Jay Carney says Obama would 'prefer' Clinton over Sanders
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President Obama is rooting for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWatch live: Trump holds a rally in South Carolina On the ground at CPAC: Republicans see Sanders as formidable foe Home state candidates risk losing primaries MORE over Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersMSNBC's Chris Matthews confuses South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate with GOP's Tim Scott Trump surveys South Carolina supporters on preferred Democratic opponent Watch live: Trump holds a rally in South Carolina MORE (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential race, according to former White House press secrteary Jay Carney.

“I think the president has signaled while still remaining neutral that he supports Secretary Clinton’s candidacy and would prefer to see her as the nominee,” Carney said on CNN.


“I think he is maintaining the tradition of not intervening in a party primary. But I don’t think there is any doubt that he wants Hillary to win the nomination and believes she would be the best candidate in the fall and the most effective as president in carrying forward what he has achieved.”

Still, Carney said he does not expect Obama to make a public endorsement.

“[He won’t] officially embrace her unless and until it’s clear that she’s going to be the nominee,” added Carney, who exited the Obama administration in 2014.

Sanders dealt Clinton a blow Tuesday evening with a resounding victory in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary. He trounced Clinton 60 percent to her 39 percent, a larger margin than most polls projected before ballots were cast.

Tuesday’s results suggests an increasingly fierce Democratic nominating battle before the party’s next primary in South Carolina later this month.

Clinton holds most of the cards before the Feb. 27 contest, holding a nearly 30-point lead over Sanders there, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls.

Obama has even-handed in the Democratic presidential primary so far despite Clinton’s former role as secretary of State in his administration. He nonetheless expressed surprise before Tuesday’s contest over the enthusiasm Sanders is generating with voters.