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Obama press conference: The president calls Electoral College a "vestige"

Obama calls out Russia
Obama calls out Russia in White House press conference 03:12

After weeks of protests and attempts to sway the ballots of U.S. electors against Donald Trump, the rightful winner of their votes, President Obama finally weighed in with his own comments about the Electoral College during his final press conference of the year.

President Obama on Russian hacks, Syria and more 12:18

Calling the Electoral College a “vestige” and a “carryover” from the time of the founding fathers, Mr. Obama acknowledged that the system “put a lot of premium on states.”

“There are some structures in our political system as envisioned by the founders that sometimes are going to disadvantage Democrats,” he said. “But the truth of the matter is that if we have a strong message if we’re speaking to what the American people care about, typically the popular vote and the Electoral College vote will align.”

But on the recent upswing in Democratic calls to abolish the electoral vote and move towards a strict popular vote to decide the president, Mr. Obama cautioned his party against blaming the Electoral College entirely.

“If we look for one explanation, or one silver bullet or one easy fix for our politics, then we’re probably going to be disappointed,” he said. “There’s just a lot of factors in what’s happened - not just over the last few months but over the last decade that’s made both politics and governance more challenging.”

Pressed on whether he would allow electors to receive an intelligence briefing on Russian hacking into the U.S. election (an idea supported by the Clinton campaign), Mr. Obama seemed to shoot down the possibility.

“It is not my job to decide my successor,” he said. “I have provided people with a lot of information about what happened during the course of the election -- but more importantly, the candidates have talked about their beliefs and their vision for America.”

The response comes just as electors are slated to meet next week to officially cast their ballots for the presidency. Mr. Trump, barring any “faithless” electors who may vote against the results of their state, is expected to win the vote over Hillary Clinton, 306 to 232. 

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