CHARLOTTE, United States, Jul 6 – Barack Obama delivered a forceful plea Tuesday for Hillary Clinton to succeed him as president, praising the character of his former secretary of state whose horizon brightened after the FBI recommended no charges be filed over her email scandal.
Obama, returning to a swing state that helped elect him in 2008, laid out a passionate, compelling case declaring he is “ready to pass the baton” to Clinton and urging voters to make her the nation’s first female commander in chief.
“I’m here today because I believe in Hillary Clinton,” Obama told a fired-up crowd at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, pumping his fist and leading chants of “Hillary! Hillary!”
“There has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office. Ever!”
But Obama’s debut appearance on the 2016 campaign trail, while it showcased his trademark oratory and communication skills, was overshadowed by the extraordinary announcement hours earlier in Washington.
The FBI’s assessment, which found that Clinton was “extremely careless” in sending classified information via her personal email account, was far from the complete exoneration she had hoped for as she rallied Democrats in her showdown with Republican Donald Trump.
Clinton and Obama flew together to North Carolina aboard Air Force One for the first in a series of high-profile rallies that the candidate hopes will energize voters – particularly minorities who remain enamoured with the outgoing president, in crucial battleground states where the November election will be decided.
Neither made any mention of the FBI’s bombshell decision to recommend that Justice Department prosecutors file no criminal charges in the Clinton email investigation.
FBI Director James Comey said that after an exhaustive probe, carried out with no political agenda, investigators found no evidence of “intentional misconduct” by Clinton or her close aides.
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said the campaign was “pleased” by the FBI’s recommendation. But in a damaging rebuke to the former top diplomat, Comey said the FBI found that Clinton and her team “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”