Obama Preparing to Endorse Clinton

WASHINGTON (AP) -

President Barack Obama is ready to make it official.

With Hillary Clinton on the verge of securing the Democratic nomination for president, Obama is on the verge of formally endorsing his former secretary of state and starting to aggressively make the case against Republican Donald Trump. White House officials say the announcement could come within days, although not before Democrats in New Jersey, California and four other states vote Tuesday in contests expected to solidify Clinton’s claim.

The timeline is likely to hold regardless of how Clinton rival Sen. Bernie Sanders reacts to the Tuesday outcome, the White House said Monday.

On Monday, Clinton noted the timing has symbolic weight: Tuesday marks eight years since her concession speech and endorsement of Obama after their 2008 primary showdown.

Campaigning in California, where she’s still struggling to hold off Sanders, Clinton said the timing of an official endorsement was “up to the president.” But she also said she looks “forward to campaigning with the president and everybody else.”

White House and Clinton campaign aides have been discussing the sequencing of the long-expected announcement, and Obama’s schedule has several possible opportunities for maximizing the impact. On Wednesday, he’s due in New York City to address donors at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Clinton’s home state.

It remains unclear whether Sanders and his backers are ready for reset. Although the Vermont senator is looking at an insurmountable delegate deficit, he’s not said he’ll go quietly.

Asked on Monday whether an Obama endorsement of Clinton would affect his campaign, Sanders deflected, saying he was being asked to speculate before an important primary in California. Many of his supporters have expressed a deep distrust in the Democratic primary process — particularly the influence of party leaders.