As the political landscape continues to shift amid the accumulating allegations being leveled against former Vice President Joe Biden, he has had plenty of high-profile supporters step up and offer support as character witnesses, with the exception of at least one Washington heavy-hitter who has yet to weigh in – former President Barack Obama.
And according to a report in The Hill, that doesn't seem likely that Biden's boss for eight years is going to make a public statement on the matter, at least for the moment. While people close to Obama are reportedly saying that he stands by Biden as the latest count reaches seven women who have publicly condemned the former vice president for touching them inappropriately and making them uncomfortable, the sources are still quick to tamp down any expectation that Obama might offer a public opinion.
"President Obama thinks the world of him and thinks he'd be an excellent president," The Hill reports a source close to Obama as saying. "He's spent an infinite amount of time talking about his character, and they remain in touch and good friends."
However, it appears that at least for now, that friendship won't extend to a public endorsement of Biden's character. Certainly, it's far too early in the race to expect the two-term president who has been such a lightning rod for both adoration and loathing to opine on any of the candidates. But The Hill's source seemed to indicate that Biden's current plight, and the close relationship the two men have had over the years, might prompt the former president to make an exception.
Biden is currently trying to navigate a path through the current controversy, which in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp is proving to be a challenge. A video he released on Wednesday in which he vowed to "be more mindful of personal space" was seen by some as a step in the right direction. Others, including some of Biden's accusers, according to a piece in The Washington Post, found his comments inadequate. They noted that the issue isn't actually about whether he has respect for personal space, but rather about "inappropriate behavior."
Joining the other high-profile political figures who have stepped up to the mic to offer Biden support in his hour of need was former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. On Thursday, she offered praise for the presumed presidential candidate, saying that Biden's response to the allegations is "what we should be looking for" in politicians who make mistakes, according to a story in Politico.
"We cannot have perfection as a litmus test," Abrams said. "The responsibility of leaders is to not be perfect but to be accountable, to say, 'I've made a mistake. I understand it and here's what I'm going to do to reform as I move forward.' And I think we see Joe Biden doing that."