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Obama Casts Doubt On Donald Trump's Chances In General Election

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Donald Trump, the apparent Republican presidential nominee, has captured the country's attention, but the man whose job he wants says 2016 will not be Donald Trump's year. President Obama says he doesn't think the headlines will translate into votes for Trump. NPR's Steve Inskeep interviewed the president yesterday.

STEVE INSKEEP, BYLINE: We ran across a statement of yours from 2008 about changing the trajectory of the country. You said that Ronald Reagan had changed the trajectory of the country partly because the country was ready for it. It was his moment, that John F. Kennedy had done the same thing because it was the right moment. The country was going in a certain direction.

You wanted to see such a moment. You believe there was such a moment for you in 2008. Is there a risk that Donald Trump could say the same thing in 2016, that he could be the man to change the trajectory of the country now?

BARACK OBAMA: Well, if he won, he could say that.

INSKEEP: I mean to say you think the country might be ready for that?

OBAMA: No (laughter). And I think that will be tested over the next four months. But I think it's pretty hard to argue that somebody who almost three-quarters of the country think is unqualified to be president and has a negative opinion about it is tapping into the zeitgeist of the country or speaking for a broad base of the country. But we'll find out. Look, that's what elections are for.

SIEGEL: President Obama also called Trump a member of the global elite and a poor representative for the working class. He spoke with Steve as part of an upcoming NPR radio documentary on the Obama presidency.

And you can hear more of their conversation on tomorrow's Morning Edition and the full interview on many NPR stations in days to come. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.