Michelle Obama 'going to support whoever wins the primary'

Former First Lady says it's early

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Copyright 2019 CNN

(CNN) - Former first lady Michelle Obama on Saturday avoided wading into the race for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential endorsement, saying that she and former President Barack Obama would support "whoever wins the primary"

Michelle Obama told CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King before an audience gathered at the Essence Festival in New Orleans that "our primary focus is letting the primary process play out because it's very early."

"I mean that's one of the things that we learned in the campaign. It is early," she said in the wide-ranging interview. "It's like trying to figure out who is going to win the World Series on the first seven games, I mean that's where we are right now. It is so early and things will change."

Michelle Obama added that she and Barack were "watching everyone" and willing to give support to Democratic candidates trying to navigate the crowded democratic primary field.

"The general election is so important that we have to get behind whoever comes out of that primary, so we're watching everyone, we're supporting everyone, we're giving advice to whoever seeks it," she said.

When asked if she had a comment about the ongoing spat on issues of race and busing between California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden -- who served in the Obama administration for eight years -- she offered very little, saying: "I do not."

"I've been doing this rodeo far too long," she said to a laughing crowd. "It's like -- no comments."

Harris confronted Biden during the first Democratic primary debate last month about comments he made last month about his ability to be civil and work with segregationist senators, as well as his past opposition to desegregation busing.

Biden told CNN in an exclusive interview that aired Friday that his stance on busing was taken out of context, and during a campaign speech Saturday, he apologized for the comments about working with segregationist senators and leaned heavily on his experience as vice president to Barack Obama to defend his record on issues of race.

"I was vetted by him and selected by him," Biden said of Barack Obama Saturday. "I will take his judgment of my record, my character, and my ability to handle the job over anyone else's."

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