Former President Barack Obama has met with several Democratic presidential candidates, but he is seen as unlikely to endorse any of them before the general election, even his former Vice President, Joe Biden.
David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s former chief strategist, told a group of donors they should expect no endorsement to come from the former President. Axelrod confirmed in an interview that he briefed the gathering, recalling: “They asked me about Obama endorsing. I said, ‘I don’t imagine he will.’”
Axelrod’s forecast matches what Obama has told friends and likely presidential candidates in private: that he does not see it as his role to settle the 2020 nomination, and prefers to let the primary unfold as a contest of ideas. Michelle Obama, the former first lady, also has no plans to endorse a candidate, a person familiar with her thinking said.
Instead, Obama has counseled more than a dozen declared or likely candidates on what he believes it will take to beat President Trump, holding private talks with leading contenders like Ms. Harris, Mr. Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren; underdogs like Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; and prominent figures who remain undecided on the race, like Eric H. Holder, his former attorney general, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.
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