Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report

Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Hill’s Morning Report – Treasury, Fed urge more spending, lending to ease COVID-19 wreckage Budowsky: Michelle Obama or Tammy Duckworth for VP Michelle Obama urges class of 2020 to couple protesting with mobilizing, voting MORE are expected not to endorse a Democratic candidate in the party’s 2020 presidential primary, sources told The New York Times in a report released Monday.

The former president has met with and counseled several contenders.

Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are among the declared Democratic candidates Obama has spoken to, according to the Times.

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Obama has also reportedly met with prominent potential candidates including former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas), former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderTrump official criticizes ex-Clinton spokesman over defunding police tweet Obama to speak about George Floyd in virtual town hall GOP group launches redistricting site MORE and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, told the Times that Obama has been encouraged by the “diverse, experienced and principled” field of candidates taking shape, and that he had been “happy to speak privately with candidates seeking his guidance on the best way to lead the country.”

“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,” Schultz said.

The Times reports that Obama would not even endorse his former vice president, Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, if he enters the race. 

Obama has reportedly offered candidates a combination of supportive advice and warnings, cautioning that running for president is a punishing process, seven people who have spoken with him directly or were briefed in detail on the meetings told the Times.

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During the 2016 presidential race, Obama did not endorse former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE until she officially became the Democratic nominee.

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