Two people who spoke with Fox Business on the condition of anonymity said that Obama's preference has always been to lay low through the primaries, aside from expressing concerns over the increasingly leftist proposals among the party.
"The average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system to remake it," the Times quoted Obama, while speaking at a gathering of Democratic donors.
Sources close to the former president pointed out that he has always said that he will support the Democratic nominee, whoever that may be. They also highlighted that Obama’s opinion on several candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, has softened since November. However, these people add, he has recently grown even more wary of Sanders, as the Vermont senator appears to be gaining momentum in polls and the Democratic primaries begin to heat up with the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary both in February.
Obama reportedly said that Sanders is both temperamentally and politically unfit to beat Trump, while worrying that Sanders’ political proposals, which include large tax increases, free college tuition and massive student debt forgiveness, might alienate traditional Democratic voters. Moreover, the sources have suggested that Obama is mulling a more forceful rebuke of Sanders.
It is unclear if Obama will name Sanders specifically if he does indeed decide to make a statement, or if he will address the matter in more general terms as he did in November. He also may choose to remain silent if Joe Biden or Warren begin to overtake Sanders in the early primaries.
The spokesmen for Obama and Sanders have both declined to comment. The news comes amid increased tension between Biden and Sanders as they head toward the end of the race for the nomination. They have exchanged vocal criticism over Social Security and other matters. The Democratic party's 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton, also attacked Sanders’ style in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, though she stopped short of saying she wouldn’t endorse him if he emerged as the Democratic nominee.