Joe Biden claims Barack Obama discouraged him from running for US President
Biden clears throat during electoral college victory speech
As the counts in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections come to an end, it appears likely that the Republicans will lose control of the upper house. Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock has been declared the winner of one of Tuesday’s races by major US news outlets, with his fellow Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff also in the lead, at time of writing, for the state’s second seat. Theirs will be a historic election. Mr Ossoff is a Jewish senator in a state where, over the course of the 20th century, a Jewish man was wrongfully accused of murder and killed.
On the other hand, Mr Warnock would be the first Black American to win in a former Confederate state without the advantage of incumbency.
Controlling the Senate by such a narrow margin will not be enough to push through sweeping change — particularly since some Democrats in the Senate, like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, have already come out as opposing some more radical reforms, such as abolishing the filibuster and packing the Supreme Court.
However, it will mean that Mr Biden’s appointees are not held up in the Senate and that some steps to address the nation’s healthcare and climate change crises can be pushed through.
As Democrats have already started celebrating their victory, a claim made by the President-elect has resurfaced.
In his memoirs, published in 2017, Mr Biden said that former US President Barack Obama repeatedly discouraged him from running for US President in 2016.
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He said that Mr Obama’s pollster effectively told him he had “no real path to the nomination” and that running for the White House would “rock the boat”.
Eventually, Mr Biden declined to enter the race because of his son Beau’s death from cancer, clearing the way for Ms Clinton to clinch the Democratic nomination.
The revelations, made in the book ‘Promise Me, Dad’, marked one of the first time cracks appeared in the so-called “bromance” between the pair, who led the US for eight years.
Mr Biden wrote: “In January 2015, the President was convinced I could not beat Hillary, and he worried that a long primary fight would split the party and leave the Democratic nominee vulnerable in the general election.”
He described a private lunch where Mr Obama called the presidency “the most confining thing in the world” and said he was looking forward to leaving politics, adding: “Joe, have you focused on that?”
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At another lunch between the pair, Mr Biden snapped at Mr Obama’s probing, saying: “Look, Mr President, I understand if you’ve made an explicit commitment to Hillary and to Bill Clinton.”
Mr Biden also summarised advice given by Mr Obama’s own “trusted” pollster.
He wrote: “The message I took from that meeting was that Hillary’s poll numbers, her money, and her campaign organisation were just too formidable.
“I had no real path to the nomination, so why rock the boat and complicate things for the party?”
Mr Biden said he “never took issue” with Mr Obama’s stance, but made clear he believed he would have stood a better chance than Mrs Clinton of defeating Mr Trump.
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Despite the claims, both Mr Obama and the former First Lady, Michelle, supported Mr Biden in his 2020 presidential bid.
Calls are actually growing for the President-elect to pick Mr Obama as his attorney general.
Legal scholar, author, and former US ambassador Douglas Kmiec wrote in an op-ed for The Hill that Mr Obama’s appointment would be unprecedented and would show the country that he’s governing in “the national interest”.
Mr Kmiec, a Republican who endorsed Mr Obama in 2008, also discussed the potential of challenges from his party to the ratification of Mr Biden’s election victory.
He wrote: “Instead of continuing to borrow Barack Obama’s trade line, he needs Obama himself.
“The fastest way to re-establish the rule of law is for Biden to nominate Obama as attorney general.”
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