Says tensions linger between Obama’s team and Biden’s 2020 campaign.
One of the main reasons Joe Biden is even being considered for the Democratic nomination this year, is the fact that he served as Obama’s Vice President for eight years.
Yet according to a new report, there are lingering tensions and doubts surrounding the two men.
Alex Thompson of Politico does a deep dive here:
‘The President Was Not Encouraging’: What Obama Really Thought About Biden
The way Joe Biden explained it on the campaign trail in Iowa, he and his friend Barack Obama had long talked of Biden succeeding him in the White House, continuing the work of their administration. It was only tragic fate, in the form of the loss of his son Beau, that intervened. Now, after four years, the plan could finally go forward, with Biden running as the administration’s true heir.
Barack Obama, Biden solemnly declared in his campaign announcement in Philadelphia, is “an extraordinary man, an extraordinary president.” On the social media-generated #BestFriendsDay, the campaign posted a picture of “Joe” and “Barack” friendship bracelets. Biden relabeled himself an “Obama-Biden Democrat.”
Does everyone remember this sad tweet?
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 9, 2019
According to Thompson, members of Obama’s team saw Biden as something of a dolt:
Interviews with dozens of senior officials of the Obama-Biden administration painted a picture of eight years during which the president and vice president enjoyed a genuinely close personal relationship, built particularly around devotion to family, while at the same time many senior aides, sometimes tacitly encouraged by the president’s behavior, dismissed Biden as eccentric and a practitioner of an old, outmoded style of politics.
“You could certainly see technocratic eye-rolling at times,” said Jen Psaki, the former White House communications director. Young White House aides frequently mocked Biden’s gaffes and lack of discipline in comparison to the almost clerical Obama. They would chortle at how Biden, like an elderly uncle at Thanksgiving, would launch into extended monologues that everyone had heard before.
Former FBI Director James Comey recalled in his book that “Obama would have a series of exchanges heading a conversation very clearly and crisply in Direction A. Then, at some point, Biden would jump in with, ‘Can I ask something, Mr. President?’”
Comey continued: “Obama would politely agree, but something in his expression suggested he knew full well that for the next five or 10 minutes we would all be heading in Direction Z. After listening and patiently waiting, President Obama would then bring the conversation back on course.”
One of the most damning passages in the report pertains to the 2020 Democratic primary:
Yet searing, anonymously sourced quotes from Obama kept appearing through the race. One Democrat who spoke to Obama recalled the former president warning, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.” Speaking of his own waning understanding of today’s Democratic electorate, especially in Iowa, Obama told one 2020 candidate: “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
Morgan Phillips of FOX News, commenting on this Politico piece, notes the difference between Obama’s endorsement of Hillary in 2016, and his long awaited endorsement of Biden this year:
Some Biden aides pointed out that, when Obama’s endorsement of Biden in 2020 finally did arrive, it didn’t have nearly the energy of his endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” Obama said of Clinton in 2016 in an endorsement video. “I believe Joe has all of the qualities we need in a president right now … and I know he will surround himself with good people,” Obama said in Biden’s endorsement video.
And while some senior Democrats credited Biden’s ties to Obama for his strong relationship with Black voters, Biden has emphasized that he earned their votes all on his own. He told aides after his South Carolina primary win Obama hadn’t “lifted a finger” to help him.
This brings to mind what Obama reportedly said to Biden about the prospect of running in 2020.
Mike Brest of the Washington Examiner wrote in 2019:
Former President Barack Obama reportedly told his former Vice President Joe Biden that he didn’t “have to” run for president in 2020.
“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Obama told Biden earlier this year, according to The New York Times.
Keep all of this in mind if you watch any of the Democratic National Convention next week as people like Obama sing Biden’s praises and say he’s the right man for the job.DONATE
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