Clinton: Obama supporters are ‘very enthusiastic’ about me

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE says President Obama’s core supporters are enthusiastic about her campaign even though polls show her numbers flagging.

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Clinton told MSNBC host Al Sharpton that Obama Democrats are rallying to her campaign, even though a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows her trailing Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) by 9 points in New Hampshire.

“They’re coming to me. The amount of support I have from people who supported then Sen. Obama in my race against him in ‘08 and then others who have been supporting him ever since. It’s really very gratifying to me,” Clinton told Sharpton on “PoliticsNation.”

Clinton’s campaign has been dogged by the perception that base Democratic voters are not very enthusiastic about her bid.

Former chief Obama strategist David Axelrod summed up the sentiment in a recent Tweet.

“It’s hard to inspire w/grinding, tactical race. ‘Hillary: Live With It’ is no rallying cry!” he wrote.

Clinton’s numbers have slumped in recent months, prompting Vice President Joe Biden to think hard about jumping into the race, despite being 72 years old and having laid almost no groundwork for it.

“I think the number of people both in my campaign and on the ground around the country who are supporting me who were first and foremost supporters of President Obama speaks very well to their understanding of how hard this job is and how they need to elect somebody, a Democrat, who can build on the successes of the Obama presidency and that’s what I’m pledged to do,” she said.

Clinton’s comments, coming in an exclusive interview with Sharpton on the inaugural Sunday edition of “PoliticsNation” appears to be an attempt at reaching African-American voters, a key constituency especially in Southern primary states.

Democratic strategists say that Clinton’s advantage with minority voters in the South will serve as her firewall against Sanders if he continues to surge in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Clinton is in the tricky position — much like Al Gore 16 years ago — of having to find the right balance between embracing the sitting Democratic president and not getting two close.

Republicans have attacked her campaign as a third term of the Obama presidency, a perception that could become a liability if it catches on with voters.

Obama’s job approval rating stands at 48 percent according in the most recent Gallup poll. Former President Bill Clinton’s approval was 59 percent at the end of September 1999, when Gore was agonizing over how to handle Clinton’s legacy, which some Democratic strategists at the time viewed as tarnished because of a White House intern sex scandal.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who is also running for president, told Fox News in August that Clinton would be a “third term of Barack Obama’s.”

Clinton argued Sunday that would not be the case.

“I’m not running for President’s Obama third term or for Bill Clinton’s third term, I’m running for my first term but I know what works and I know how important it is to stand up for our values, to stand up for our interests and our security in a way that makes sense, which is support,” she said.

Yet she was careful not to distance herself too much by emphasizing that Obama’s constituency is “very enthusiastic” about her succeeding him in the Oval Office.

“People who supported President Obama are very enthusiastic and I’m grateful for that in support of my candidacy,” she said.