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President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Obamas to break ground Tuesday on presidential center in Chicago A simple fix can bring revolutionary change to health spending MORE’s top spokesman Tuesday congratulated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE for her narrow victory in the Iowa caucuses, but warned that the race could be a long one.
“Obviously, Secretary Clinton has won. So congratulations to her. I am sure they feel good about that, they should,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Clinton squeaked by rival Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDo progressives prefer Trump to compromise? Texas House Republican tests positive for coronavirus in latest breakthrough case In defense of share buybacks MORE (I-Vt.) on Monday night to claim victory in the nation’s first presidential nominating contest. Despite her victory, many political observers pointed to her razor-thin margin of victory as a sign of weakness.
Earnest also applauded Sanders, saying the self-proclaimed democratic socialist’s “passionate following” fired up liberals and helped make the race close.
“This is the first contest in what I expect will be a series of competitive ones,” Earnest said.
“Secretary Clinton knows better than anybody that the path to the Democratic nomination is a long one,” he added, referring to her 2008 upset loss against Obama in Iowa, and subsequent bounce-back win in New Hampshire.
The spokesman predicted that a lengthy Democratic primary would not hobble Clinton for the general election if she does eventually become the nominee, as is expected.
“It’s good for the country, it’s good for the Democratic process,” he said.
Clinton, who served four years as Obama’s secretary of State, is widely believed to be the president’s preferred successor.
Obama made remarks in an interview last week that strongly suggest he supports Clinton over Sanders, but since then has sought to strike a neutral pose in the Democratic nominating contest.