for many of the principles and priorities” Sanders talked about in his campaign.
Earnest has pointed out Wall Street reform as one area where the president and Sanders see eye-to-eye to “make sure that taxpayers are not on the hook for bailing out big banks that make risky bets.”
O’Hanlon says Obama’s popularity with “both halves,” meaning Sanders supporters and the Democratic base, will serve as a big boost to Clinton’s campaign in battleground states. The two were first scheduled to hit the campaign trail June 15 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but that event was postponed because of the Orlando shooting.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, Tuesday, Clinton’s campaign says, the two will “discuss the progress that’s been made” and “their vision for an America that is stronger together.”
It’s safe to assume the president will also repeat how qualified he thinks Clinton is for the job, while hitting Trump as he already has over the course of the primary.
“I know Hillary will be so good at it,” Obama said in his endorsement video. “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.”