In a Dec. 26 exit interview, President Barack Obama claimed he could have beaten current President-elect Donald Trump and secured a third term in office if he were allowed to run again.
Obama told David Axelrod, former presidential senior adviser and current CNN contributor, that the visions of hope, change and a united America he campaigned on during the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections would still be enough to elect him into office in 2016 if not for the term limit.
"I am confident in this vision because I'm confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could've mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it," he said.
Obama said the Democratic Party and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton were unable to convince rural voters to get behind the platform, instead relying on esoteric policy points that felt out of touch for many communities. Although Clinton won the popular vote, Trump garnered more electoral college votes and secured the presidency.
"We're not there on the ground communicating not only the dry policy aspects of this, but that we care about these communities, that we're bleeding for these communities," he said. "It means caring about local races, state boards or school boards and city councils and state legislative races and not thinking that somehow, just a great set of progressive policies that we present to the New York Times editorial board will win the day."
He says his vision and goals for the direction of the country better resonated with the electorate and would have allowed him to win a third term, if a third term were allowed.
"I know that in conversations that I've had with people around the country, even some people who disagreed with me, they would say the vision, the direction that you point towards is the right one," he said.
He believes the Republican Party "mobilized a backlash to this vision" to secure a Trump win, reports the Daily Mail.
His disappointment with the results of the 2016 election means he might not leave the realm of politics once his term is over. Although he plans for a low profile immediately after leaving office to focus on his book and analyzing his years in office, he doesn't rule out weighing in on policies he does not agree with.
"[If] there is an issue of such moment, such import, that isn't just a debate about a particular tax bill or, you know, a particular policy, but goes to some foundational issues about our democracy ... I might ... weigh in," Obama told CNN. "You know, I'm still a citizen and that carries with it duties and obligations."
It's traditional for former presidents to not comment on the policies the current president pursues, notes the Daily Mail. Former President George W. Bush declined to scrutinize Obama's legislative choices, many of which worked directly against Bush's agenda.