KEY POINTS

  • Obama called to congratulate Biden on his South Carolina victory Saturday
  • The former president will not make an endorsement until the general election
  • In December, Obama was reportedly discussing Warren favorably in private

Saturday night former President Barack Obama reportedly called his former vice president, Joe Biden, to congratulate him on his big win in the South Carolina primary. Despite this, Obama maintains that he won’t formally back any of the candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination until the general election.

Although the pair speak often, this is the first time Obama has called Biden or any candidate to congratulate them. But to the surprise of many, the former president remains adamantly opposed to throwing his support behind his former vice president, at least for now.

That’s because, as an unnamed individual close to Obama explained to CNN, the former president was concerned that endorsing Biden could ultimately “backfire.”

“We are skeptical that an endorsement coming from us could truly change the political winds right now,” the individual said. “[Obama] feels that he's singularly positioned to help unify the party at the end of this. And if he were to try to put his thumb on the scale now, it would take away his ability to do so when it's most needed, the general election,” they added.

By refusing to expend his political capital until after a nominee is chosen, Obama hopes to avoid potentially splitting an already splintering Democratic Party.

“Weighing in now likely only divides things worse and weakens his standing for when the Party will need it most,” the unnamed individual told CNN.

In many ways, the bid for the Democratic presidential nomination has come down to two camps: Progressives and moderates. The current front runner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is firmly in the first camp, as is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Biden, on the other hand, has positioned himself as a moderate.

Even though, like Biden, Obama had largely proven himself to be a moderate while occupying the Oval Office, there are indications that he is not opposed to a progressive claiming the nomination. In December, Obama had reportedly been speaking favorably about Warren behind closed doors, touting her as having “the most substantive achievements from his time in the White House,” according to one inside source.

Warren was named to head up the Obama-created Congressional Oversight Panel in 2008 to handle recovery from the housing crisis.

Regardless of who ends up running against President Donald Trump, Obama appears ready and willing to throw his full support behind the Democratic candidate come this fall.

obama biden Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden were one of America's favorite bromances. Pictured: Obama hugs Biden after presenting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 12, 2017. Photo: REUTERS