Barack Obama has already met with more than a dozen declared and prospective candidates for the Democratic primaries, from Bernie Sanders to Mike Bloomberg, yet no candidate has received his direct lobbying, according to the New York Times. Even former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. does not expect to obtain Obama’s backing if he decides to run, according to Biden’s allies.
The ex-President, however, reportedly continues to shape the candidates’ strategy by giving them advice on how to counter current President Trump in the upcoming primaries. During these informal conversations, usually held at his office in Washington, Obama has offered a combination of supportive advice and warnings, cautioning that running for president is a more punishing process than they could ever imagine, according to seven people who are aware of the topics discussed at the meetings.
“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 Eric Schultz, Obama’s senior adviser.
He has also encouraged candidates not to get too personal in the primary, fearing that attacks between Democrats over their program disagreements would help Trump in the general election.
This is not the first time Obama has tried to influence future elections or has given advice to potential candidates. Earlier during the midterm elections, Obama reportedly was counselling Democrats to focus on everyday issues, rather than the Russia investigation.
Don’t chase shiny objects, don’t hyperventilate over the flash of any tweet. Think about what’s going to stick in the long term, he told Democrats, cited by Politico.