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Obama cautions 2020 candidates against going too far left

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit
Former President Barack Obama. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama warned 2020 Democrats to avoid moving too far to the left and tearing down the system at a meeting for the Democracy Alliance on Friday, the Washington Post reports.

“This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement. They like seeing things improved. But the average American doesn’t think that we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it’s important for us not to lose sight of that.”

Why it matters: Obama said he will remain neutral throughout the primaries. However, some of the big ideas about sweeping change that the former president mentioned seemed to align with "staunch liberal" candidates, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Post notes.

What he's saying:

  • “My point is that even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality and the fact that voters, including Democratic voters and certainly persuadable independents or even moderate Republicans, are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain, you know, left-leaning Twitter feeds or the activist wing of our party,” Obama said, per the Post.
  • Obama urged 2020 contenders to push past campaigning on his administration's accomplishments, and bring new ideas to the table.
  • The 44th president harkened back to his own primary to provide encouragement for the current campaigners, saying: “For those who get stressed about robust primaries, I just have to remind you that I had a very robust primary ... whoever emerges from the primary process, I will work my tail off to make sure they are the next president.”

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