In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, Sanders noted that he spoke with Obama earlier in the campaign. He continued to say that Obama told him that he would not endorse a candidate during the primary.
“I’m not going to tell you he’s my best friend,” Sanders said, adding, “But I talk to him every now and then, and I have a lot of respect for him.”
“But, I will tell you something which impresses me very much about Barack Obama. I talked to him many, many, many, months ago, we talked about the campaign. And I had called him up, and I think all the candidates basically had dropped in, I dropped in to see him. And, he said, ‘You know what, Bernie, I’m not going to get involved.’ And he kept his word.”
Watch the interview below:
"I'm not going to tell you he's my best friend," Sen. Sanders says of fmr. Pres. Obama. "He kept his word … not getting involved early on. I know that there's an enormous pressure on him to support Biden, and the fact that he's not doing that makes me respect him even more." pic.twitter.com/hXR1CLnXhL
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 5, 2020
“I think Biden had reached out to him and wanted his support. And, he said, ‘No, I think I will be more effective in supporting the eventual winner and not getting involved early on.'”
“I know that there’s an enormous pressure on him to support Biden, and the fact that he’s not doing that makes me respect him even more,” he added.
For his part, Biden has said that he does not believe his campaign has been hindered by the lack of an Obama endorsement, “It isn’t hurting me, and I don’t think it’s time.”
Additionally, Biden said that he “has to earn [the nomination] on my own,” to prevent allegations that he felt “entitled” to the nomination because he served as Obama’s vice president for two terms.
Biden has previously said that he does not need Obama’s endorsement and has said he asked Obama not to endorse him in the primary.
Obama’s decision to withhold his endorsement is not without precedent for the former president. In 2016, he did not endorse his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, when she ran for the nomination and won.
While Obama reportedly does not want Sanders to win the nomination, he has stood firm in his decision to stay out of the race.
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