A central feature of former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign is his penchant for reminding everyone that he served as wingman to the first black president, Barack Obama. Yet, for all of the professed admiration and camaraderie, Obama has noticeably declined to support Biden’s candidacy.
A new book documenting the “partnership” in the White House between Obama and Biden offers up a possible reason for that lack of an endorsement, namely, Obama’s desire to see his legacy of political change carried on by someone other than an aging, white, career politician.
Protecting his legacy
The Daily Mail reported on several interesting anecdotes regarding the “bromance” between Obama and Biden that didn’t really blossom until Obama had emerged victorious over both Biden and then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary, at which time Biden was asked to serve as Obama’s running mate for the general election.
Those tidbits come from a book called “Barack and Joe: The Making of an Extraordinary Partnership” by Steven Levingston, nonfiction editor at The Washington Post and author of other books about presidencies, including that of John F. Kennedy.
Levingston wrote that Obama chose to back Clinton over Biden in 2016 due to his concerns over what a Republican victory would mean for his legacy and his belief that Clinton would defeat whomever happened to run against her.
“Joe, despite his many virtues, was just another white guy, one in a long line of American presidents — hardly the symbol of the Teutonic [sic] change that Obama hoped would mark his place in the history books,” Levingston wrote.
“Barack had placed his bet on Hillary, the one he believed would confirm his revolutionary stamp on American’s political culture — the first black president passing the baton to the first woman president,” he added.
Obama apparently remains convinced that Biden is incapable of continuing the political sea change he believes his presidency embodied, and this reportedly has also played a role in his decision to refrain from endorsing Biden in the 2020 election cycle.
Instead, Obama has publicly called for “new blood” in the leadership of the Democratic Party and is known to have met with and advised several other Democratic candidates in the current primary season.
That, on top of not receiving an endorsement from his supposedly close friend, has been a stinging blow for Biden, who has had his eye on the Oval Office since the 1980s.
Somewhat humorous in all of this is Biden’s implausible claim that he never actually sought an endorsement from Obama and intended to win the nomination on his own merits, something which seems to stand in conflict with his stories of their close friendship and ongoing mutual support.
Given that the race is still in its relatively early stages, it remains to be seen which Democrat candidate Obama will ultimately endorse this time around, or if Biden will even still be in the running once it comes time for the former president to weigh in on the matter.