Former President Barack Obama has formally endorsed Joe Biden on Tuesday, throwing his support behind his former running mate after staying on the sidelines throughout the contested primary race for the Democratic nomination.
“I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States,” Obama said in a nearly 12-minute video announcement posted on his Twitter account. “Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now.”
For all of us who love this country and are willing to do our part to make sure it lives up to its highest ideals – now’s the time to fight for what we believe in. Join us at https://t.co/Kboaxi3MVL. And I’ll see you on the campaign trail as soon as I can.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 14, 2020
He added that he will hit the campaign trail for Biden “as soon as I can.”
Obama praised Biden for his efforts during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, helping “to prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we’re seeing now.”
“Joe helped me manage H1N1 and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we’re seeing now,” Obama said. “Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery. And I know he’ll surround himself with good people – experts, scientists, military officials who actually know how to run the government and care about doing a good job running the government, and know how to work with our allies, and who will always put the American people’s interests above their own.”
Without calling out President Trump by name, Obama cast his successor as a leader who interested in “power” in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The Republicans occupying the White House and running the U.S. Senate are not interested in progress. They’re interested in power,” he stated. “So our country’s future hangs on this election. And it won’t be easy. The other side has a massive war chest. The other side has a propaganda network with little regard for the truth. On the other hand, pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise and spin to remind us of what is real, and what is important.”
Obama’s endorsement comes a day after Biden’s final opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) threw his support behind the former Vice President.
The former president spoke directly to Sanders supporters, praising the progressive movement he helped galvanized and outlined why they should now embrace Biden in the general election.
“Bernie’s an American original — a man who has devoted his life to giving voice to working people’s hopes, dreams, and frustrations. He and I haven’t always agreed on everything, but we’ve always shared a conviction that we have to make America a fairer, more just, more equitable society,” Obama said. “We both know that nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. And the ideas he’s championed; the energy and enthusiasm he inspired, especially in young people, will be critical in moving America in a direction of progress and hope.”
Biden thanked Obama in a tweet shortly after, saying his support “means the world” to him and his wife, Jill, and that “there’s no one I’d rather have standing by my side.”
The former vice president repeatedly said he specifically asked his longtime ally not to endorse him, telling reporters shortly after launching his campaign last April that he wanted to “earn this on my own merits.” Once Biden was seen as the presumptive nominee, he has been consulting with Obama about the process for picking his running mate.
The endorsement from Obama has been long expected and inevitable despite the former president declining to back any of the 24 Democratic hopefuls during the competitive primary. It was reported that Obama would privately met or offer advice secretly to nearly half of the candidates running.
“We have a field of very accomplished, very serious and passionate and smart people who have a history of public service,” Obama said at a private fundraiser event in late 2019. “Whoever emerges from the primary process, I will work my tail off to make sure they are the next president.”
In 2016, Obama waited until Hillary Clinton had officially won the nomination to endorse his former Secretary of State.
President Trump’s re-election campaign manager Brad Parscale issued a statement when news broke of the endorsement, saying Obama threw his support behind Biden because he had “no choice” but to endorse the “only candidate left in the Democrat field.”
“Barack Obama spent much of the last five years urging Joe Biden not to run for president out of fear that he would embarrass himself. Now that Biden is the only candidate left in the Democrat field, Obama has no other choice but to support him,” Parscale said. “Even Bernie Sanders beat him to it. Obama was right in the first place: Biden is a bad candidate who will embarrass himself and his party. President Trump will destroy him.”
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