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Obama Moves Off Political Sidelines, Earlier Than He Expected

Former President Barack Obama has been increasingly moving back into the action to discuss the 2020 race and Democratic Party politics.

Mr. Sanders, responding to...

Mr. Sanders, responding to Mr. Obama’s remarks last weekend, said: “I’m not tearing down the system. We’re fighting for justice[1].” Ms. Warren did not push back, and said she was “grateful” for Mr. Obama’s passage of the Affordable Care Act. But some on the party’s left, including Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were less accommodating, tweeting out the hashtag “#TooFarLeft” in disapproval.

Mr. Obama has also quietly expressed concerns, as have many other Democrats, about the performance of his former vice president, Mr. Biden, especially in the debates, according to two Democrats with knowledge of the interactions.

His unfinished book, a memoir spanning his eight years in office, is also weighing heavily on Mr. Obama, who sees it as his principal legacy project, a literary bookend to his highly-regarded 1995 autobiography “Dreams From My Father.”

The former president, a meticulous writer and chronic procrastinator, has blown through several self-imposed deadlines — he told Ms. Abrams it was “a pain” — and no one quite knows when it will be finished, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

The process of reliving his presidency day by day, writing in longhand and revising it with his speechwriter Cody Keenan, has put him in a reflective and, at times, feisty mood, associates say, making him more willing to express his thoughts to a wider audience.

Mr. Obama has taken great care not to express his opinions about particular candidates — at least in earshot of anyone who will leak them — and has told people around him that he wants to avoid even the slightest perception that he is “thumbing the scale” for any candidate, as he did by tacitly backing Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign in 2016.

References

  1. ^ We’re fighting for justice (www.nytimes.com)

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