Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is in the middle of his second bid for the presidency, but there was apparently a moment in 2012 when he considered launching a primary challenge against then-President Barack Obama, The Atlantic reported Wednesday.
Obama's re-election campaign manager Jim Messina told The Atlantic — and multiple sources confirmed his account — Sanders informed his fellow Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) he was thinking about entering the race. Leahy was reportedly alarmed by the news and tipped off Messina about the possibility. Messina said the re-election campaign was "absolutely panicked," because incumbents who face a real primary race tend to lose the general election.
Enter then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who had a good relationship with both Sanders and Obama. In this case, he sided with the latter and told Sanders to drop the idea. Sanders agreed.
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Still, The Atlantic reports, the episode produced a tense, if mostly dormant, relationship between Obama and Sanders. For example, in 2013, Sanders reportedly tore into the president for selling out to the GOP over Social Security benefits. Obama reportedly pushed back forcefully, and a number of senators told The Atlantic they were struck by the exchange.
But while it's evident Sanders isn't Obama's first choice to win the 2020 Democratic nomination, there's no indication he'll seek to prevent Sanders' victory, and both camps have attempted to downplay their differences. Read more at The Atlantic.
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