A Thursday story in Politico claims that former President Barack Obama has been meeting with liberal Democratic politicians to give them campaign advice.
Since leaving office in 2017, Obama has dabbled in politics on occasion, most notably by campaigning for then-candidate Joe Biden in 2020 and for many congressional candidates in the 2022 midterms. According to Politico, he has recently increased his political engagement by inviting politicians to private meetings about campaigns and strategy, suggesting that he may be trying to influence the party’s policy.
The New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill, the Florida Democrat Maxwell Frost, and the Michigan Democrat Haley Stevens are among those who have met with Obama. The rumored goal of the meetings was to help Obama stay connected with the Democrat’s rising stars.
It was reportedly, by people close to the story, “long-winded” advice. There was talk of best practices and curiosity about what the lawmakers heard at home, the report states, with Obama telling Democrats how to campaign for the 2024 elections, in which Biden is also expected to run. Low voter participation among black males was discussed, and the article says Obama was also asked how to avoid the perception of being an elitist.
Biden served as Obama’s vice president for eight years, and their relationship is rumored to have been tense. Obama receives greater attention at events when both have participated, despite Biden being the president, and former Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has said that Biden often felt that his “loyalty was not being rewarded” during the Obama administration.
Reports indicate that during their talks, Obama urged Democrats to find their unique identities while telling them the Democrat fate in 2024 would be predicated on Biden’s success.
Obama seldom sought out such discussions with new legislators throughout his presidency. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who left office as Democrats, have not engaged in a coordinated series of one-on-one meetings with members of Congress from their party.