Obama didn't name specific policies. And to be sure, he encouraged the lawmakers - about half-dozen of whom worked in his own administration - to continue to pursue "bold" ideas as they shaped legislation during their first year in the House.
But some people in the room took his words as a cautionary note about Medicare-for-all and the ambitious Green New Deal, two liberal ideas popularized by a few of the more famous House freshmen, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
While the more liberal freshmen have garnered much of the attention in Washington, many first-year Democrats hail from swing- or even red-districts and have struggled with how to respond to the emboldened far-left.
"He said we [as Democrats] shouldn't be afraid of big, bold ideas - but also need to think in the nitty-gritty about how those big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them," said one person summarizing the former president's remarks.