Former President Barack Obama has met with at least eight Democratic 2020 hopefuls, according to a Politico report Monday.
What are the details of the alleged meetings?
According to Politico, the possible contenders have been seeking out the former president's counsel in an attempt to become the Democratic Party's frontrunner for the 2020 election, and some have secured one-on-one meetings with Obama.
The report noted that all meetings took place at Obama’s personal office on the third floor of the World Wildlife Fund building in D.C.’s West End neighborhood.
According to Politico, Obama "is eager to be a sounding board and counselor to the Democrats he sees as playing a role in shaping the party’s future."
The report also noted that it isn't just prospective candidates stopping by to speak with Obama about the future of the party — others named in the report include former Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) among others.
The report said that Obama has declined to comment on any of the meetings.
Who are those who have met with Obama?
According to the report, here's what is known about the meetings that have reportedly taken place:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.):
The former president reportedly met with Sanders in mid-March, where the two men discussed the Democratic Party's future and their respective roles within it. The report noted that Obama and Sanders did not "get into a specific discussion" about whether Sanders — who ran against Hillary Clinton for the 2016 election cycle — would run for president once again in 2020.
Many people were led to believe that Sanders would enter the 2020 race following a visit to Iowa, a pivotal state in the election, in February. February marked the third time Sanders visited Iowa since the 2016 election, a state in which he lost to Clinton in the Democratic caucus.
Former Vice President Joe Biden:
Obama and Biden, notoriously close, reportedly met together in January. According to the report, Biden is waiting to make a decision about a possible 2020 bid after November's midterms. The 2020 race was not reportedly discussed during the Obama and Biden meeting, but the former president is reportedly "waiting on his friend to make a decision."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.):
Obama has met with Warren twice since leaving office, according to the outlet. Their first meeting was held during the spring 2017, after Warren expressed her disappointment in Obama receiving $400,000 as payment for speaking at a Wall Street investment firm. Warren reportedly described the payment as "an example of the money that she's called 'a snake that slithers through Washington.'" The two reportedly discussed her comments during the meeting, but Warren did not apologize for them, Politico said.
The second meeting reportedly took place in April and "ran well into 90 minutes." During the meeting they discussed Richard Cordray, former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Ohio's Democratic gubernatorial candidate. They also reportedly discussed President Donald Trump.
In March, Warren said that she would not be running in 2020, choosing instead to focus on retaining her Senate seat in 2018.
Former Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.):
Patrick, a personal friend of Obama and board member of the Obama Foundation, also met with the president at an indeterminate time, according to Politico. According to the report, Obama and "many in his inner circle" are eager to see Patrick enter the 2020 presidential race.
In March, Patrick said that a 2020 presidential bid was "on my radar screen."
While the report did not provide details about purported meetings between Obama and the following people, Politico was adamant that Obama met with the likes of the following Democrats.
Former Missouri Secretary of State and onetime Senate candidate Jason Kander:
In May, the Kansas City Star reported that "clues" that Kander may run for president in 2020 were beginning to stack up. Some of those "clues" included his speaking at a Dallas County, Iowa, fundraiser. In April, Kander spoke to a sellout crowd at a fundraising dinner in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he railed against Trump and the state's Republican governor. On Tuesday, it was announced that Kander would be the Democratic keynote speaker at Idaho's Democratic 2018 convention, set to take place June 29- 30.
Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu:
Landrieu, whose term as New Orleans mayor ended in May, published a book in March about race relations and went on a book tour. Landrieu, who is largely credited for helping to rebuild the Crescent City after 2005's Hurricane Katrina, also took down Confederate statues around the city in 2017. Landrieu served as New Orleans' mayor from 2010 to 2018, and as Louisiana's lieutenant governor from 2004 to 2010.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti:
In November, Garcetti said that he was considering a possible 2020 presidential bid. At the time, he also announced that he would not be seeking a run for the governor's seat. "I'm proud to be a Democrat — but I don't walk around with a 'D' on my forehead," he told the New York Times. In April, he told the Los Angeles Times that he wouldn't be considering such a move if Trump were not president. In May, Garcetti ramped up the political rhetoric and said that the U.S. "needs" a mayor for president, and in June told Bloomberg that he would be making an official decision next year as to whether to run.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg:
Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has also flirted with a possible 2020 presidential bid. He made a failed bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee last year. According to the South Bend Tribune, Buttigieg did meet with Obama last fall. Mark Bode, a spokesperson for the mayor, told the publication, "The mayor has met President Obama a number of times, most recently for an informal, private conversation last fall. The mayor has appreciated President Obama’s interest in the South Bend region both during and since his presidency." According to a March Politico report, Buttigieg's second term as mayor ends in 2019, and he has yet to decide whether he will run again.
Anything else to know?
The Politico report also adds that the following lawmakers and possible 2020 candidates have yet to secure a sit-down with the former president:
- Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.)
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)