Obama formally endorses Biden, says former VP has ‘qualities we need right now’
Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden in a video on Tuesday, giving the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee a boost from the party’s biggest fundraiser and one of its most popular figures.
“I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now,” Obama said in a nearly 12- minute video, touting him as a “close friend” and lauding him for his perseverance and compassion.
Obama and Biden are close friends from their two terms in the White House, when Biden served as vice president. Biden leaned heavily on his affiliation with the former president throughout the Democratic primary, framing his pitch as an extension of Obama’s presidency. In recent weeks, he has told donors he’s been in touch with Obama about his vice-presidential pick.
The endorsement marks Obama’s return to presidential politics more than three years after leaving the White House. He rarely talks directly about his successor, President Donald Trump, and avoided intervening in the Democratic primary. The field at one point spanned nearly two dozen candidates and Obama offered private counsel to anyone who asked it, but made no efforts to bolster an individual campaign — including Biden’s.
But Obama has been following the Democratic race closely from the sidelines and is eager to take a more active public role in the campaign. He’s expected to headline fundraisers for Biden and public events in key swing states, if those events can still be held given social distancing guidelines during the pandemic. An Obama adviser said the former president is taking his cues from Biden’s campaign on how he can be most useful as he eases back into a more overtly political role.
The endorsement comes a day after Bernie Sanders also backed Biden. The former vice president now has the support of all of his former Democratic primary rivals except for Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts senator is expected to formally throw her support behind Biden soon, according to a person familiar with her plans.
Two other prominent Democrats who have yet to formally endorse Biden are former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 nominee. Hillary Clinton has been in regular touch with Biden, including several times since Sanders dropped out of the race, according to an aide.
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