President Obama quipped from Africa: If the Constitution allowed, I could definitely win another term as president of the United States.
During his speech, the first by an American president before the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Obama asked why anyone – especially those of wealth – would want to remain in power after the end of a rightful term.
He said: “I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as president of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job. I love my work, but under our Constitution, I cannot run again. I can’t run again. I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t. So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law, and no one person is above the law, not even the president.”
He also said he was “looking forward to life,” post-White House, and wondered aloud why anyone, especially leaders who have “got a lot of money,” would want to extend their roles in public service.
“Sometimes you’ll hear a leader say ‘I’m the only person who can hold this nation together.’ If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation.”
Obama specifically noted recent elections in Burundi, where President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term. The United Nations has said those elections occurred in an environment that was not “not conducive for an inclusive, free and credible electoral process,” according to the Associated Press.
“I’ll be honest,” Obama said. “I’m looking forward to life after being president. I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. It means I can go take a walk, I can spend time with my family, I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often.”
Obama’s comments about a third term tapped into previous pundit discussions and constituent fears he might not want to leave the White House when his time was up – and in that case, who would actually stop him from staying?
Rush Limbaugh in March opined on his show: “Well, let’s construct a scenario and see if it has even the slightest bit of believability,and let’s establish some things that we know to be true that Obama also knows. Chief among those is that the Republican Party has said that impeachment is off the table. … [Obama’s] fully aware the Republican Party will take no steps to stop him in his ongoing violations and running up to the edges of the Constitution.”
He then fast-forwards to mid-2016, imagining a time when Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden square off as Democratic candidates, and the Republican Party touts several decent candidates.
“The country may be looking forward to a dramatic change to Republican in the election of 2016,” Limbaugh said in March. “Obama fully aware of this, would go on television and say that the Democrat field is so weak that he’s not confident that Mrs. Clinton can win. He might even take steps to make sure she can’t win. You know, sabotage her campaign. And then call a national speech to the nation in which the main point is that it’s beginning to look like the Republicans will win the White House, and this is something that he can’t risk. Not after eight courageous years of transforming America. We just cannot put it all to the risk of being unraveled and undone by these racist, sexist, misogynist, whatever else Republicans. So as a service to the nation and to the nation, he is going to forget the Twenty-Second Amendment and either not leave office or run for reelection himself as the Democrat nominee. Just imagine that scenario. I don’t care how unreal it sounds, how unbelievable it sounds.”
Limbaugh said: “Imagine it. What would anybody do? What would Mitch McConnell do? What would John Boehner do? Mark Levin would have a heart attack. I would probably have an aneuysm. We’d be done.”
The Supreme Court, meanwhile, would roll over and say “nobody has standing” because “Obama hasn’t done anything yet,” Limbaugh went on.
“The media would be cheering it,” said.
Limbaugh admitted the scenario sounded a bit far-fetched, but also warned: “[Obama’s] got a plan to continue to live in Washington after he has left office.”
After months of stagnant approval ratings, a new CNN/ORC poll finds that for the first time in more than two years, 50 percent of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the presidency. And his overall ratings are bolstered by increasingly positive reviews of his treatment of race relations and the economy.