As Biden Continues to Take Fire, He Shields With Obama
The more incoming fire Joe Biden takes, the more he’s trying to use the Obama legacy as his deflector shield.
From the very start, the former Vice President has built his campaign brand around the work of the administration he helped lead. But it’s a theme he’s hitting even harder, as his Democratic presidential primary rivals call him out for his past stances on civil rights issues and his recent spate of less-than-tactful comments.
“Barack was a president our kids not only could but did, look up to,” Biden touted on Friday, namedropping his former running mate during a Chicago speech before Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
This was after Biden repeatedly invoked former President Barack Obama during last Thursday’s debate when discussing issues including healthcare, immigration and climate change — taking a stand against those pushing “Medicare-for-all” by insisting that ObamaCare is the best building block for healthcare reform.
“The fact of the matter is that the quickest, fastest way to do it is to build on ObamaCare, to build on what we did,” Biden said at the debate, while at another point boasting about Obama’s climate change record, calling him “the first man to bring together the entire world, 196 nations, to commit to deal with climate change.”
Biden mentioned Obama at least five times during the debate.
Biden and Obama “Bromance”
Last month, Biden’s Twitter account even shared an image of “Joe” and “Barack” friendship bracelets, a throwback to when he first posted the picture in honor of Obama’s 55th birthday in 2016.
“Happy #BestFriendsDay to my friend, @BarackObama,” the tweet said.
Yet despite the seeming bromance between Biden and Obama, it’s been “radio silence” from Obama himself. The only word was a reported statement from spokesperson Katie Hill, which said, “President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made.”
This, however, fell short of an endorsement. According to Biden, that was at his own request.
“I asked President Obama not to endorse,” Biden said back in April.
The still popular 44th president is surely mindful not to put his thumb on the scale in the heated and historically crowded 2020 presidential primary battle.
But President Trump is eager to suggest Obama is holding back with Biden. “Then he goes and lies and says, ‘I asked the president not to endorse me.’ Give me a break,” Trump told The Hill in a June interview.
In fact, even some former members of the Obama administration have raised questions about Biden’s candidacy. Obama’s former top strategist David Axelrod raised concerns about Biden after Thursday’s debate that saw a heated exchange between Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., over the former Vice President’s comments about working with segregationist senators and his past opposition to federally mandated busing to integrate schools.
Axelrod described Biden as “confused” and suggested he looked like “part of the past rather than the future.”