Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden on Tuesday, making the case in a video message posted to social media that his former vice president is the leader this moment of crisis demands.
“Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery,” Obama said in the announcement.
“The other side has a massive war chest, the other side has a propaganda network with little regard for the truth,” he continued. “On the other hand, pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise and spin to remind us of what is real and what is important. This crisis has reminded us that governments matter.”
The endorsement comes a day after Sen. Bernie Sanders officially backed Biden, urging his supporters to unite in defeating President Donald Trump in November’s general election. “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—to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe—and I’m speaking just for myself now—who is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country,” Sanders said in a surprise live-streamed joint announcement with Biden.
In his message Tuesday, Obama praised Sanders as an “American original, a man who has devoted his life to giving voice to working people’s hopes, dreams, and frustration.”
Up until now, Obama had remained neutral throughout the 2020 Democratic primary, even as his former vice president’s campaign struggled in the first three state contests. But in recent weeks, Obama’s behind-the-scenes involvement reportedly grew as Biden emerged as the clear frontrunner. From the New York Times:
Mr. Obama—telling a friend he needed to “accelerate the endgame”—had at least four long conversations with his former vice president’s remaining rival, Senator Bernie Sanders. Mr. Obama’s efforts to ease the senator out of the race played a significant role in his decision to end his bid and, on Monday, endorse Mr. Biden, according to people close to the Vermont independent.
By that time, Mr. Biden and Mr. Obama had already begun hashing out the thorny questions of how, when and where to deploy a former president thrust into an unfamiliar role as his sidekick’s sidekick.