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The Lid: How Obama Helps Clinton

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…Bernie Sanders stopped for a scone and coffee right before his White House meeting with the president, leading pundits to speculate heatedly about whether one of Sanders' requests of the Democratic establishment will be reform of the apparently unsatisfactory Oval Office catering operation.

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'16 from 30,000

Well, that escalated quickly. Within hours of Bernie Sanders' meeting with Barack Obama at the White House, the president made the announcement we've all been waiting for since last year, formally endorsing his former secretary of state. (And progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren, long viewed as Sanders' ideological teammate, is also planning on backing Clinton formally tonight on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC).

Although Obama had been scrupulously neutral in his public comments, his private backing - and eventual endorsement - of Clinton was never really in question. But it still makes a big difference. Why? First of all, this isn't the Obama of the 2014 midterms, mired in low approval ratings and anathema to candidates in many swing states. He's at his highest approval rating (51 percent) since his second inauguration. What's more, he's more popular than Clinton with independents (44 percent positive rating compared to Clinton's 24 percent), persuadable voters (41 percent compared to her 20 percent) and white voters (39 percent positive rating compared to her 27 percent.) Clinton's biggest hurdles in this election will be connecting with voters and overcoming trust issues, and a resounding and warm endorsement from a relatively popular president may be a significant boon with those who are viewing Obama more favorably these days.

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

FOR THE RECORD…

The problem is they're like Charlie Manson's fox trot instructors. Yeah, they could teach him how to dance. But he's too busy trying to cut their heads off, because he's insane.

  • - Mike Murphy, to CNBC, on big-name Republican operatives joining Trump's team

TOMORROW'S SKED

Donald Trump will address the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference in Washington, DC. He then holds a rally in Richmond.

Hillary Clinton will speak at a Planned Parenthood event in DC.