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Former President Barack Obama has privately met with at least nine possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates over the past few months, Politico reported on Monday.
According to the report, the former president held one-on-one sessions with former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D).
Sources who were briefed on the meetings told the news agency that Sanders requested the sit-down personally. At the meeting, which was held in mid-March, the two reportedly discussed the future of the party and what their individual roles would be going forward.
Obama met with Warren twice since leaving office, first to discuss a payment the former president was receiving to speak at a Wall Street investment firm and, at the second meeting, to discuss President Trump in April.
Politico also reported that Obama has remained in close contact with Biden since the two left office and that they met in person in January.
“The president was generous with his time and advice, and he was excited to talk about the future,” one source informed about the meetings told Politico.
Biden is expected to make an announcement regarding his potential 2020 run for office after the midterms, though has said publicly that he hopes “other folks step up” and run instead.
When asked why he hoped someone else would run instead of running himself, Biden said the loss of his son had hurt his family and that he needed to give attention to them for the time being.
“I lost my son, my son Beau. He left a hole in the heart of everybody in the family,” Biden said. “It takes time to come back.”
Others expected to run for the presidency in 2020 include California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), though neither senator has met with the former president at this time.