Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a news conference after a stop at the United Steelworkers Local 310L union hall, Jan. 26, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Photo by Charlie Neibergall/AP

Obama and Sanders to hold private meeting Wednesday

In this March 10, 2006, file photo, Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic rally for then U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders in Burlington, Vt. (Photo by Toby Talbot/AP)
In this March 10, 2006, file photo, Barack Obama speaks at a Democratic rally for then U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders in Burlington, Vt.
Photo by Toby Talbot/AP
President Barack Obama will meet with surging Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Wednesday, just days before the Iowa caucuses.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Tuesday that the meeting will take place in the Oval Office and was first discussed when the Vermont senator attended the Congressional Holiday Ball last month.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had a number of private meetings with Obama, including one in December that Earnest described as “mostly a social occasion.”

The Obama-Sanders sit down comes after the president made comments that seemed to suggest support for his former Cabinet member.

RELATED: Obama doesn’t see Clinton vs. Sanders as a repeat of 2008

“If Bernie won Iowa or won New Hampshire, then you guys are going to do your jobs and, you know, you’re going to dig into his proposals and how much they cost and what does it mean, and, you know, how does his tax policy work and he’s subjected, then, to a rigor that hasn’t happened yet, but that Hillary is very well familiar with” Obama said in an interview with Politico.

“You’re always looking at the bright, shiny object that people don’t, haven’t seen before. That’s a disadvantage to her,” Obama added.

This article first appeared on NBCNews.com

Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and White House

Obama and Sanders to hold private meeting Wednesday