Joe Biden is reaching out for heavyweight endorsements, including from former President Barack Obama who doesn’t seem interested in lending his support.
An endorsement from Obama can go a long way such was the case with Beto O’Rourke who nearly beat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during his 2018 midterm bid.
The apparent jab comes despite Biden’s touting of the pair’s friendship in past months, likely in hopes of gaining the support of his base. If the former president’s inner circle has made any indications, it’s that he doesn’t plan on speaking in favor of his two-time running mate’s campaign.
According to a New York Times article in August, a source claimed Obama told Biden “you don’t have to do this Joe, you really don’t.”
Politico Magazine has a pretty extensive piece Tuesday headlined, “Waiting for Obama,” and it goes into great detail how former President Barack Obama has remained silent about the 2020 race (except for the news that Obama privately said he would “speak up to stop him” if Bernie Sanders were running away with the nomination).
The piece goes into detail about Team Biden wondering why Obama won’t say anything to help bail out his former vice president, especially about the Ukraine albatross around Biden’s neck.
Here are the highlights of the article:
One person who is very close to both Obama and Biden said the only time the Biden campaign has been disappointed in Obama is over Trump’s Ukraine scandal. “I don’t think anybody in the Biden world challenges Obama’s affection for Biden or challenges his strategy of not weighing in for anybody,” this person said. ”I do think there’s frustration when Joe Biden and Hunter Biden get attacked by Republicans on the Ukrainian thing and they say, ’Obama and his administration looked the other way back when this was happening,’ and Obama doesn’t say anything. The Biden people ask, ‘Why won’t Obama say something?’”
Even before announcing his 2020 campaign, reports had already surfaced about Obama’s hesitancy to encourage Biden to place a third bid for the White House. This includes concerns about how the public would perceive Biden entering the 2016 race shortly after the death of his eldest son Beau, who died from brain cancer.
He also reportedly admitted the Democrat presidential candidate does not have an intimate bond with voters. However, Obama could shift course as reports say he plans to speak out to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders from winning the Democrat nomination in 2020.
According to Politico, Obama won’t intervene for or against any candidate, but will step-in if Sanders runs away with the nomination. His advisers have said the former president sees his role as providing safeguards to make sure there’s unity in the Democrat Party.
Here is what Politico wrote:
Back when Sanders seemed like more of a threat than he does now, Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him. (Asked about that, a spokesperson for Obama pointed out that Obama recently said he would support and campaign for whoever the Democratic nominee is.)
Sanders lost the 2016 nomination to Hillary Clinton but has remained near the top of the front-runner’s since announcing his 2020 bid back in February.
As for Joe Biden, it remains to be seen how he will manage to hang on to his slim lead over his party rivals without a nudge from his self-described best friend Obama.