It looks like the bromance between former President Barack Obama and his one-time veep has officially hit the skids.
Speaking at the 2023 Democracy Forum earlier this month, Obama barely mentioned President Biden, and, according to some reports, “tensions” between the two progressive camps “were evident.”
“The takeaway of the weekend was not, ‘Hey team, we’re [sic] got to get the band back together to help Biden out,'” one attendee told The Washington Post. “If this is a supposedly existential threat and democracy is so challenged, then why aren’t you being more overt about it.”
Obama held a reunion with thousands of his former staffers in Chicago this month to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his 2008 election victory. According to Fox News Digital, “the Obama Foundation’s forum was pegged to the event to explore ‘issues critical to strengthening democracy.'”
But it’s the 2024 election that is on most people’s minds, with many in the Democratic Party wondering if Biden’s advancing age and dismal polling numbers spell defeat.
In his speech, Obama did little to unite his party around the scandal-ridden incumbent.
“At the Chicago forum, multiple attendees also noted the pointed absence of any meaningful cheerleading for Biden, who had served eight years as Obama’s vice president,” WaPo reports. “Obama barely mentioned Biden in the speech he delivered that Friday night, and in an interview with the Pod Save America podcast the same day, Obama eschewed several opportunities to promote his former running mate’s campaign.”
Indeed, Obama mentioned Biden only twice during his speech: Once to say that he is “encouraged that the Biden administration and other governments are beginning to recognize” the threats posed by AI, and once to praise Biden’s signing of the Inflation Reduction Act.
On the podcast, Biden’s name never came up as he discussed threats to America’s democracy.
The Obama camp blamed the lack of support for the president on the Obama Foundation’s status as a nonprofit, with a spokesperson explaining to The Post that it is against the law for the foundation to engage in partisan political activity.
The Biden campaign held a standing-room-only, off-site presentation to Democrats in Chicago that same weekend, the spokesperson pointed out, where his 2024 path to victory was detailed.
“While the polls are making some party members panic,” Fox News Digital reported, “Democrats did score several key election victories earlier this month, winning the Kentucky governor’s race and the hotly contested Virginia legislature, as well a major abortion initiative in Ohio.”
And Obama did throw Biden a nicely-worded bone on X.
“For eight years, @POTUS and I worked to deliver change for the American people,” Obama wrote. “I couldn’t have asked for a better Vice President and friend — and we’ll always be thankful to all the campaign staff and Administration alumni who helped bring that progress to folks across the country.”
Along with the acknowledgment, Obama posted a video of Biden kicking off the democracy forum with gushing praise for his former boss.
For eight years, @POTUS and I worked to deliver change for the American people. I couldn’t have asked for a better Vice President and friend — and we’ll always be thankful to all the campaign staff and Administration alumni who helped bring that progress to folks across the… pic.twitter.com/MmLLTV8EB8
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 5, 2023
“Yes we can,” Obama wrote. “Yes we did.”
But, as polls indicate, the president is trailing behind former President Donald Trump, and one of Biden’s few challengers for the Democratic Party nomination isn’t convinced.
“The Democratic brand isn’t the problem,” Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) said in an interview, according to The Post. “It’s becoming clear that President Biden is the problem.”