Former President Barack Obama warned Democrats on Thursday against adopting “purity tests” in the presidential primary and said any adversity the candidates face in the contest will make whoever emerges an even stronger nominee.
Obama spoke to about 100 donors during a question-and-answer session with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez in Los Altos Hills, California. The event came a day after the fifth Democratic presidential primary in Atlanta and as the 17-person field continues to expand, with the expected entry of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the coming days.
Until recently, Obama largely refrained from opining publicly on the Democratic contest, and his move from the sidelines comes at a moment of deep uncertainty for the party. Many are jittery about the uneven candidacy of his former Vice President Joe Biden, questioning whether Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren can defeat President Donald Trump next year, and skeptical of whether Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor who is surging in Iowa, can appeal to black voters that are a crucial Democratic voting bloc.