“You do not have to do this, Joe…” Apparently, that is what Barrack Obama told his former VP about seeking the Democratic nomination for 2020.
According to the New York Times, in a meeting in 2019, Obama, while discussing Joe Biden’s run for the high office in 2020, reportedly told his vice president that “You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t.” The Times reported that Obama “took pains to cast his doubts about the campaign in personal terms.”
Biden, who leads President Trump in several polls on 2020 matchups, said he couldn’t forgive himself if he passed up the opportunity to beat Trump. He initially thought he could beat Trump in 2016, but Obama reportedly pushed back because, in part, he thought former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be more effective in continuing his legacy, according to the Times report.
Speculation has swirled over the decision by Obama to so far refrain from endorsing Biden formally. Still, despite Obama’s early hesitation, he has taken a much more involved role in Biden’s campaign “than in that of other candidates,” according to The Times.
Biden Has Not Missed An Opportunity To Channel Obama
While President Obama may have thus far shied away from an all-out endorsement of his former Veep, Biden scarcely misses an opportunity to connect himself to his old boss.
Biden invoked Obama, America’s first black president, while defending himself against racism accusations on the campaign trail. “I was vetted by him and selected by him,” Biden said of Obama. “I will take his judgment of my record, my character, and my ability to handle the job over anyone else’s.”
But, back in January of 2007, the gaffe-prone Biden famously said that Obama was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Obama laughed the remark off, according to The Times.
Despite Obama’s widespread popularity among Democrats, at times, the former President, appeared to become somewhat of a liability for his friend Joe Biden.
During the second round of primary debates, Biden faced criticism over the number of deportations under the Obama administration. The Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislative achievement, also came under fire from candidates who said it had fallen short.
While Obama has stayed relatively quiet during the 2020 race, some of his former officials have cautioned against using the former administration to attack Biden during the primaries.