President Obama endorses Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pauses while speaking at a Grassroots Organizing Event at the Meadow Woods Recreation Center, Wednesday, Dec., 2, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The latest developments in the 2016 campaign for the presidency. All times EDT:

2:18 p.m.

President Barack Obama is announcing his formal endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

In an online video, Obama calls on Democrats to unify behind his former secretary of state’s bid and “build on the progress” of his eight terms in the White House.

“I want you to be the first to know that I’m with her,” he says.

Obama is also praising Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders for engaging young voters and highlighting the issues of income inequality and money in politics. “Embracing that message is going to help us win in November,” says Obama.

Clinton and Obama will campaign together in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on June 15.

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1:50 p.m.

A spokesman for Bernie Sanders says the Vermont senator had a “wide-ranging discussion” with President Barack Obama about issues facing working families and ways to “create an economy that works for all people,” not just the wealthy.

Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs says that Sanders requested the meeting with Obama because he was “interested in his input.” Briggs says Sanders considers Obama to be “one of the smartest people he knows” and was happy to receive his counsel during the hourlong meeting.

Sanders was meeting later Thursday with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and his successor, Charles Schumer of New York. Sanders was also meeting with Vice President Joe Biden at the Naval Observatory later in the day.

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1:16 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he has a long list of issues he plans to pursue when the Democratic Party holds its nominating convention in Philadelphia at the end of July.

After meeting with President Barack Obama, Sanders tells reporters that the U.S. is the wealthiest nation in the world and should not have millions of senior citizens and disabled veterans struggling to put food on the table because of inadequate Social Security benefits.

He says the U.S. should not have Americans living in some of its inner-cities and rural areas with life expectancies lower than third world countries.

He also is bemoaning the debt facing college students, crumbling infrastructure and the influence that billionaires have on politics, the economy and the media.

Sanders is promising to continue his run at least through next week’s primary in the District of Columbia.

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1:10 p.m.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is gathering potential donors and party leaders for a meeting in New York City.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Trump supporter, are among those in attendance Thursday. Meetings are being held at Trump Tower and a lunch is underway at The Four Seasons in Manhattan.

Woody Johnson, former Jeb Bush backer and owner of the New York Jets, was among the potential donors spotted going into the lunch.

Trump waved and the waiting press but did not comment. He stayed for about 30 minutes. His fundraising operation is off to a slow start and badly trails his likely general election opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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12:47 p.m.

After wrapping up his meeting at the White House, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he looks forward to meeting with Hillary Clinton in the future to see how they can work together to defeat Donald Trump in November’s election.

Sanders spoke to reporters after meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

Sanders did not endorse Clinton. He says he plans to remain in the race through next week’s primary in the District of Columbia, and will focus on the need for statehood for the district.

Sanders also said he will do everything in his power to make sure Trump does not become the next president of the United States

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11:58 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has congratulated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on becoming the presumed Democratic presidential nominee.

That’s the word Thursday from the Democrat’s office. Reid had endorsed Clinton several weeks ago. The senator was meeting with Clinton’s rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, on Thursday as Democrats press for unity after a hard-fought primary campaign.

Party leaders recognize that the process won’t be easy. The top Democrat in the House, Nancy Pelosi, acknowledged that on Thursday.

“People have their hopes and dreams, their aspirations riding on a candidate. And sometimes it’s really harder for the supporters to come to reconciliation than it is the candidate,” Pelosi told reporters. “Bernie Sanders knows what’s at stake in this election, what’s on the line. I have no doubt that he’ll be very constructive as we go forward.”

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11:38 a.m.

President Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders are meeting in the Oval Office.

Obama greeted Sanders as he arrived at the White House and the two walked past the sun-bathed Rose Garden – and a pack of snapping cameras – to their private meeting.

The president and Sanders could be seen chatting warmly and laughing as they strolled along the colonnade. Obama was expected to talk about ways Sanders can keep up the fight for his policy agenda, but not his bid for the presidency.

All the scrutiny around the meeting with the president didn’t appear to faze the Vermont senator. Ever the everyman, Sanders stopped for coffee and a scone at a Peet’s coffee shop across from the White House before arriving.

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11:25 a.m.

Senate Democrats are unveiling a reform agenda that proposes new curbs on campaign finance spending and a permanent ban on lobbying by former members of Congress.

The “We the People Act” also would prohibit financial services companies from paying bonuses to executives who leave the private sector to take high-level jobs in the government.

The agenda touches on some of the issues and themes that Sen. Bernie Sanders has talked about in his presidential campaign. Democrats led by Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York were unveiling it on the same day that Sanders is visiting the White House and Capitol Hill for meetings with President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

Senators now have a two-year ban on lobbying after leaving office, and House members a one-year ban.

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11:10 a.m.

Bernie Sanders has arrived at the White House to discuss the future of his presidential bid with President Barack Obama.

Sanders and Obama are due to talk privately in the Oval Office. Sanders’ wife, Jane, accompanied him.

The White House says the Vermont senator requested the meeting. Obama plans to talk about ways Sanders can keep up the fight for his policy agenda, but not his bid for the presidency.

Obama is expected to formally endorse Hillary Clinton shortly after the meeting.

Obama’s endorsement will add to a growing chorus of Democratic leaders pushing Sanders to step aside so the party can focus on taking on Republican Donald Trump.

The president last spoke with Sanders Tuesday night, shortly after Clinton declared victory in the long primary.

The men are not known to have much of a personal relationship. But the White House says they’ve spoken more frequently in recent weeks. The White House says this will be their fourth conversation in the last month.

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10:12 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has landed outside Washington for meetings with President Barack Obama at the White House and with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill.

Sanders faces questions about whether he will back Clinton and when he may end his bid. He lost four of six contests in Tuesday’s primaries and Hillary Clinton is now the Democrats’ presumptive nominee.

But Sanders has vowed to campaign through Tuesday’s final primary in the District of Columbia and pursue a contested Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Sanders was headlining a D.C. rally and then returning home to Vermont on Thursday night.

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3:13 a.m.

On the verge of endorsing Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama will pay tribute to Bernie Sanders’ historic candidacy for presidency with an Oval Office meeting. The session is aimed at unifying the Democratic Party for a general election brawl with Donald Trump.

Sanders heads to the White House under intense pressure to drop out and clear the way for Clinton. Though he showed signs he understood the end was near, he’s vowed to keep fighting for his movement.

Obama has sought to give the Vermont senator the courtesy of exiting the race on his own terms, but is expected to formally endorse Clinton after the meeting. The White House says he plans to use the meeting to discuss how to build on the enthusiasm Sanders brought to the primary.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 

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