Sanders, Obama to hold Oval Office meeting

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stepping off his campaign bus an event with United Steelworkers Local 310L in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 26, 2016. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., stepping off his campaign bus an event with United Steelworkers Local 310L in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 26, 2016. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(JTA) – President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the White House.

There will be “no formal agenda” for Wednesday morning’s Oval Office meeting, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

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The meeting was first discussed in December, Earnest said.

Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont, is running in the primaries, which begin on Monday with the Iowa Caucuses, against Hillary Rodham Clinton, who served as Obama’s secretary of state during his first term in office after losing the Democratic primary to him in 2008.

Obama discussed the candidates in an interview with Politico’s OffMessage podcast, released on Monday.

“Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose,” Obama said. “I think Hillary came in with the both privilege — and burden — of being perceived as the front-runner. … You’re always looking at the bright, shiny object that people haven’t seen before — that’s a disadvantage to her.”

Clinton and Obama have met several times since she left her position in 2013.

Polls show Sanders and Clinton running neck-and-neck in the Iowa Caucuses. Obama reportedly will not endorse a candidate during the primary.

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