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Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report

Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaObama: 'Hopeless' to try to sell as many books as Michelle Obama sold record-breaking 1.7 million copies of memoir in first week Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk MORE are expected not to endorse a Democratic candidate in the party's 2020 presidential primary, sources told The New York Times in a report released Monday.

The former president has met with and counseled several contenders.

Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden announces all-female White House communications team Biden to nominate Neera Tanden, Cecilia Rouse to economic team: WSJ Memo to Biden: Go big — use the moment to not only rebuild but to rebuild differently MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory BookerDangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis Senate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs MORE (N.J.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Thomas Piketty says pandemic is opportunity to address income inequality The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE (Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are among the declared Democratic candidates Obama has spoken to, according to the Times.

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Obama has also reportedly met with prominent potential candidates including former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeMexican president breaks with other world leaders, refusing to acknowledge Biden win until election is finalized Mexico emerging as foreign policy challenge for Biden Beyoncé sports pro-Biden mask on Instagram MORE (D-Texas), former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderEx-AG Holder urges GOP to speak against Trump efforts to 'subvert' election results Tyson Foods suspends Iowa plant officials amid coronavirus scandal Money can't buy the Senate MORE and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Eric Schultz, a senior adviser to the former president, told the Times that Obama has been encouraged by the “diverse, experienced and principled” field of candidates taking shape, and that he had been “happy to speak privately with candidates seeking his guidance on the best way to lead the country.”

“President Obama counsels candidates to always show up and make their case even in areas or in front of audiences they may not necessarily win; express views and positions that reflect their genuine beliefs; and share a positive vision for the country true to their own personal story,” Schultz said.

The Times reports that Obama would not even endorse his former vice president, Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Five things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs MORE, if he enters the race. 

Obama has reportedly offered candidates a combination of supportive advice and warnings, cautioning that running for president is a punishing process, seven people who have spoken with him directly or were briefed in detail on the meetings told the Times.

During the 2016 presidential race, Obama did not endorse former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Groups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's MORE until she officially became the Democratic nominee.