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2020 Democrats Have a Confidential Adviser

'NYT': Barack Obama is talking with them, but don't expect an endorsement
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2019 10:39 AM CST
Former President Barack Obama accepts the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award at a ceremony on Dec. 12, 2018, in New York.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

(Newser) – The 2020 Democratic field is filling up quickly, and the New York Times reports on a common denominator: Big names and long shots alike are meeting confidentially with Barack Obama to get his advice on how to beat President Trump. However, the story emphasizes that neither Obama nor wife Michelle is expected to issue an endorsement in the primary. The former president doesn't see that as his role, and that would remain the case even if his former VP, Joe Biden, enters the race. The story says the two have discussed the race, however, and the best Biden can hope for is that Obama will say good things about his tenure as a running mate and vice president.

Obama has spoken with more than a dozen declared or potential candidates, per the Times, including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Michael Bloomberg, and Obama's former attorney general, Eric Holder. Politico, meanwhile, notes that many polls have Biden leading the Democratic contenders with roughly 30% of the prospective vote. However, the story throws cold water on a lead of that size. Factoring in undecided voters, it figures Biden's backing is closer to 10%. "I think the reason that so many people are getting in is because this is a 1-to-15% spread, not a 1-to-30% spread," says one analyst. "It's very different from 2016, when Hillary Clinton was at 40[%] or 50%.” (Read more Barack Obama stories.)

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