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Former President Barack Obama expressed misgivings this year about his former vice president’s run for the White House, according to a published report.
The New York Times, citing sources it did not name, said that in March, two of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden’s top staff members were summoned to a meeting with Obama and some of his staff.
In addition to discussing strategy, Obama himself had a sobering message for Biden’s aides concerning his fears for the campaign, should Biden run.
Obama told them that regardless of the outcome of the race, the aides needed to be sure Biden did not “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy.”
The Times also reported that Obama at one point in early 2019 indicated Biden should not feel forced to run for president.
“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Obama said.
Although Obama has avoided any public comments on the Democratic race, The Times report said that privately, Obama has voiced concerns about Biden and his campaign leadership team.
Obama’s concern was that Biden’s advisers are “too old and out of touch with the current political climate,” according to The Times.
Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana said the Obama connection is complex.
“It’s an incredible turn of events, when you think about it,” he said. “The question then was, ‘Do you happen to fit the moment?’ The question now is, ‘After all these years, can you turn yourself into an independent source of power, as opposed to being just a loyal and faithful wingman?’ Only time will tell.”
Biden’s relationship with Obama has been an issue in a Democratic presidential campaign that has focused on moving far to the left of the Obama administration’s policies.
“You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign. You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not,” Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey said during one of the Democratic debates, according to The Times.
One commentator said Biden will only go as far as the Obama connection will take him.
“I think that Biden has been the candidate in the lead by default up to this point,” commentator Buck Sexton said Friday on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“He has been essentially riding on the fumes of the Obama presidency. He doesn’t have Obama’s coattails anymore though to hold onto,” he said.
The Western Journal has reached out to the Obama Foundation for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.