President Obama Praises Bernie Sanders but Passes on Whether He'd Make 'Great' POTUS

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos spoke with President Obama.

— -- President Obama offered praise for Sen. Bernie Sanders, but declined to say whether he thought the independent Vermont senator would be a “great” president, a compliment he had previously bestowed upon Hillary Clinton.

“I think Bernie is capturing a sense among the American people that they want to know the government's on their side, that it's not bought and paid for, that our focus has to be on hard working, middle class Americans, not getting a raw deal. And I think that is incredibly important,” Obama said when asked directly by ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos during an exclusive interview Thursday at the White House.

In an interview with Stephanopoulos last year, Obama said that Clinton would make a “great” president if she decided to launch a bid for the White House.

During this most recent interview with ABC News, Obama complimented his former secretary of state, saying she’s “doing great,” but did not make an endorsement for president.

“I'm not going to make endorsements,” the president said. “It's important for the process to play itself out.”