Former President Barack Obama endorsed Democratic candidate Joe Biden for the upcoming presidential election in a video message released on Tuesday. Obama and his former vice president, Biden, spent eight years in The White House and were known to be more than leaders and colleagues; they were also friends.
Until now Obama has been silent regarding who he endorsed, as a large pool of Democratic candidates slowly suspended their campaigns after primary voters made their voices heard.
In his nearly 12-minute long video endorsement, Obama said, “…I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States. Choosing Joe to be my Vice President was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a President right now.”
Obama said that Biden makes a better candidate because of the competition from the other candidates.
“Now Joe will be a better candidate for having run the gauntlet of primaries and caucuses alongside one of the most impressive Democratic fields ever. Each of our candidates were talented and decent, with a track record of accomplishment, smart ideas, and serious visions for the future.” He even gives a special shout-out to Bernie Sanders, who he calls “an American original.”
Obama referenced the need for competent leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and said Biden would be the person to do that.
“Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery,” Obama said. “And I know he’ll surround himself with good people – experts, scientists, military officials who actually know how to run the government and care about doing a good job running the government, and know how to work with our allies, and who will always put the American people’s interests above their own.”
You can watch Obama’s endorsement video here:
Biden did consistently well in several primaries, winning South Carolina, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois. Last night Biden won 63 percent of the primary vote in Wisconsin, according to NPR, which may have been moot since the other Democratic hopefuls had already dropped out of the race. Many endorsed Biden over Sanders, who was the last to suspend his campaign. Sanders officially endorsed Biden on Monday.
Biden Tweeted to Thank Obama & Said He Would Build on the Progress They Made Together
The Obama administration and many of the policies they worked on were met with opposition from Republican leaders. According to the Miller Center, a nonpartisan think-tank associated with the University of Virginia, Obama’s “most notable achievement are the Affordable Care Act, the Paris climate change agreement, and Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, however, all of those were overturned or under attack” in 2017 when Republicans took control of the presidency and Congress.
Biden said in a video on his campaign page that he will protect and build on “Obamacare,” or the Affordable Care Act. He said starting over makes no sense to him, as it was such a huge effort to get it passed. In another campaign video, he said if he is elected, “on day one” he will “immediately rejoin the Paris climate accord.” President Trump announced he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement in June 2017.
Biden also said he would work to reinstate the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA, within the first 100 days of his presidency. DACA was enacted in 2012 to protect what the administration called “Dreamers,” which were undocumented immigrant children who were brought to the U.S by their parents. To qualify for the legal protection offered by the policy the “Dreamers” had to be law-abiding, in school, or they could join the military.
Once Political Rivals, Biden & Obama Became Allies & Friends During Their Time in Office
Though much has been written on Obama’s reluctance to endorse Biden earlier in his campaign, the man who wrote the literal book on the men’s friendship said the relationship was genuine. Steven Levingston is the author of Barack and Joe: The Making of an Extraordinary Partnership. He wrote an article for the Washington Post about what he learned from his research.
Levingston wrote, “I’ve concluded that Barack and Joe adored each other, and probably still do, but it is also true that their own aspirations and their political hopes for America have not always aligned. Their friendship, in other words, was real. But like a lot of friendships, it was complicated.”
The two men met while both in the Senate in 2005, but they had little in common, according to Levingston. In 2008 they were both presidential hopefuls, competing for the Democratic nomination. Through that process, they both managed to impress each other and Obama tapped Biden to be his running mate.
In 2017 Obama awarded Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction, calling Biden his brother. Obama said, “Behind the scenes, Joe’s candid honest counsel has made me a better president and a better commander in chief,” according to Time.
That same year Biden told NBC about the close relationship between not only he and Obama but also between their family members. “I don’t like him. I love him,” Biden said. “It’s a mutual thing. We’ve had each other’s backs and I’ll be there for him anything he ever wants.”