Since the start of this election cycle, former Vice President Joe Biden has banked on his involvement in the Obama administration as a means of convincing voters he should be president this time around. In fact, Biden has continually said he is tight with Obama, that the two are close friends. But now it's looking as though that's not the case.
According to POLITICO, Biden had his eyes set on the White House in 2016 but Obama secretly wanted Hillary Clinton to be his successor. It was Clinton's political style in particular that Obama gravitated towards. In a lot of ways, Biden was from another era of politics, one where politicians came to the table and negotiated.
“Biden doesn’t come from the wonky angle of leadership,” a senior Obama administration official explained. “It’s different than the last two Democratic presidents. Biden is from a different style. It’s an older style, of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson of ‘Let’s meet, let’s negotiate, let’s talk, let’s have a deal.’”
But, according to others, Obama's style was condescending. It was Biden who they wanted to negotiate with because he understands there are somethings that both side couldn't agree on.
“Negotiating with President Obama was all about the fact that he felt that he knew the world better than you,” Eric Cantor, the Republican House Majority Leader from 2011 to 2014, told POLITICO. “And he felt that he thought about it so much, that he figured it all out, and no matter what conclusion you had come to with the same set of facts, his way was right.”
The fact that Obama worked behind closed doors to push a Clinton presidency shouldn't come as a shock. He openly mocked Biden during press conferences.
"You know, I don't remember exactly what Joe was referring to, not surprisingly," Obama said, laughing, during a 2009 press conference.
And former administration officials explained how Obama dismissed Biden for being a nuisance.
“Obama would have a series of exchanges heading a conversation very clearly and crisply in Direction A. Then, at some point, Biden would jump in with, ‘Can I ask something, Mr. President?'” former FBI Director James Comey wrote in his book. Obama would politely agree, but something in his expression suggested he knew full well that for the next five or 10 minutes we would all be heading in Direction Z. After listening and patiently waiting, President Obama would then bring the conversation back on course."
It's Biden's undying loyalty to Obama, however, that came back to bite the former vice president in the butt.
“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,” Leon Panetta, Obama’s Secretary of Defense, explained. “To some extent, [he] oftentimes felt that that loyalty was not being rewarded.”
It was obvious to all of us that Obama wasn't keen on a Biden administration. It took him a long time to endorse his vice president. He hasn't exactly been enthusiastic about Biden's run, at least not the way he was for Hillary. Obama isn't making the rounds advocating for Biden. He endorsed him... but it was clearly done begrudgingly.
The sad part? Biden thinks the two are best friends.