Former President Barack Obama apparently may not be quite as enthusiastic about the Joe Biden campaign as he appears in public.
A Democratic source told Politico that Obama said privately of his friend and former vice president: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.”
Back when Biden was struggling in his party’s primary race, Obama was fondly recalling the own rapport he had established with voters in Iowa and reportedly said of his former running mate, “You know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
Biden also said in his 2017 memoir that “the president was not encouraging” about the prospect of him running in 2016, deciding instead to back Hillary Clinton for the nomination because she could break the glass ceiling for women the way Obama himself did as the first African American elected to the Oval Office, according to Politico.
It isn’t so much that Obama didn’t like Biden — by all accounts, they had a warm relationship and are personally friendly, according to the New York Post. In fact, Obama admired and used Biden’s apparent ability to develop relationships and cross the aisle in implementing his stimulus package during the Great Recession, but their leadership styles were always were very different.
According to Politico, Obama was always prepared and did his research ahead of time before meeting on or speaking on a given issue, whereas Biden was more off-the-cuff and conversational when it came to policy discussions and public appearances.
Even as vice president, Biden was prone to gaffes and mental misfires, and recent campaign events suggest that the problem has only worsened in recent years.
All of this has reportedly worried Obama, who finally endorsed Biden in April, as NPR noted, but has not publicly campaigned for him as much or as heartily as he did for Clinton in 2016.
According to USA Today, both the former president and his wife Michelle are scheduled to speak on behalf of Biden at this week’s Democratic National Convention, regardless of their personal level of excitement about his campaign.
Party leaders can’t be resting easy these days as they wait for a clearly diminished Biden to take the stage. They also can’t be too pleased that their candidate had to settle for a running mate whose own candidacy flopped during the primaries and who was never very popular with the American electorate.
Perhaps the Obamas are starting to wonder whether Michelle should have gone for the nomination herself when she had the chance, even if they really didn’t want to face life in the political spotlight any longer.
But for now, it seems that the party leadership may believe that Democratic voters are nothing more than sheeple who will support any half-lucid candidate put before them. Or perhaps they suspect that no candidate stands a chance at defeating Donald Trump, so they might as well get Biden’s last hurrah out of the way.