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Obama once warned not to 'underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up' in the presidential campaign: Report

A political article reports tensions in the Obama-Biden relationship and that Biden may not be able to completely rely on Obama's support
Barack Obama, Joe Biden (Getty Images)
Barack Obama, Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden has made a big deal of his friendship and working relationship with former President Barack Obama during their time together in the White House. However, a recent Politico article suggests that their relationship was not as close as it seemed and that Obama is skeptical of Biden's current presidential campaign.

“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up,” is what Obama reportedly told one unnamed Democrat in regards to Biden's run for President in the 2020 election. Obama has also talked about the close relationship he once had with the electorate that he's lost now. He reportedly told one of the younger candidates, "And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden." The quotes are seen as indicative of a relationship between Biden and Obama that wasn't as mutually supportive as Biden would like his voters to believe.

The Politico article in question examines the relationship between Biden, Obama and Hillary Clinton in the road leading up to the current election. It includes quotes from several White House staff and aides who were a part of the Obama administration. It paints a picture of an Obama who didn't necessarily always agree with Biden's methods. It quotes former FBI Director James Comey, who speaks of moments when Biden would interrupt a meeting with a question of his own. "Obama would politely agree, but something in his expression suggested he knew full well that for the next five or 10 minutes we would all be heading in Direction Z," wrote Comey, in one of his books. "After listening and patiently waiting, President Obama would then bring the conversation back on course."

Obama's support of Clinton has been said to be much more enthusiastic. Biden's aides have said that Obama hasn't been nearly as supportive of Biden as he was of  Clinton when she ran in the 2016 presidential race. The article compares Obama's message endorsing Clinton to his support of Biden. "I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office," said Obama of Clinton in a video message in 2016. His endorsement for Biden in April, by comparison, was a lot more lukewarm. "I believe Joe has all of the qualities we need in a president right now … and I know he will surround himself with good people." 

Biden has since been attempting to stand more on his own merits than to depend on prestige and popularity that comes with the endorsement of Obama. One of Biden's top political advisors and a former Obama administration aide, Anita Dunn, is quoted as saying that Biden "did feel that he needed to go out and earn it himself, as opposed to having people see it as an extension of a third Obama term or having it be any kind of referendum directly on Obama."

Biden himself has reportedly told his aides that Obama hadn't "lifted a finger" to help him. Whatever Biden's platforms will be going forward, it looks like depending too much on Obama's support will be shaky ground for Biden to be treading.