CNN Commentator Keith Boykin: Biden Borders on ‘Disrespectful’ With Constant, Informal ‘Barack’ References


On CNN’s OutFront, political commentator Keith Boykin took issue with 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden’s frequent invocation of “Barack and I” in his campaign rhetoric, saying the former vice president’s informal, first-name references to President Barack Obama “borders on being disrespectful.”

In a discussion of Biden’s post-debate campaign re-orientation with host Erin Burnett, a CNN panel discussed how the current 2020 frontrunner has begun to even more heavily emphasize his eight years as Obama’s running mate. Burnett, at one point, showed a supercut of recent Biden campaign appearances where said “Barack and I” numerous times.

“Perhaps it is Joe Biden’s informality referring to President Obama as ‘Barack’ which might hurt him a little bit more,” Burnett speculated. “Someone you’re that personally close with — the lack of an endorsement almost seems to sting worse than someone you would have a formal relationship with.”

Boykin weighed in to suggest this incessant informality on Biden’s part, while clearly aimed at wooing Democrats who still harbor sky-high opinions of Obama, runs the risk of backfiring, by both continually rooting his campaign in the past and failing to give due deference to the nation’s first and only black president.

“I do think that Joe Biden should refer to former President Obama as ‘President Obama,’ not as ‘Barack.’ It borders on being disrespectful. Despite their close relationship I don’t think it’s appropriate for him to continue doing that,” Boykin said. “In 2008 we had a candidate who ran for president and lost, served in the Obama Administration, then ran for president later on and became the Democratic nominee. Now we’re in the 2020 cycle. We have another candidate who ran for president in 2008 and lost who served in the Obama Administration and now wants to run for president. It didn’t work the last time. It’s not going to work this time unless you have some other message to offer.”

Ironically, 12 years ago, it was Biden who delivered a pithy, devastating takedown of a stumbling, backward-looking, one-note campaign when he skewered GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani with this infamous one-liner: “There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.


Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: