Obama endorses Biden
WASHINGTON – Former United States President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee on Tuesday, breaking his silence to help his former vice president’s efforts to unite the party and energise its voters ahead of the November 3 election.
After staying on the sidelines as a record high number of Democratic candidates fought for the right to take on President Donald Trump, Obama gave his support to Biden in a video message.
“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,” Obama said in the video.
The endorsement by the first black U.S. president came after Biden’s last remaining rival in the Democratic nominating race, Senator Bernie Sanders, backed Biden on Monday.
The swell of support around Biden gives him a dose of energy and attention at a time when the American public is largely focused on the government response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed the presidential race out of the spotlight.
“Because he is so popular and the comparison between President Trump and Barack Obama is so stark, it will be such a unifying, motivating factor,” said Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia governor and longtime party official.
Obama had publicly remained neutral as Biden, who served him for eight years in the White House, stumbled in early 2020 Democratic nominating contests and then swept to victory in a series of primaries in March.
Three years after they departed the White House, Obama and his wife Michelle remain two of the most beloved figures in the Democratic Party. Trump won in 2016 vowing to reverse many of the two-term president’s policies.
Trump’s re-election campaign had painted Obama’s endorsement as overdue, suggesting the former president was reluctant to back his former No. 2. But Obama had vowed to stay out of the fractious Democratic race and was only free to endorse once Sanders bowed out last week.
“Obama has no other choice but to support him. Even Bernie Sanders beat him to it,” Brad Parscale, the Trump 2020 campaign manager, said in a statement. “Biden is a bad candidate who will embarrass himself and his party. President Trump will destroy him.” (Reuters)