With friends like Obama, Hillary doesn't need enemies. Asked about his Secretary of State's insistence on using her own e mail server, located in her house, the president was quick to contrast Hillary's behavior with his own policy of "transparency."
"The policy of my administration," the president noted, "is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived."
He then defended Hillary with faint praise, sidestepping the chance to offer a substantive defense of her private e mails and, instead, blandly noting that "Let me just say that Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant. She was a great secretary of state for me." Some defense!
The next day, Obama's press secretary was questioned as to when the president learned that Hillary wasn't using the government emails. He noted that the president had gotten e mails from Hillary and must have noticed the address on them. But, he too, sidestepped a chance to defend the actions of the former Secretary of State.
Were Obama's comments merely about the actions of his former Secretary of State, they would be surprising by themselves. But to leave the all-but-certain Democratic nominee out there slowly twisting in the wind is incredible.
It can mean only one thing: that Hillary Clinton is no longer the all-but-certain nominee.
For a year or more, Obama has hinted that we would welcome a Warren candidacy. Worried that Hillary would be insufficiently liberal to protect his legacy of power grabs and stop their reversal by more balanced cabinet secretaries, he wants a real radical to succeed him.
Now, his tepid defense of Hillary makes clear that he sees an opportunity to leave Hillary out there by herself and is in no hurry to pull her chestnuts out of the fire.
Especially since Hillary cannot defend herself, Obama's reluctance to come to her aid is surprising. The former Secretary of State has been virtually mum in her own defense, confining her justifications to a short tweet expressing the hope that the public will be able to see all her e mails. Mrs. Clinton's lawyers doubtless have her muzzled so that she doesn't say anything that could hurt her should criminal changes be brought.
In the larger scandal, we are still waiting for the other shoe to drop: did Hillary keep classified information on her in home server? If she did, she is as guilty as former CIA director John Deutch, General David Petraeus, and former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, all of whom have been cited for breeching security and punished accordingly (except for Deutch who got a presidential pardon).
If there is classified info on that server, Hillary may be finished. But she doesn't look too good right now.