Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama recharged with a BBQ dinner following their first joint event of the election cycle.
The Secretary of State and US president – who has formally backed her to succeed him – shook hands and posed for pictures with customers as they placed their orders at the Midwood Smokehouse in North Carolina.
Hours earlier, Clinton was grinning from ear to ear as she appeared on stage with the president in front of a rapturous crowd in Charlotte.
She is ‘fired up and ready to go’ win November’s election now that she doesn’t have to worry about a possible federal indictment, Obama said.
The pair latched hands and lifted their hands and gave an upward punch as they posed for the cameras. Waving and pointing they made their way to center stage, the nation’s first black president and the woman he hopes will replace him reveled in the spotlight.
The former secretary of state spoke first, showering praise on Obama, her 2008 rival, who she said she was ‘very privileged’ to have gotten to know throughout the last decade, as she introduced him.
The president is ‘someone who has never forgotten where he came from,’ Clinton said. Taking a jab at her current opponent, Donald Trump, she added, ‘And Donald if you’re out there tweeting its Hawaii.’
Obama also went after Trump for his prolific use of the social media platform, saying during his remarks, ‘Everybody can tweet, but nobody actually knows what it takes to do the job until you’ve sat behind the desk.’
‘I mean, Sasha tweets,’ the president said, making a reference to his 15-year-old daughter. His daughter doesn’t believe that’s a qualification to sit behind the Resolute Desk, however, he said.
‘You can’t fully understand what it means to make life and death decisions until you’ve done it. That’s the truth,’ Obama stated.
Continuing, Obama said, ‘But I can tell you this, Hillary Clinton has been tested. She’s seen up close what’s involved in making those decisions.’
She’s been in the meetings at the White House and has seen the consequences of decisions that did not work well, Obama said. ‘And there has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton – ever – and that’s the truth.’
Closing out his remarks Obama noted that he is term-limed and said, ‘I couldn’t be prouder than the things we’ve accomplished together, but I am ready to pass the baton.’
‘And I know that Hillary Clinton is going to take it. And I know she can run that race,’ he said. ‘And that’s why I’m fired up! And that’s why I’m ready to go! And that’s why I’m with her!’
Neither Clinton nor Obama brought up the Justice Department’s investigation to her secret server at the White House. They did not discuss it on the flight down to North Carolina, either.
On Tuesday, July 5th, FBI Director James Comey announced his recommendation that the Justice Department not bring charges against the former secretary of state.
What she did was ‘extremely careless,’ he said, but it is the FBI’s opinion that ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would bring a case against her.
A spokesman for Clinton said in a statement afterward, ‘We are pleased that the career officials handling this case have determined that no further action by the Department is appropriate.
‘As the Secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email and she would not do it again, ‘ said Brian Fallon, a former Justice Department flak who now serves as national press secretary for Clinton’s presidential campaign. ‘We are glad that this matter is now resolved.’
The matter has not been ‘resolved’ yet, however. The FBI recommended that Justice Department prosecutors not pursue charges, but Attorney General Loretta Lynch has yet to formally weigh in.
A spokesman for the State Department acknowledged the fact this afternoon at his daily briefing, telling reporters asking about the probe, ‘We need to wait and see what the Justice Department decides to do now in the wake of the FBI investigation before we move forward one way or another.’
The White House was also careful not to get stuck with the hot potato. The president’s spokesman dodged questions on the way to North Carolina about Comey’s assertion that Clinton was ‘extremely careless’ with her handling of classified material.
‘The president is aware of the news,’ White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One that the White House did not know that Comey would act on the matter today. With the case under review at the Justice Department, the president’s spokesman was wary about wading any further into the issue.
‘People might conclude that the president has a lot of personal affection for Secretary Clinton. People might conclude that the president has a lot invested in the success of her campaign.
With regard to the ongoing work at the Department of Justice, we have made clear time and time again that neither President Obama nor the White House is involved in that investigation,’ Earnest said.
The presumptive Democratic nominee’s campaign breathed a sigh of relief today nonetheless as it prepared for its first event with Obama and Clinton.
As Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta deplaned Air Force One, he told reporters in North Carolina, ‘It’s a great day.’
Clinton was in high spirits, too, as she introduced Obama at her rally. She hailed him for going toe-to-toe with foreign leaders and taking out Osama bin Laden. Obama has kept America ‘safe and strong,’ she said.
‘Compare that to Donald Trump. Can you imagine him sitting in the Oval Office the next time America faces a crisis?’ she asked her audience. ‘Donald Trump is simply unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be our president and commander in chief,’ she said to loud cheers.
Bringing it home, Clinton said, ‘So here in North Carolina this election is our chance to say our country is better than this.’
Clinton said she would ‘build on the vision for America that President Obama has always championed’ if she wins the White House.
‘When I look at President Obama, I see a leader with heart, depth, and humility. Someone who, in spite of the obstruction he’s faced, still reaches for common ground and common purpose,’ she said.
The Democrat said she’d build bridges instead of walls like the one promised by Trump on the border with Mexico.
‘We don’t call the country we love a disaster or a laughing stock. We know America is already the greatest country on earth,’ she proclaimed.
The Oval Office brought up the early patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Democrats will hold their nominating convention later this month and said, ‘they knew we would all rise or fall together.’
‘Now nobody who looked like Barack Obama or me would have been included back then, but we’re here today because the story of America is the story of hard-fought, hard won progress,’ she said, eliciting an uproarious applause and cheers of her name.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.