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Former President Barack Obama has publicly supported Joe Biden’s bid for the White House. But behind closed doors, Obama has reportedly bashed his vice president.
What are the details?
Despite Biden often touting a best-friend relationship between himself and Obama, there are “lingering tensions” between the 44th president and Biden, according to a lengthy Politico magazine story.
Those tensions were highlighted during the 2016 election when Obama eagerly endorsed Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and again in 2020 when Obama declined to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, Politico noted.
One Democratic strategist who anonymously spoke to Politico claimed Obama has privately dismissed Biden’s electoral prowess.
“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up,” the strategist claimed Obama told him.
Last year, Obama reportedly told a 2020 candidate that Biden severely lacked the ability to connect with the Democratic electorate, especially in Iowa.
“And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden,” Obama said, Politico reported.
Biden aides have even highlighted differences in Obama’s endorsement of Clinton to his endorsement of Biden as evidence Obama lacks 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.”
According to Leon Panetta, defense secretary during the Obama administration, 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 told Politico. “To some extent, [he] oftentimes felt that that loyalty was not being rewarded.”
What is happening now?
Despite the apparent rocky relationship between the former president and vice president, Obama will headline the Democratic National Convention next week to officially nominate Biden as the Democratic Party’s 2020 nominee.