Can exes be friends? With delegates at stake in the split, apparently not.
Despite Joe Biden’s formidable performance in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, Barack Obama is standing firm in his refusal to endorse his former VP, according to a source close to him. The former president reportedly sees his abstention as a political imperative.
“He feels that he’s singularly positioned to help unify the party at the end of this,” the source told CNN. “So he’s prepared to play a vigorous role in coalescing the party around the nominee and working to defeat Trump, but weighing in now likely only divides things worse and weakens his standing for when the party will need it most.”
In October, Biden told 60 Minutes that he doesn’t even want Obama’s endorsement. Also, he hasn’t been waiting for Barack to call and totally wouldn’t even pick up if he did, and doesn’t even think about him that much anymore, and is actually seeing someone new and it’s going really well, so.
“Everyone knows I’m close with him,” Biden said. “I don’t need an Obama endorsement.”
That’s pretty bold for a candidate riding a “No Malarkey” bus and the coattails of the Obama administration. On the trail, Biden constantly calls upon 44’s legacy, emphasizing his role in successes in immigration, healthcare and racial equality, and presenting himself as a continuation of the Obama presidency.
Some moderate Democrats enticed by that proposition—pushing for a return to Obama-era normalcy in contrast with the structural revolution demanded by Bernie Sanders’ supporters, who don’t think Obama went far enough—are calling on him to endorse Biden ahead of Super Tuesday as a play to stop Sanders’ primary momentum.
The former President is evidently unmoved by such an argument; according to the source close to him, he has “always been a believer in the nomination process … voters themselves must pick our nominee.”
Here’s hoping that actually happens—in the event of a brokered convention, it might not.