Bernie Sanders said he believes President Obama has been “even-handed” during the Democratic presidential primary after the two met privately in the Oval Office on Wednesday.
“What the president has tried to do, what Vice President Biden has tried to do, is to be as even-handed as they can be,” Sanders told reporters after the meeting. “And I know there was some discussion the other day about a Politico interview where he was tipping the scale towards Secretary Clinton – I don’t believe that at all.”
The interview, released earlier this week, fueled speculation that Obama was supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the closer-than-expected Democratic primary battle. Obama said Sanders has not been subjected a rigor that “Hillary is very well familiar with” and that Clinton is familiar with “delivering the goods.”
“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.
Sanders called the meeting “very productive and constructive” and that the two discussed a number of issues, including “a little bit of politics.”
He did not ask for an endorsement from the president.
Sanders, who is running neck-and-neck with Clinton in Iowa, also gave his own prediction for the caucuses on Monday.
“If there is a large turnout, I think we win, if not I think we’re going to be struggling,” the Vermont senator said.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that Obama does not plan to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, nor does he plan to make public who he votes for in the Illinois primary.
Earnest said the “robust debate” going on in the primary battle between Clinton and Sanders is good for the Democratic party. He also said the president plans to campaign actively in the general election.
Sanders has attracted large crowds on the campaign trail, drawing comparisons to the excitement Obama generated during his 2008 run.
“I would suspect there was an opportunity for the president to reminisce a bit,” Earnest said.