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

Former President Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama 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 Harris (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg are among the declared Democratic candidates Obama has spoken to, according to the Times.

Obama has also reportedly met with prominent potential candidates including former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), former Attorney General Eric Holder 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 Biden, 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 Clinton until she officially became the Democratic nominee.