“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up.”
That less than enthusiastic assessment of the presumed Democrat presidential nominee, Joe Biden, was made by former President Barack Obama according to a Democrat who was quoted in Friday’s Politico. In fact that is but one of many examples cited that revealed Obama’s disdain, bordering on contempt, for Biden’s candidacy starting with the downer of a title, “‘The President Was Not Encouraging’: What Obama Really Thought About Biden.”
Throughout the article you can see Joe Biden acting like the Rodney Dangerfield of politics because he “don’t get no respect” from Obama whose opinion of him is obviously much less than optimal.
…behind all the BFF bonhomie is a much more complicated story—one fueled by the misgivings the 44th president had about the would-be 46th, the deep hurt still felt among Biden’s allies over how Obama embraced Hillary Clinton as his successor, and a powerful sense of pride that is driving Biden to prove that the former president and many of his aides underestimated the very real strengths of his partner.
“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,” recalled Leon Panetta, Obama’s secretary of Defense. “To some extent, [he] oftentimes felt that that loyalty was not being rewarded.”
…Young White House aides frequently mocked Biden’s gaffes and lack of discipline in comparison to the almost clerical Obama. They would chortle at how Biden, like an elderly uncle at Thanksgiving, would launch into extended monologues that everyone had heard before.
Former administration officials treated Biden dismissively in their memoirs.
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, who was known for his mind-meld with the president, wrote in his memoir that “in the Situation Room, Biden could be something of an unguided missile.”
As you read more and more of the very long article, it is apparent that Obama just barely tolerated Biden’s eccentric antics:
Biden’s tendency to blurt out whatever was on his mind rankled Obama, who wasn’t afraid to needle him for it. In his first press conference in 2009, the young president quipped “I don’t remember exactly what Joe was referring to—not surprisingly,” when asked about Biden’s assessment that there was a 30 percent chance they could get the economic stimulus package wrong.
…anonymously sourced quotes from Obama kept appearing through the race. One Democrat who spoke to Obama recalled the former president warning, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up.” Speaking of his own waning understanding of today’s Democratic electorate, especially in Iowa, Obama told one 2020 candidate: “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
The best Obama could seem to muster for Biden is that he will be surrounded by competent handlers:
But even in victory, Biden and his aides often act like they have something to prove to the Obama team that doubted them. Some Biden allies noted that Obama’s endorsement of Biden, when it finally arrived, lacked the effusiveness of his endorsement of Clinton. “I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” he said of Clinton in his video message in 2016. Four years later, in his endorsement video for Biden, he said: “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.”