US President Barack Obama may endorse Hillary Clinton this week, if she clinches Democratic nomination

US President Barack Obama departs the White House for a weekend trip to Florida last Friday (June 3, 2016).
US President Barack Obama departs the White House for a weekend trip to Florida last Friday (June 3, 2016). PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - United States President Barack Obama may formally endorse Mrs Hillary Clinton as early as this week, after his former secretary of state clinches the Democratic nomination as expected, according to a person familiar with the President's plans.

The timing of the endorsement has not been set, and Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton are not scheduled to appear together this week, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. But the President is speaking at a Democratic fundraiser on Wednesday in New York, a day after the last six states hold nominating contests.

Mr Obama has so far remained on the sidelines of the race to replace him, prompted by what aides describe as a desire not to meddle in the Democratic nominating contests and a respect for the unexpected success of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

The President's aides have previously said he planned to campaign vigorously for the Democratic nominee, who will face an unconventional opponent in presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

 

Mrs Clinton is 26 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to claim the nomination, according to an Associated Press count. She is expected to easily surpass that threshold on Tuesday (June 7), when New Jersey, California and four other states hold primaries or caucuses.

During a town hall hosted by PBS NewsHour last week in Elkhart, Indiana, Mr Obama said he expected that "we'll probably have a pretty good sense next week of who the nominee will end up being".

Mr Obama has been enjoying a surge of popularity amid an increasingly bitter campaign to succeed him. His approval rating has been above 50 per cent for most of the past three months.