JOHN F. KENNEDY AIRPORT, N.Y. (CN) — In a fitting tribute to the tempestuous Democratic primary, heavy rains tapered off to a drizzle Wednesday as Air Force One delivered President Barack Obama for a visit with late-night funnyman Jimmy Fallon.
The president’s arrival in New York comes after a big night for his former secretary of state and erstwhile political opponent, but Obama has kept mum about an endorsement for the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee.
With no sign of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders withdrawing from the race, top aides for the president told the New York Times anonymously that the time for neutrality is nearing an end.
Upon arriving in New York today, however, Obama made no big announcement as he shook hands with dozens of invited guests who braved the rain and cold to meet the president at the airport.
Back in Washington, White House press secretary Josh Earnest reportedly dispelled speculation that Obama would endorse Clinton on his trip to the Big Apple.
The Hill quoted Earnest as saying that the president would save his “formal” announcement until after meeting the senator from Vermont on Thursday.
Sanders is slated to hold a rally at RFK Stadium in Washington that night, even though the Associated Press reported that Clinton had clinched the “magic number” of delegates needed for the nomination before the final Super Tuesday polls had even opened.
Clinton waited until New Jersey, the first of six states that voted Tuesday, announced its results in her favor. Taking to the Brooklyn Navy Yard that night, Clinton announced that she had become the first woman in history to lock up a major-party nomination in the United States.
“Barriers can come down. Justice and equality can win,” she said. “This campaign is about making sure there are no ceilings, no limits on any of us. This is our moment to come together.”
Clinton went on to win the majority of contests that night in South Dakota, New Mexico and California.
By and large the party’s most influential outsider in memory, Sanders had hoped the crowds he drew across California would tip the state in his favor, and maybe unsettle the pledged delegate lead that Clinton has held for months.
Instead, Clinton took the state by a comfortable margin, assuring dominance in pledged delegates, superdelegates and the popular vote.
If the loss was supposed to demoralize Sanders supporters, the noisy crowd that greeted him in Santa Monica did not show it.
Circling back to the refrain — “the struggle continues” — Sanders indicated he will continue to pursue what he calls a “political revolution” at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
Including his mention of a “gracious” chat with Clinton, there were conciliatory notes to Sanders’ address.
“Tonight, I had a very kind call from President Obama, and I look forward to working with him to make sure that we move this country forward,” the senator said.
Earnest, the White House spokesman, emphasized that the president “deeply respects what Sen. Sanders has accomplished,” as quoted by The Hill.
With primary wins that night in North Dakota and Montana, Sanders has won 22 state contests, plus the Democrats Abroad pool of expatriate voters.
The movement he started could see a second act in fundraising for other insurgent candidates, including the primary challenger of the Democratic National Committee’s chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida.
Clinton, for her part, has turned her attention toward defeating the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
“When Donald Trump says a distinguished judge born in Indiana can’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage — or he mocks a reporter with disabilities — or calls women ‘pigs’ — it goes against everything we stand for,” she said in her speech on Tuesday. “Because we want an America where everyone is treated with respect and where their work is valued.”
Only one contest remains in the Democratic primary season in Washington on Tuesday, before the convention in late July.
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