President Obama will be the first two-term incumbent of the television era to aggressively hit the campaign trail during his last year in office, and when it comes to taking on the presumptive Republican nominee, it's easy to get the impression that the president has quite a bit to say.
President Barack Obama said Thursday that world leaders are "rattled" by Donald Trump -- and "for good reason." During a press conference in Japan, Obama said the American presidential election is being "very" closely watched oversees.
"I think it's fair to say they are surprised by the Republican nominee, they are not sure how seriously to take some of his pronouncements, but they're rattled by him, and for good reason," Obama said. "A lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is that's required to keep America safe, secure and prosperous, and what's required to keep the world on an even keel."
Politico's report added, "The president appeared to have more specifics to share in private. A reporter overheard snippets of a conversation between Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, with whom he has one of his closer relationships among world leaders, in which he heard the words 'Trump,' and then 'what his mistake was...,' but the reporter was unable to catch the rest."
Throughout the primary process, the Democratic president had very little to say about his would-be successors. Obama took a few verbal shots at Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) early on, but for the most part, he kept his powder dry.
But as the primaries end and the general-election phase begins, it's hard not to notice the eagerness with which the president is talking about the 2016 race.
Earlier this month, for example, Obama told reporters, in reference to Trump, "We are in serious times; this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show."
A week later, the president delivered the commencement address at Rutgers University, where Obama went much further in mocking the presumptive Republican nominee. "Class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be: In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue," he said. "It's not cool to not know what you're talking about. That's not keeping it real, or telling it like it is. That's not challenging political correctness. That's just not knowing what you're talking about. And yet, we've become confused about this."
For Hillary Clinton and her campaign, all of this is good news. Obama is an increasingly popular president, with broad support among Clinton's and Bernie Sanders' supporters, who can barely restrain his anti-Trump enthusiasm.
Clinton campaigned aggressively on Obama's behalf in 2008, and there can be little doubt that Obama will return the favor in 2016.