On the campaign trail, former Vice President Joe Biden often touts his unique privilege of having served as number two in command under President Barack Obama. But, the 44th president has remained awfully quiet during Biden's primary campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Biden has maintained this is because he asked Obama to stay on the sideline. Biden claimed he wanted to earn the nomination for himself. This excuse always seemed pretty odd, especially when an early endorsement could unite the party behind Biden instead of continuing the bloodbath of Democrats devouring themselves before the general election. Now, a new report out from the New York Times indicates that Obama may have never wanted Biden to run. In fact, if the rumors are true, he tried talking his "best friend" out of the race.
Glenn Thrush has a report regarding the strange and somewhat political-turned-genuine friendship between Obama and Biden. More recently in their story, in 2015, Obama supposedly thought that Hillary Clinton had a better chance of winning the general and continuing his agenda than Biden. That coupled with the fact that Biden's son Beau had just passed away, was reason enough to talk his friend out of running. But now, according to Thrush, Obama's only concern is that his former vice president doesn't make a fool out of himself:
via New York Times:
By now, the line between heart and head, between the personal and political, so clear a decade ago, has blurred completely.
The two men spoke at least a half dozen times before Mr. Biden decided to run, and Mr. Obama took pains to cast his doubts about the campaign in personal terms.
“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Biden earlier this year, according to a person familiar with the exchange.
Mr. Biden — who thinks he could have defeated Donald Trump four years ago — responded by telling Mr. Obama he could never forgive himself if he turned down a second shot at Mr. Trump.
So, how is Obama going to help out his pal? Apparently, by playing a very behind the scenes campaign advisor:
In March, Mr. Obama took the unusual step of summoning Mr. Biden’s top campaign advisers, including the former White House communications director Anita Dunn and Mr. Biden’s longtime spokeswoman, Kate Bedingfield, to his Washington office for a briefing on the campaign’s digital and communications strategy with members of his own staff, including his senior adviser, Eric Schultz.
When they were done, Mr. Obama offered a pointed reminder, according to two people with knowledge of his comments:
Win or lose, they needed to make sure Mr. Biden did not “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy” during the campaign.
Maybe Obama's protection of Biden simply boils down to his own egotism. If Biden is exposed as a clown, then what does that make Obama? Instead of a proverbial "kingmaker" would he become the leader of the circus? Whatever the case, and whatever Obama is doing behind the scenes, his silence in the public is perhaps more deafening than any of that noise.