Bernie Sanders took some time off the campaign trail Wednesday to meet with the man he wants to replace.
President Barack Obama welcomed Sanders to the Oval Office for an informal, private 45-minute meeting.
Sanders told reporters after the meeting that he believes Obama will stay neutral as Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compete for their party’s nomination.
“I think he and the vice president have tried to be fair and even-handed in the process and I expect they will continue to be that way,” he said.
Sanders said he did not ask the president for his endorsement.
Earlier this week in an interview published in Politico, Obama heaped praise on Clinton, whom he ran against and then appointed secretary of state.
But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president expected to stay out of the nomination contest, though he would vote by absentee ballot in the Illinois primary.
Sanders described the meeting as “productive and constructive,” and said the two had discussed domestic and foreign policy and “a little bit of politics.”
Earnest said Obama was certainly expecting to spend some time talking in the meeting about how they could work together to advance Democratic priorities and values. “That’s work that they’ve obviously done in the past, and that’s work that the president hopes they can do together in the future,” he said.
The two decided to meet when they saw each other at a White House party before the holidays. It is the second time they have met privately in the last year or so.