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Former Vice President Joe Biden is not pleased that former President Barack Obama is meeting with other potential candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, according to Vanity Fair.
Biden hasn’t publicly decided whether he will run for president in 2020, and Obama has met with expected 2020 contenders such as Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), and failed Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.
Bill Russo, a Biden spokesman, completely denied that there was any truth to the report that Biden was unhappy with Obama.
“This is unequivocally false. Period,” Russo told Vanity Fair, refusing to elaborate on what Biden thought about Obama’s meetings.
Some political analysts believe Obama is working to steer the Democratic Party away from a repeat of 2016, when the party fully embraced Hillary Clinton and there wasn’t a robust competition for the nomination.
One consultant told Vanity Fair that Biden shouldn’t want Obama to endorse him too fully and too early, because “Democrats don’t like to be told who to vote for.”
“Many people lined up behind Sanders in 2016 because they didn’t want to be told to support Hillary, the consultant said. “Biden doesn’t want to fall into that trap, to have Obama embrace him too exclusively, too early.”
There is some question to whether Obama’s popularity among Democratic voters is able to lift candidates. Obama campaigned for Gillum and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, both candidates viewed as potential stars, yet both of them lost their elections.
“Obama himself has always been popular with Democrats, but I’ve never seen his popularity be transferrable to someone else,” said a strategist Vanity Fair described as working for a likely 2020 contender.