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The Widening Rift Between Obama and Biden

Has the former president finally decided Joe has to go?

by | Jul 6, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

Barack Obama has publicly supported Joe Biden’s bid for re-election, though it has required a bit more from the president’s mentor and former boss than the 2020 campaign. From leading Mr. Biden off stage at fundraising parties to posting “bad debate nights happen” on social media, the former president stood by his old VP through thick and thin. But could it be that Mr. Obama has finally had enough? Has he quietly decided that Joe has to go?

Tucker Carlson posted a tantalizing tidbit of potential contention on X: “From an unusually good source: Obama’s tweet supporting Joe Biden was disingenuous. In private, Obama is telling people Biden can’t win, and he is therefore in favor of an open convention.”

That’s how a good, contested convention rumor takes hold and rattles the big money and insiders alike.

Relationship Status: Rocky

President Biden appears to be wallowing in hubris and dismissing his former boss’ late advice on how to run an effective re-election campaign. Obama’s second term was brought to the American people by a surgical strike in nearly every part of the nation. Joe hasn’t even bothered to get state campaign offices open and running in the swing states. Those closest to the West Wing have hinted that Biden isn’t inclined to travel back in time and treat 2024 like 2012. Some may advise he should get on the campaign trail – an arduous and exhausting process in which even the most hale and hearty candidate takes a licking.

So why is Biden keeping the unequaled star of the Democratic Party at arm’s length? Barack and Michelle can answer the question.

Notwithstanding an administration occasionally at odds with itself, the rift goes back to 2015 and is personal. Biden was gearing up to run for president. Obama decided not to support him and instead gave his political star-power over to Hillary Clinton. It was an optics maneuver that would cement the Democrats’ standing as progressive. Biden himself told reporters: “A lot of people … were encouraging me to run in this period, except the president …. He just thought that [Clinton] had a better shot of winning the presidency than I did.”

Okay, that’s disloyal politics. But the personal grudge is coming around again. Michelle was incredibly close to Kathleen Buhle – Hunter Biden’s ex-wife. After a nasty and quite messy divorce from Hunter in 2017, the whole Biden clan laid the blame on Buhle.

Barack’s other half has not really campaigned in earnest for Joe. Under pressure in 2020, she reposted campaign announcements, made a speech at the convention, and spent countless hours and energy on the non-profit organization When We All Vote. This year: nada.

Michelle may not have to campaign for Joe Biden if Barack is truly pulling the plug. The current president is under pressure, with deadlines for viability fast approaching.

Obama Under Pressure

Just after the debate disaster, The New York Times and Siena College posted a poll that showed Trump pulling ahead with a six-point lead – 49% to 43% – over Biden with “likely” voters. Among all registered voters in the poll, Trump led by nine points. A Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted July 1-2 found that one-in-three Democrats believed Biden should drop out of the race.

It’s time for someone to make a decision, and with all due respect to the Democratic Party, if Mr. Obama wants a different candidate, he will likely get a different candidate. Tucker Carlson’s source must have been a valid operative for him to have posted the warning of doom on social media and continued dribbling out clues to the mystery, “Obama will not say whom he supports, nor as of yesterday afternoon had he met personally with Biden to deliver the message,” he added.

Dr. Biden has kept the president hunkered down and cloistered away from prying eyes in the late afternoon. Jill has always pushed for her husband to ascend to the presidency, and she appears not ready to concede on his behalf. Her sister-in-law, Val, reportedly considered him too impaired to run even in 2020.

Some say Obama will not have another painful conversation with his old running mate, asking him to step aside again for the good of the order. Instead, it’s more apparent he is working the back channels on this so he doesn’t look like an agist bully. Let someone else take the fall for what needs to be done.

The president admitted to his part in the rumor mill: “I know I’m not a young man. I don’t walk as easily as I used to. I don’t talk as smoothly as I used to.” Joe Biden is right as rain on that end of the spectrum.

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