Obama could endorse Clinton this week

Obama could endorse Clinton this week
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President Obama could officially endorse Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Kanye West 'not denying' his campaign seeks to damage Biden MORE as early as this week after she secures enough delegates to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination. 

The exact timing of an endorsement remains unclear, according to administration officials.

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Obama is expected to travel to New York on Wednesday to speak at two Democratic fundraisers, which will take place after California and five other states hold primaries on Tuesday. The only primary contest remaining after Tuesday is next week in the District of Columbia.

It’s likely that Clinton will attract enough support in those contests to claim the nomination.

Counting pledged delegates and superdelegates who have committed to supporting her, Clinton is now 23 delegates short of the number needed to clinch, according to The Associated Press.

Obama has been sidelined for much of the presidential race because of the presidential primary contest between Clinton and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election Warren urges investment in child care workers amid pandemic Progressive candidate Bush talks about her upset primary win over Rep. Clay MORE (I-Vt.).

Sanders has vowed to continue his fight for the nomination until the Democratic Party’s national convention in late July by convincing superdelegates committed to Clinton to switch their support over to him. 

But if Clinton reaches the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, Obama may end his neutrality.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president’s decision on when to endorse would be “rooted largely in his own judgment” but acknowledged that “we may have a better sense of where the race is headed” after voters cast ballots in New Jersey, California and other states. 

Earnest said that “someone who claims the majority of the pledged and superdelegates has a strong case to make” that they are, in fact, the Democratic nominee. 

A cryptic Earnest was repeatedly badgered by reporters about the timing of an endorsement. He opened the door to the possibility that one could come Wednesday.

Asked why the president would not endorse the day after the primary, Earnest said with a smile, “I don't know, maybe he would.”

The spokesman said Obama plans to make a full-throated case for that candidate, who faces a tough challenge against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE

“The president intends ... to engage in this campaign,” Earnest said. 

He noted that Obama has a “unique place in our history” because it’s been at least a generation since a two-term president was “in demand” by party leaders and candidates to campaign for them. 

During a town hall last week in Elkhart, Ind., Obama acknowledged that “we’ll probably have a pretty good sense next week of who the nominee will end up being.”

And he suggested to donors at a Democratic fundraiser in Miami that he’s eager to hit the campaign trail for the party. 

“Although I am confident in our abilities to win, I want us to run scared the whole time,” Obama said last Friday.