Barack Obama’s greatest fear is being succeeded by a Republican president with a Republican controlled House and Senate. The eight years of his presidency could be virtually erased.

The Iran Deal? Gone. Obamacare? Reversed. His executive orders? Over.

Knowing that, it’s easy to understand why he’s starting to sound like a Hillary Clinton supporter. Many high ranking Democrats are encouraged by the enthusiasm surrounding Bernie Sanders but feel he’s ultimately unelectable.

In an exclusive interview with Politico’s Glenn Thrush yesterday, Obama made the case for Hillary:

Exclusive: Obama on Iowa, Clinton, Sanders and 2016

Barack Obama, that prematurely gray elder statesman, is laboring mightily to remain neutral during Hillary Clinton’s battle with Bernie Sanders in Iowa, the state that cemented his political legend and secured his path to the presidency.

But in a candid 40-minute interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast as the first flakes of the blizzard fell outside the Oval Office, he couldn’t hide his obvious affection for Clinton or his implicit feeling that she, not Sanders, best understands the unpalatably pragmatic demands of a presidency he likens to the world’s most challenging walk-and-chew-gum exercise.

“[The] one thing everybody understands is that this job right here, you don’t have the luxury of just focusing on one thing,” a relaxed and reflective Obama told me in his most expansive discussion of the 2016 race to date…

“Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose,” he said. “I think Hillary came in with the both privilege — and burden — of being perceived as the front-runner. … You’re always looking at the bright, shiny object that people haven’t seen before — that’s a disadvantage to her.”

That last part should go over well with Sanders supporters.

You can listen to the interview below:

You may be wondering why Obama doesn’t just come out and endorse her.

Olivier Knox of Yahoo Politics offers one reason:

The president, refusing to side with his former secretary of state, a former senator and first lady, over self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders? What does that say about their relationship — or his confidence in her as commander in chief?

Very little, as it turns out. With one interesting exception (Bill Clinton), recent presidential history shows that sitting presidents tend to make their presidential endorsements late in the primary game. Very late.

In fact, Obama wouldn’t be out of step if he waited until after the Democratic nomination was no longer in doubt. George W. Bush endorsed Sen. John McCain in March 2008, only after it became clear he would be the Republican nominee. Ronald Reagan waited until May 1988 to endorse his vice president, George H.W. Bush, only doing so after his lone rival dropped out…

“As president and symbolic head of the Democratic Party, he doesn’t want to officially take sides in an intraparty fight. This isn’t unusual for a sitting president,” Matt Dickinson, a political science professor at Middlebury College, told Yahoo News.

“This doesn’t mean Obama can’t indirectly signal his preference. In fact, I think Obama made it clear in the [Politico] interview that he prefers Clinton,” Dickinson said.

One thing to remember in all of this, is that it doesn’t necessarily help Hillary.

People are tired of Obama and his policies. If Obama ultimately embraces Hillary as his successor, it will be impossible for her to deny that she’s running for his third term.