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A new report says former President Barack Obama is concerned about the recent momentum of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
In recent weeks, the democratic socialist has put some distance between himself and the third-place candidate, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in most national polls.
The results of a CNN poll released Wednesday showed Sanders in first place nationwide, overtaking former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders garnered 27 percent in the poll, compared with 24 percent for Biden.
Biden is still leading in the RealClearPolitics polling average, with 28.7 percent support, compared with 22 percent for Biden.
Sanders’ rise is making Obama “increasingly anxious,” according to Fox Business reporter Charles Gasparino, citing Democratic Party sources.
The former president is even thinking about making a “public statement” to address his concerns, Gasparino tweeted Thursday.
“SCOOP: Dem Party sources who have spoken w @BarackObama say former prez is growing increasingly anxious about @BernieSanders rise in the national polls & where the avowed socialist would take the country,” Gasparino tweeted.
“[H]e is considering a public statement addressing it more now.”
SCOOP: Dem Party sources who have spoken w @BarackObama say former prez is growing increasingly anxious about @BernieSanders rise in the national polls & where the avowed socialist would take the country; he is considering a public statement addressing it more now @FoxBusiness
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) January 23, 2020
While Obama implemented a host of liberal policies during his time as president, it’s possible that Sanders, who supports eliminating private health insurance, forgiving all federal student loan debt and abolishing U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, is too far left of a candidate even for him.
Gasparino’s report came the same day a former high-level adviser to Obama claimed the Vermont senator would be the “worst candidate in a general election.”
“He’s beginning to consolidate the left in his party,” Jim Messina, who successfully managed Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, said on MSNBC, according to the Washington Examiner. “He has a relationship with these voters, he’s been campaigning with these voters for now 6 years, he knows New Hampshire voters really well, and people are beginning to come to him.”
But Sanders’ message won’t work as well in a general election, Messina said.
“I think it’s very clear to me that these swing voters, that I care about, the Trump-Obama voters in Midwestern states, Bernie Sanders is not the candidate we need to beat Donald Trump in November,” he said.
In November, Politico reported that Obama does not intend to get involved with the Democratic primary — with one key exception.
“Back when Sanders seemed like more of a threat than he does now, Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him,” the outlet reported.
An Obama representative, meanwhile, insisted to Politico the former president would support the 2020 Democratic nominee, no matter who that ends up being.