Obama Says Biden “Doesn’t Have It” For 2020
One of the more curious parts of this recent presidential race has been despite spending large chunks of time as the Democratic font-runner, Joe Biden has yet to receive one endorsement most assumed was a guarantee – Barack Obama’s. Even as Obama speaks out publicly to warn the current field against going “too far-left,” Biden is the relative moderate he could throw his support behind.
A new POLITICO article titled “Waiting for Obama” documents the aid that Obama is giving to any Democrat candidates looking for advice. Every declared candidate except Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard has met with him so far.
And when it comes to supporting Biden, the article makes it clear that that was already ruled out in 2016:
Obama had already passed over Biden for Hillary Clinton in 2016. With Biden out of the race in 2020, the psychodrama of their relationship and the intrigue about Obama’s assessment of Biden could have been avoided. Obama’s commitment to non-interference would have seemed less fraught. Biden, Obama told people close to him before Biden even entered the race, would have to “earn” it. There would be no endorsement. (Biden has said he never asked for one.) Besides, he liked to say, fighting it out in a tough primary is what made Obama a strong candidate for the general election.
And of the meetings that Obama did have with candidates, he didn’t have much hope for Biden’s prospects.
Sometimes he offers candid advice about his visitors’ strengths and weaknesses. With several lesser-known candidates, according to people who have talked to him or been briefed on his meetings, he was blunt about the challenges of breaking out of a large field….Occasionally, he can be cutting. With one candidate, he pointed out that during his own 2008 campaign, he had an intimate bond with the electorate, especially in Iowa, that he no longer has. Then he added, “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
Obama has yet to put his support behind of the Democrat candidates, and given the field of candidates he has to pick from, it isn’t hard to see why.