The tense primary fight between the heavily favored Clinton and her liberal challenger had already gone on much longer than anyone had anticipated.
While Clinton had a clear lead in votes and pledged delegates, Sanders’s most vocal supporters were showing no signs of giving in. Despite Donald Trump’s stumbles on the GOP side, Democrats worried their presidential candidate could be hurt if their party were too divided in the fall.
It’s not clear what Obama said to the Vermont senator during the Sunday conversation.
But a day later, Sanders had changed his tone, saying he would “assess” his path to victory following California’s primary.
The phone call is just one example of Obama’s efforts to exert influence in the Democratic primary.
Obama had to tread carefully in a fight that pitted Sanders against his own former secretary of State. From the beginning, Obama was seen as a Clinton supporter, but he’s managed to emerge from the battle with praise from both camps.
“Look, the president has been very even-handed throughout this process,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s combative campaign manager, said Tuesday on MSNBC. “That’s greatly appreciated.”