Former President Barack Obama reportedly wasn’t particularly sold on the idea of Joe Biden, his vice president for eight years, mounting his own bid for the White House in 2020.
“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Obama told Biden before the 76-year-old formally launched his campaign in April, according to the New York Times.
“Mr. Biden — who thinks he could have defeated Donald Trump four years ago — responded by telling Mr. Obama he could never forgive himself if he turned down a second shot at Mr. Trump,” the Times reports.
The Times states Obama huddled with top Biden aides in March to implore they insure that the former vice president does not “damage his legacy” or “embarrass himself.”
The newspaper further reports Obama and Biden met over lunch last, where the former president urged the White House hopeful to recruit fresher faces to 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 said.
Biden famously failed to lock down Obama’s endorsement upon entering the race, though his former boss did issues a statement saying choosing the then-senator as his running mate in 2008 was “one of the best decisions he ever made” and still remain close friends.
Biden, the 2020 Democrat frontrunner among a crowded primary field, has seen his poll numbers after bruising clashes with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) in the first presidential debate over his past remarks about bussing. Notably, former first lady Michelle Obama refused to defend Biden as the former vice president found himself in hot water for his position on busing and his recent praise of segregationists. A series of gaffes by the former vice president has also hurt his standing among voters, reportedly prompting his advisers to discuss possibly scaling back his public appearances to prevent more embarrassing moments.
Biden appearance at the Iowa State Fair, a must-visit for presidential candidates, was chalked full of flubs and missteps. In one of his addresses, Biden bizarrely told attendees that “we choose truth over facts.”
“Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts,” the 2020 frontrunner concluded, leaving the crowd confused.
Earlier that Thursday, while addressing the Asian and Latino Coalition in Des Moines, Iowa, Biden mixed up for the second time the name of the former British Prime Minister Theresa May with Margaret Thatcher – who left office in 1990.
“You had people like Margaret Tha… excuse me,” he added, before catching his verbal slip-up. “You had people like the former chairman and the leader of the party in Germany. You had Angela Merkel stand up and say how terrible it was. International leaders looked at us like, ‘what in God’s name is happening to the United States of America?’”
Biden made a similar error at a campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina, in May.
However, the former vice president’s most cringe-worthy gaffe later in his Asian and Latino Coalition speech, when he claimed that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
“We should challenge these students, we should challenge students in these schools to have advanced placement programs in these schools,” the former vice president said of his plans to reform the United States’ education system. “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor you cannot do it, poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
He then quickly attempted to clarify his comments, adding “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids” to his last comment.
Earlier this month, Biden mistakenly referred to Houston and Michigan as the sites of two recent mass shootings that occurred in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
The flub came days after making at least seven gaffes at the second Democrat presidential primary debate in Detriot, Michigan. Biden’s most embarrassing screw up came when misdelivered the contact information for his campaign’s text message service, asking viewers to visit “Joe 3-0-3-3-0.”