Washington: US Senator Bernie Sanders was not surprised by President Barack Obama's decision to endorse Hillary Clinton as the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, the White House has said.
"The President has had the opportunity to speak to Senator Sanders now three times in the last week, and as a result of those conversations, I would think it is fair to say that Senator Sander was not at all surprised by today's announcement," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, Obama met Sanders at the White House, immediately after which he issued an email and a video announcing his decision to endorse Clinton, the former Secretary of State.
Sanders also vowed to foster party unity to take on Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Clinton, who reached enough delegate this Tuesday, is the first women presidential candidate of a major US party.
Earnest said the video was recorded Tuesday.
"Secretary Clinton's campaign has already announced that there will be an event, and the President is very much looking forward to travelling to Green Bay, Wisconsin, Titletown, with Secretary Clinton to appear with her in person at a campaign event, and build support for her campaign in the state of Wisconsin — a state that President Obama won twice," he said.
"I'm not going to get into the details of their interactions, but I assure you that Senator Sanders was not surprised," Earnest said in response to a question.
Earnest said that the Vermont Senator began his statement in the driveway in front of the White House by saying that President Obama and Vice President Biden had made a commitment to him early in the process that they would not put their thumb on the scale.
"...And Senator Sanders himself said how much he appreciated that President Obama and Vice President Biden kept that promise," he said in response to a question.
He said it is up to Sanders to decide how long he wants to continue to be in the race.
Earnest said Obama is eager to join the campaign and make a case for Clinton before American people.
"The president's very enthusiastic about the opportunity that he will have over the course of the next several months to make a strong case in support of Secretary Clinton," he said.
"I think that is evident from the comments that President Obama made in Elkhart, Indiana last week. The stakes in this election are high, particularly if you look at the US economy," he said.
"We've made enormous progress over the last seven years digging out of the ditch created by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
"The private sector is what led that recovery, but the private sector would not have succeed without the important policy decisions that were made in the first couple of months of President Obama's presidency," he added.
"So, for those voters who are focused on the economy, we have got a pretty strong case to make about the wisdom of the decisions made by President Obama and the commitment by Secretary Clinton to those principles," Earnest said.
Updated Date: Jun 10, 2016 07:51:40 IST