There may come a day when President Barack Obama has to say whether he’d rather hand the keys to the White House to Vice President Joe Biden or former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. That day is not today.
“Not a chance am I going there,” Obama told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in an interview on Thursday. “Both Hillary and Joe would make outstanding presidents and possess the qualities that are needed.”
“I think Joe Biden will go down in history as one of the best vice presidents ever,” the president went on. “Hillary, I think, will go down in history as one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve ever had.”
“They’ve got different strengths, but both of them would– would be outstanding,” he said.
The interview, held at American University, served mostly as a springboard for Obama’s efforts to reconnect with young voters: He urged them to enroll for health insurance under Obamacare, pleaded with them not to let America’s angry politics turn them off, allowed that NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s disclosures have put a spotlight on “some areas of legitimate concern” and – oh, right – reminded them to vote for Democrats in Nov. 2014.
“These midterm elections, in many ways, are more important, because that’s what’s going to determine who’s in charge of Congress,” he underlined.
“Don’t think that it all ends with me. It’s also important who’s the speaker of the House and who’s in charge of the Senate,” Obama said.
Turning to longstanding complaints about efforts to make it harder to cast a ballot, the president predicted there would be a bipartisan blueprint to boost voting come early 2014.
Obama noted that his top campaign lawyer, Bob Bauer, and Mitt Romney’s top campaign lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, have been looking at ways to do that.
“They’re supposed to report back to me by the end of this year, so that early next year, we’re going to put forward what we know will be a bipartisan effort or a bipartisan proposal to encourage people to vote.,” he said. “You can’t say you take pride in American democracy, American constitutionalism, American exceptionalism, and then you’re doing everything you can to make it harder for people to vote as opposed to easier for people to vote.”
In the meantime, “if we have evidence that you have mechanisms that are specifically designed to discriminate against certain groups of voters, then the Justice Department will come down on them and file suit,” he said.