Obama to formally endorse Biden Tuesday

Former President Barack Obama plans to endorse his former vice president, Joe Biden, in a video message set for release Tuesday.
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CREDIT: Mike Theiler/picture-alliance/dpa via AP, FILE

The announcement comes as Biden has continued to consolidate support within the Democratic party as the presumptive nominee. Sources familiar with former President Obama’s thinking had previously said he was unlikely to endorse during the Democratic primary, citing his belief that “ a robust primary in 2007 and 2008 not only made him a better general election candidate, but a better president, too.”

Biden also weighed in on the former president’s endorsement shortly after entering the 2020 race, saying he asked the former president not to throw his support behind him.

“I asked President Obama not to endorse me,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware the day he announced his candidacy. “Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”

Despite holding off on an endorsement, Obama did have some kind words for his former vice president after he announced his third run for the presidency.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said. “He relied on the vice president’s knowledge, insight and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”

The expected endorsement will be the second show of party unity in the last two days following Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ announcement yesterday that he is backing Biden’s bid.

“Today, I am asking all Americans, I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every Independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy — which I endorse,” Sanders said Monday on a joint livestream event on the nation’s economic response to the novel coronavirus.

Obama himself has spoken with several former 2020 candidates, including Sanders, in recent weeks about how to best position the Democratic Party to win in November, according to a source familiar with the conversations, and stressed that defeating Trump is “paramount.”

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