Barack Obama and Joe Biden appeared to have the ideal friendship while they worked together in the White House, consistently supporting each other in public. But behind the scenes in recent years, things were apparently not as rosy. Politico reports that Obama warned others about his former vice president’s “ability to f*ck things up” and suggested that Biden didn’t understand the modern Democratic party.
Multiple Obama-era aides recall that the former president expressing support for Hillary Clinton instead of Biden in 2016, leading to tensions between staffers from each camp.
In the 2020 race, while Obama has supported Biden’s run for the Oval office, many have noted that it took him some time to publicly express his endorsement. Now, as Politico reveals, Obama may continue to have concerns that Biden isn’t the right fit for the office or as a leader for the party.
“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*ck things up,” Obama reportedly said.
He also reportedly said that while he himself was having a hard time understanding voters in places like Iowa, Biden was even more out of touch.
“And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden,” a source claimed Obama said.
Obama’s endorsement of the former vice president appeared to lack the enthusiasm that he showed for Clinton when she made a bid for the White House, sources added.
“I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” the former president said in 2016 of Clinton.
Meanwhile, his message in 2020 appeared to be less ardent.
“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,” Obama said.
When Biden expressed a desire to run in 2016, insiders say that Obama focused instead on Clinton because he believed that his former VP was still emotionally reeling from the loss of his son Beau in 2015.
But some within his inner circle say that Obama actually began supporting Clinton well before Beau died because he saw her as the likely party nominee and that he reportedly connected more with Clinton’s method of leadership, which echoed his own cerebral style.
The rift opened up tensions between the teams behind the two leaders.
Allegedly, Obama’s camp would roll their eyes when the gaffe-prone Biden would speak “like an elderly uncle at Thanksgiving” when he launched into stories that people had already heard before.
Biden, meanwhile, felt that his loyalty to Obama wasn’t fully rewarded when he announced his candidacy and worked through the primaries to secure the nomination. Now, his team is also said to revel in the idea of proving his former boss’s team wrong.