campaign 2016 Obama meets with Sanders

Associated Press


President Barack Obama and his aides have said a lot of nice things about Bernie Sanders, but not this one: He’s ready to be president.

The key omission was particularly noticeable Wednesday as Obama and Sanders met for their first one-on-one since Sanders jolted the Democratic campaign and locked Hillary Clinton in an unexpectedly tight race.

The long-discussed meeting between Obama and his sometime critic was a moment for the president to display his public neutrality in the heated primary race to replace him – rebutting suggestions that he’s in the tank for Clinton. For Sanders, it was a chance to show he’s got some sway with a president who’s still popular among Democrats.

“By and large, over the last seven years on major issue after major issue, I have stood by his side where he has taken on unprecedented Republican obstructionism and has tried to do the right thing for the American people,” Sanders said after the meeting.

But neither the White House nor Sanders is suggesting the men are kindred spirits, or even close political allies. White House officials say the men lack much of a personal relationship and have markedly different approaches to politics.

Meanwhile, an explosive feud between Donald Trump and Fox News Channel is overshadowing the final sprint to Iowa’s presidential caucuses, injecting a new sense of chaos into the 2016 Republican contest.

On the eve of the final debate before Iowa voters weigh in, Trump refused to back off his decision to boycott today’s prime-time face-off. His campaign insisted that debate host Fox News crossed a line with a sarcastic statement mocking him and continued to criticize moderator Megyn Kelly. In turn, Fox accused Trump’s camp of trying to terrorize its employees.

Trump reiterated his plans to skip the debate in an interview Wednesday on Fox News, saying, “I just don’t like being used.”

In New Hampshire, a new attack ad about another Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, is funded by a group that does not disclose its donors.

That has Kasich allies complaining about the “shady donors” disparaging their candidate. They’ve complained to the Federal Election Commission.

But the American Future Fund, which paid $1 million to air the ad in New Hampshire, is a nonprofit that isn’t required to make its donors known. The ad portrays Kasich as a Republican who is aligned with Democratic President Barack Obama. It says he expanded Medicaid, something many Republican politicians oppose.

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