Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama don’t plan on endorsing a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, The New York Times reports.
David Axelrod, who was Obama’s chief strategist, told the newspaper that a group of the former president’s financial supporters from previous elections “asked me about Obama endorsing. I said, ‘I don’t imagine he will.’”
Axelrod was not acting as a surrogate for Obama, and said he was only sharing his opinion on the matter, but the Times notes that several of Obama’s friends, former staffers and some potential candidates have all said they don’t expect an endorsement from the former president or the former first lady.
Despite apparent desire to keep his distance from the 2020 presidential race, Obama has met with several candidates and possible candidates for the Democratic nomination: Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Cory Booker, D-N.J., as well as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Times describes these meetings, which took place at the former president’s office in Washington, D.C., as “informal,” and writes that Obama dispensed advice and warned them about the difficulty of campaigning.
“President Obama counsels candidates to always show up and make their case even in areas or in front of audiences they may not necessarily win; express views and positions that reflect their genuine beliefs; and share a positive vision for the country true to their own personal story,” said Obama’s senior adviser Eric Schultz.