“To the 20 people have been involved in the debate so far, any one of them should hope and pray, if they were fortunate to be president, that they could have the support of the country and the world like Barack Obama did,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told The Daily Beast in an interview. “He will go down in the history books, for a lot of reasons. But for Democrats to try to denigrate his legacy right now. I mean, the guy is barely 50 years old, and they are trying to knock him down in status. He stood for so many strong things, such as family and integrity. I just think it’s just awful. I mean, I just think… I just think it is awful.”

For many involved in presidential politics, the notion that a Democratic candidate would benefit from questioning the last Democratic president seemed boneheaded at best. Four years ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was criticized for writing a blurb for a book titled “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama let Progressives Down.” It was one of the more bizarre news cycles of the primary, as Sanders’ blurb was actually about the need for the next president to rally around a progressive agenda and not (as it was presented) an endorsement of the idea that Obama had failed progressivism. But it reinforced the notion that Sanders wasn’t sufficiently appreciative of the nominal leader of the party whose nomination he was seeking.

On Saturday, the candidates who had leveled critiques of Obama’s record sought to avoid that same fate. And, in doing so, they accused the press corps of buying into spin from Biden’s campaign that criticism of the former vice president amounted to criticism of Obama.