Biden was asked on Monday whether he would want Obama's endorsement as the race narrowed to just a few Democratic candidates. “No, because everyone knows I’m close with him,” Biden said, according to Politico. “I don’t need an Obama endorsement.”
His comments came amid ongoing speculation that the former president didn't have confidence in his former right-hand man.
“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Obama told Biden early in 2019, according to The New York Times. The Times reported that Obama "took pains to cast his doubts about the campaign in personal terms."
And according to a Politico Magazine story from November, Obama told another candidate that Biden didn't have an intimate bond with the electorate like he did in 2008.
“He may have said that. And if it’s true, and he said it, there’s truth to it," Biden reportedly said when asked about the comment.
Biden, who has led President Trump in several polls on 2020 matchups, said he couldn't forgive himself if he passed up the opportunity to beat Trump. He initially thought he could beat Trump in 2016, but Obama reportedly pushed back because, in part, he reportedly thought former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be more effective in continuing his legacy.
Despite Obama's widespread popularity among Democrats, the former president appeared to become somewhat of a liability for Biden during the race.
During the second round of primary debates, Biden faced criticism over the number of deportations under the Obama administration. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature legislative achievement, also came under fire from candidates who said it had fallen short.
While Obama has stayed relatively quiet during the 2020 race, some of his former officials have cautioned against using the former administration to attack Biden during the primaries.