As he threw his hat into the ring for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday, former vice president Joe Biden was asked whether President Barack Obama, his former running mate, would endorse his candidacy.
“I asked President Obama not to endorse and he doesn’t want to,” Biden explained to reporters in Delaware. “Whoever wins this nomination should win this on their own merits.”
Nevertheless, Obama issued a glowing statement in the wake of Biden’s campaign launch.
“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” said Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill. “He relied on the vice president’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last ten years and remain close today.”
Of course, the former vice president has a much less cozy relationship with President Trump, whom he attacked by name in his announcement video.
“If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen,” Biden said. “The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America America’s at stake.”
Biden enters the race as the leader in most national polls, but he will have to contend with an increasingly emboldened progressive wing of the Democratic party that has been quick to brand him as too moderate. Earlier this month, he dismissed such concerns about the direction of the party and his appeal to Democratic voters.
“The fact of the matter is, the vast majority of the members of the Democratic party are still basically liberal to moderate Democrats in the traditional sense,” he said. “Show me the really left-, left-, left-wingers who beat a Republican. So the idea that the Democratic party has kind of stood on its head, I don’t get.”