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Former President Obama speaks during a 2020 Biden campaign rally in Flint, Michigan. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Barack Obama said in an interview with the New York Times published Tuesday that Joe Biden is "finishing the job" his administration started and Donald Trump "benefited from the economic stability we initiated."

What he's saying: The former president told NYT podcast "The Ezra Klein Show" that it's "hard to just underscore how much the bank bailouts just angered everyone, including me," following the 2008 financial crisis, which he noted stimulated a "long, slow recovery."

  • "Although the economy recovers technically quickly, it's another five years before we're really back to people feeling like, ‘OK, the economy is moving and working for me," Obama told host Ezra Klein.
  • "Let's say a Democrat, a Joe Biden, or Hillary Clinton had immediately succeeded me, and the economy suddenly has 3% unemployment, I think we would have consolidated the sense that, ‘Oh, actually these policies that Obama put in place worked.'
"The fact that Trump interrupts essentially the continuation of our policies, but still benefits from the economic stability and growth that we had initiated, means people aren't sure. Well, gosh, unemployment’s 3.5% under Donald Trump."

On President Biden, Obama said that "what we’re seeing now, is Joe and the administration are essentially finishing the job," adding that the actions his administration is taking will be an interesting test.

  • "Ninety percent of the folks who were there in my administration, they are continuing and building on the policies we talked about, whether it's the Affordable Care Act, or our climate change agenda, and the Paris [Climate Agreement], and figuring out how do we improve the ladders to mobility through things like community colleges."

What to watch: Obama believes Biden "will have an impact" in cutting through the current politically polarized climate that's seen Senate Republicans block a bipartisan commission to investigate January's Capitol riot and GOP-led states push for restrictive voting laws as Democrats and rights groups push back.

  • "Does it override that sort of identity politics that has come to dominate Twitter, and the media, and that has seeped into how people think about politics? Probably not completely," Obama said.
  • "But at the margins, if you're changing 5 percent of the electorate, that makes a difference."

Go deeper

House panel to investigate Trump-era DOJ data seizures

Photo: James Devaney via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee will launch a formal probe into the Trump-era Justice Department's seizure of data from devices belonging to members of Congress, their aides, journalists and then-White House counsel, panel chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though it's so far unclear if the cases are related, they raise "serious constitutional and separation of power concerns," Nadler said in a statement.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Inside Biden's Putin prep

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Leon Neal (WPA Pool)/Getty Images

President Biden assembled a group of outside Russia experts — including former Trump officials — to brief him for his summit with President Vladimir Putin, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: The previously unreported session demonstrates the extent to which Biden wants to be well prepared, drawing on the experience of officials with first-hand knowledge of the onetime KGB colonel’s tactics and tricks.

Rubio's play for anti-China vote

Sen. Marco Rubio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is making a play for China hawks in Florida as he braces for a competitive re-election fight next year, records show.

Why it matters: Hostility toward communism drove a significant number of Latino voters in Florida into the Republican column in 2020. The Rubio campaign’s focus on China can capitalize on that trend and a wider — and widening — American mistrust of Beijing.