Obama Reportedly Cautioned Biden on 2020 Run: ‘You Don’t Have to Do This, Joe’
“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Obama told Biden earlier this year, according to a source at the Times.
The two had spoken at least half a dozen times before Biden ultimately decided to run. “Obama took pains to cast his doubts about the campaign in personal terms,” according to the Times article.
In 2016, Obama quietly pressured Biden to sit out the race, partly because he thought Hillary Clinton had a better chance of building on his agenda and partly because he did not think Biden was emotionally equipped to handle the race just after the 2015 death of his son Beau Biden.
Biden believed he could have beat President Donald Trump four years ago, and told Obama he could never forgive himself if he turned down another shot at Trump.
While initially leery of Biden’s run, Obama’s loyalties have driven him to take an active role in Biden’s campaign. The former president requested a briefing from the campaign in March before Biden jumped into the ring.
Last month, Obama and Biden had a lunch in which Obama emphasized Biden’s need to bring younger faces into his campaign.
“He has communicated his frustration that Mr. Biden’s closest advisers are too old and out of touch with the current political climate — urging him to include more younger aides,” the Times learned from three Democrats with knowledge of the discussions.
In Obama’s March meeting with Biden’s campaign advisors, he said: “Win or lose, they needed to make sure Mr. Biden did not ’embarrass himself’ or ‘damage his legacy’ during the campaign,” inside sources said.
Biden in 2008 had told Obama that his 2008 presidential run would be his last. He had told Obama aides “Barack would never have to worry” about him playing politics to set up another presidential run.
[Photo by Mandel Ngan/Getty Images]
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