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Obama Endorses Biden for President

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Obama White House Archives
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Saying Joe Biden "has all the qualities we need in a president right now,” former president Barack Obama has joined his former vice president’s presidential campaign. 

Obama released a 12-minute video on Tuesday endorsing Biden, in a move aides say shows how the former president is eager to take a more active public role in the campaign. That gives Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, a boost from the party’s biggest fundraiser and one of its most popular figures.

“Joe was there as we rebuilt from the Great Recession and rescued the American auto industry,” said Obama. “He was the one asking what every policy would do for the middle class, and everyone striving to get into the middle class.”

Obama and Biden are known to be close friends from their two terms in the White House, and Biden leaned heavily on his affiliation with Obama throughout the Democratic primary.

While not mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Obama said Biden was the “best leader for ‘darkest times.”

“Right now, we need Americans of good will to unite in a great awakening against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption; carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance, and just plain meanness,” said the former president.

The Republicans occupying the White House and running the U.S. Senate, said Obama, are not interested in progress -- they’re interested in power.

“They’ve shown themselves willing to kick millions off their health insurance, and eliminate pre-existing condition protections for millions more,” Obama said. “Even in this middle of this public health crisis. They’ve given polluters unlimited power to poison our air and our water; and denied the science of climate change, just as they denied the science of pandemics.”

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“Obama made a very tactical decision, that he would not endorse or speak out on anyone’s behalf until the Democratic Party chose a candidate,” said Charles Zelden, a political scientist at Nova Southeastern University.

“This [endorsement] was going to happen; the question is how energetic is [Obama] going to be on behalf of Biden,” Zelden said. “I think he’s going to be very energetic for the same reason most Democrats are going to turn out to vote – he doesn’t like Trump.”

But there’s more to the Democrats’ to-do list in November than the White House. There’s flipping the U.S. Senate, along with myriad grassroots races. Zelden says Obama likely will also have an impact on those.

“If you get Obama coming to a state and it gets the Democratic voters enthused, and gets them to show up and vote or put in for their absentee ballot, fill it out and mail it in, that’s not only going to help Biden, that’s going to help everyone down-ballot in the party as well,” said Zelden.

Biden emerged from more than two dozen Democratic candidates to be the presumptive nominee. Trump targeted him through tweets and campaign rallies with nicknames – “Sleepy Joe” among others. Zelden contends Biden – after Bernie Sanders’ departure and subsequent endorsement – could be making the president a bit nervous.

“Nervous because Biden is likeable, and he’s hard to attack,” Zelden said. “What else do they have against Biden? Calling him ‘sleepy’ and ‘quiet?’ Well, right now that’s kind of what people want from a president. Because Trump is exhausting – and that’s from the people who like him, let alone the people who dislike him.”

Biden has already said he would name a woman as his running mate. Zelden says there are a number of choices, depending on what Biden s looking for. Zelden’s guess is that it could be Minnesota Sen. and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.

“She gives sort of the same niche or role that [Biden] did for Obama,” said Zelden. “One that I’m quite intrigued by is [former Georgia State Rep.] Stacy Abrams. And Abrams not only helps insure a very large turnout among African-Americans, but probably could bring the two senate seats in Georgia into play.”

Along those lines, says Nova Southeastern’s Charles Zelden, is that Joe Biden has to know that winning the presidency without winning the now-Republican controlled senate, it would make for a very long term of office.