President Obama said Tuesday that people will someday be amazed a woman had not served as president for so long in comments that came close to publicly backing Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE.
“I want young girls and boys to come here 10, 20, 100 years from now to know that women fought for equality,” he said at the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington. Obama designated the Capitol Hill site as a national monument to honor the women's rights movement.
“I want them to be astonished there was ever a time when women were vastly outnumbered in the boardroom or in Congress, that there was ever a time when a woman had never sat in the Oval Office.”
Without mentioning the current presidential race, Obama said he does not know how long it will take for a woman to be elected. “But I know we are getting closer to that day because of the work of generations of active, committed citizens.”
Since 1929, the Sewall-Belmont House has been the headquarters of the National Woman’s Party, established in the early 1900s to fight for equal rights for women.
The president made the remark a day after Vice President Biden spoke about the importance of electing a female president.
"This country is ready for a woman. There's no problem, we're going to be able to elect a woman in this country," Biden said in an interview with news website Mic. "I would like to see a woman elected."
Obama and Biden are officially neutral in the hotly contested Democratic presidential primary between Clinton and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'It's not coming out' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden must keep progressive promises or risk losing midterms MORE (I-Vt.), and aides made an effort to show they’re not tipping the scales in favor of Clinton.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama was making a "values statement" and not a comment on a specific candidate in his speech Tuesday.
“I think the president indicated in his remarks that the country is ready for that," Earnest said when asked if Obama is ready for a female president. "But the candidates are going to be evaluated on their values and their priorities and their agenda."
Still, the president has defended his former secretary of State on several occasions against attacks from Sanders. Obama has also dismissed concerns about her perceived weaknesses, including an FBI investigation into her use of a personal email server during her time at the State Department.
The president’s remarks on Tuesday coincided with Equal Pay Day.
He also seemed to allude to the controversy surrounding the pay gap between the men’s and women’s U.S. national soccer teams.
Several members of the women’s team have filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, saying they are paid far less than their male counterparts.
“Equal pay for equal work should be a fundamental principle for our economy,” Obama said. “It’s the idea that whether you are a high school teacher, a business executive, or a professional soccer player or tennis player, your work should be equally valued and rewarded, whether you are a man or a woman.”
— This story was updated at 1:15 p.m.