Campaign Claims Joe Biden Asked Obama Not to Endorse Him

Vice President Joe Biden hugs President Barack Obama after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction during a tribute in the State Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 12, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Official White House Photo / Pete Souza

Appearing Thursday on MSNBC, former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield claimed Biden asked former President Barack Obama not to endorse him in the Democratic primary.

Earlier Thursday, Obama offered praise after Biden launched his 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. “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.”

A partial transcript is as follows: 

HALLIE JACKSON: Do you think it hurts that he’s not going to endorse here?

KATE BEDINGFIELD: No, so you know the vice president actually asked the president not to endorse. He wanted to make the case. He is running in this race because he believes we need to restore the soul of this nation, we need to rebuild the backbone of America, and that we need to unify and come together. And voters know Joe Biden. I think they know that he’s a man of character, he’s a man of empathy. As Democrats are looking for a change, and frankly as voters across the country are looking for a change from what we currently have in the White House, there’s no bigger change than Joe Biden.

JACKSON: Explain why Joe Biden would have asked President Obama not to endorse. It seems counter-intuitive.

BEDINGFIELD: He wants to make his own case. He’s going to make his own case. He is running on an incredibly strong message of, again, wanting to restore the soul of the nation, wanting to rebuild the middle class, so that as we rebuild the middle class, everybody gets to come along, so it’s inclusive. And wanting to reunify America. He really wants to make his case.

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