CNN reporter Rebecca Buck on Friday said former president Barack Obama is "expressing exasperation" over the Democratic Party's movement to the left.
CNN's Newsroom co-host Jim Sciutto mentioned Obama wasn't pleased by criticism from Democratic presidential candidates and asked Buck what she was learning behind the scenes.
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"As you know, Obama has been trying to stay out of this primary as much as possible, keeping quiet, and not making any endorsements even with his former vice president Joe Biden in the race," Buck said. "But privately Obama, our CNN colleagues are reporting, is expressing exasperation at how far left the party is moving on some policy issues and of course breaking with some of the things he did when he was president."
"Primaries are all about the legacy of the last president where the party is moving, and it's no secret that the Democratic Party right now has been moving far to the left policy-wise relative to the Obama administration," Buck continued. "And it is for many of these candidates a balancing act because Joe Biden of course is essentially a third term of President Obama."
CNN on Thursday reported Obama allies were not happy about the Democratic presidential candidates attacking Obama's record on health care and immigration. Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as the first White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, railed against the candidates.
"We have seen this movie before. Democrats need to wake up," Emanuel told CNN. "I would not treat the Obama years as something to be airbrushed out of history. Every one of these things needs to be built upon."
During the CNN debate on Wednesday, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio pressed Biden on whether he attempted to persuade Obama against the mass deportation of 3 million illegal immigrants, but Biden dodged the question. De Blasio followed up to ask again about the deportations, but Biden dodged again, saying, "I was vice president. I am not the president. I keep my recommendations in private. Unlike you, I expect you would go ahead and say whatever was said privately with him. That is not what I do."
Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) also pressed, telling Biden he couldn't have it "both ways." Booker said Biden invokes Obama more than any of the other 2020 candidates, but avoids answering criticism of the administration.
More progressive 2020 candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and de Blasio targeted Obama's landmark health care legislation, Obamacare. Sanders and Warren both support Medicare for All, which would eliminate private health care plans. De Blasio also hit Obamacare by saying the health care system isn't working, prompting MSNBC host Joy Reid to say, "It was weird for me to watch almost 40 minutes of primarily attacks on the Obama administration's policies."
"It was odd. I mean, de Blasio made a full-on attack of Obamacare, essentially said we have no working health care system in America," she added. "But hello, we have Obamacare, so that means the system he's attacking and saying isn't working is Obamacare."