Former President Barack Obama may be publicly supporting Joe Biden’s run for the White House, but behind the scenes he is reportedly singing a very different tune.
Though Biden constantly tries to push the narrative that he and Obama are best friends, there are actually “lingering tensions” between the two, according to a lengthy Politico magazine story.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 9, 2019
These tensions were showcased to the world back in 2016, when Obama eagerly endorsed Hillary Clinton’s campaign. They were made obvious again in 2020, when Obama spent months refusing to endorse Biden in this election. One Democrat strategist who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Obama has privately dismissed Biden’s chances of winning the election.
“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up,” the strategist claimed Obama said.
Last year, Obama allegedly told a 2020 candidate that Biden severely lacked the ability to connect with the Democratic electorate, especially in the crucial state of Iowa.
“And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden,” Obama said.
Biden aides have even taken notice of the difference between Obama’s endorsement of him versus his endorsement of Hillary Clinton. They see this as evidence that Obama does not have faith in Biden’s ability to be victorious on the campaign trail.
Biden and his aides often act like they have something to prove to the Obama team that doubted them. Some Biden allies noted that Obama’s endorsement of Biden, when it finally arrived, lacked the effusiveness of his endorsement of Clinton. “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” he said of Clinton in his video message in 2016. Four years later, in his endorsement video for Biden, he said: “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.”
Leon Panetta, who was Obama’s defense secretary, claimed that Biden has often felt as if his loyalty toward Obama was not repaid in-kind.
“He was loyal, I think, to Obama in every way in terms of defending and standing by him, even probably when he disagreed with what Obama was doing,” Panetta said. “To some extent, [Biden] oftentimes felt that that loyalty was not being rewarded.”
Despite their tumultuous relationship, Biden is set to headline the Democratic National Convention next week to officially nominate Biden as the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nominee.