(WASHINGTON) — During an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Barack Obama declined to say whether he would stay neutral in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election that could potentially pit Vice President Joe Biden against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should the two Democrat powerhouses decide to vie for their party’s nomination for the White House.
“What I would say to folks out there is we are tremendously lucky to have an incredible former secretary of state who couldn’t have served me better, and an incredible vice president who couldn’t, who couldn’t be serving me better. And I suspect if you asked both of them, they’d say, ‘It’s way too premature to start talking about 2016,'” Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during an interview for This Week when asked what he would tell fellow Democrats weighing the two potential candidates, and whether he was “determined to stay neutral throughout this whole process” of choosing a 2016 Democratic nominee.
While neither Biden nor Clinton has formally announced any plans for 2016, the vice president was scheduled to appear at the Harkin Steak Fry in Iowa today, the same annual event where the president himself made his Iowa debut in 2006.
“You know, Iowa’s a big state, and he’s an old friend of Tom Harkin’s,” the president said, explaining the vice president’s trip to the Hawkeye State.
The president was asked a second time by Stephanopoulos whether he would stay “completely neutral” throughout the process of selecting the presidential nominee, but he did not answer the question directly.
“You know, listen, I think as you pointed out, I just got reelected last year. My focus is on the American people right now. I’ll let you guys worry about the politics,” the president said.
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