President Obama brought his comic A-game to the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Saturday night taking aim at Republican Speaker John Boehner’s tan and the botched Healthcare.gov rollout – but in between quick jabs, the president craftily wove in one-liners that suggested a Hillary Clinton presidency was a sure thing.
“Everywhere I look there are reminders that I only hold this job temporarily,” Obama said to the crowd, nodding to a photo of his office filled with moving boxes that read “Hillary’s Oval,” “Hold for Hillary,” and “Hillary – Oval.” When shifting gears to Hillary’s encounter with a flying shoe at a recent press conference, Obama joked Vice President Joe Biden – who has hinted at a 2016 run himself – was the shoe-thrower.
Then there was the shot at Fox News, where the president said, “You’ll miss me when I’m gone. It’ll be harder to convince the American people that Hillary was born in Kenya.”
Though he never directly came out with it, the zingers combined were the strongest signal yet Obama is thinking of Hillary as his successor.
Obama wouldn’t be the only one jumping the gun. Earlier Saturday, Virginia Senator – and former Democratic National Committee chairman – Tim Kaine announced his support for Hillary Clinton at a breakfast event in South Carolina. Kaine said that he had joined the Ready for Hillary super political action committee effort and described her as an “American optimist.”
Slightly less official, Scandal star Tony Goldwyn, who plays President Fitzgerald Grant on the ABC show, said after visiting the White House this week that “Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate out there. She’s got the intelligence, she’s inspiring, and she’s tough.”
Obama’s Hillary references at the Correspondents’ Dinner capped off a busy week for the Clintons: Bill defended his economic legacy speaking at his alma mater Georgetown University, Hillary accepted her latest award, the Order of Lincoln – which has been called Illinois’s highest honor. And a new Quinnipiac University poll this week showed Hillary topping all potential GOP challengers in Florida by eight or more points.
“Everywhere you look, the Clintons rule,” Maureen Dowd wrote in her Sunday Review column for The New York Times, describing the “Clinton machine” taking over in several respects.
Obama even joked at the Correspondents’ Dinner that he was offended when his daughter Sasha asked former President Bill Clinton to speak at her career day.
While there are still two-and-half years left before the Oval Office frees up again – and “anything can happen before 2016,” as Obama said Saturday evening – that anything is becoming more of a something with each passing day.