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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders pondered a primary challenge against former President Obama in 2012, forcing then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to talk him down, reports The Atlantic.

Why it matters: While Obama hasn't endorsed a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, he cautioned last year that "the average American doesn't think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it" — a veiled jab at the Vermont senator, the current front-runner.

What happened: The threat of a Sanders primary challenge — relayed via fellow Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) — "absolutely panicked" Obama's re-election team, Jim Messina, his 2012 campaign manager, told The Atlantic.

  • Top Obama strategist David Plouffe confirmed that Leahy passed along the news.
  • It ultimately took Reid two calls to convince Sanders to back down.

The big picture: The Atlantic also reported on a 2013 meeting between Obama and Democratic senators about an Obama budget proposal that could cut Social Security benefits, which led to Sanders speaking out against the president's decision.

  • "It seemed the match of someone who prided himself on his cool intellect and removed analysis versus someone who was convinced with absolute ferocity with the rightness of his world view and is not given to accepting anything from those who don’t agree with it," a senator who was in the room told The Atlantic.

Worth noting: A person close to the former president told The Atlantic that "Obama will campaign his heart out for whoever the nominee is, and that includes Senator Sanders."

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats love Obama, but are ready to move on

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Biden delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the Capitol. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: The Celebrate America event, with remarks by Biden and Harris.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

President Biden faces a deeply broken America

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As President Biden begins his term in office today, he'll be tasked with leading a country beset with deep, long-term problems.

Why it matters: Though the pandemic has made them worse, existential challenges around inequality, social alienation and political division in the U.S. were in place well before SARS-CoV-2 arrived on American shores. The country's future will depend in large part on whether the choices made over the next four years can flatten the curve of American decline.

Facebook, Instagram transfer accounts, followers to Biden administration

Screenshot of official White House Facebook account.

Facebook on Wednesday confirmed that it is transferring the millions of followers of the official Facebook and Instagram White House accounts to the Biden administration.

Details: The accounts for "@POTUS," "@VicePresident" ("@VP" on Instagram) and "@FLOTUS" are having the followers from their personal Pages and accounts be transferred over. It's unclear when that transition process will be complete.