Former President Barack Obama on Thursday offered praise for his former Vice President Joe Biden following the launch of his 2020 presidential campaign — but noticeably stopped short of endorsing him as a candidate.
“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Obama said in a statement released through his spokeswoman Katie Hill. “He relied on the Vice president’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaign and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”
Biden formally joined the crowded Democrat presidential contest on Thursday, declaring the soul of the nation at stake if President Donald Trump wins re-election.
In a video posted on Twitter, Biden focused on the 2017 deadly clash between white supremacists and far-left counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He repeated the hoax claim that President Trump praised the former group as “very fine people.”
The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy…everything that has made America — America –is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. #Joe2020 https://t.co/jzaQbyTEz3
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 25, 2019
“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said. “If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation — who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”
The 76-year-old Biden becomes an instant front-runner alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who is leading many polls and has proved to be a successful fundraiser.
Despite his status within crowded Democrat field, the former vice president already faces several challenges, including fundraising and flaring tensions within his campaign.
The New York Times reported this week that Biden will enter the race with zero campaign dollars and will need to raise at least $100,000 per day until Christmas if he wants to match the amount of cash that Sanders (I-VT) banked by April 1st. Team Biden is said to be concerned that the 76-year-old may not be able to raise the type of money Sanders and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) did in the first days of their campaigns — roughly $6 million each.
According to the TIME magazine, some close to Biden are worried that his 2020 preparations had thus far largely been a failure. “I’ve never seen anything so half-assed,” one former Biden aide said last week. “They’re improvising and doing last-minute planning. The guy has been running for President since 1987 and can’t figure the basics out, like where to stand on his first day? This should make everyone very nervous.”
The AP contributed to this report.