Washington, Apr 14 (efe-epa).- Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday picked up the crucial endorsement of his former boss, Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s most popular and unifying figure.
The ex-head of state announced his support for the 77-year-old Biden in a video message from his home in the United States capital’s Kalorama neighborhood.
“Choosing Joe to be my Vice President was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend,” Obama said. “And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now. He’s someone whose own life has taught him how to persevere, how to bounce back when you’ve been knocked down.”
Recalling that Biden had endured the untimely death of his 46-year-old son Beau from brain cancer in 2015, Obama said that “through all his trials he’s never once forgotten the values or the moral fiber that his parents passed on to him and that made him who he is.”
“That’s what steels his faith – in God, in America and in all of us.”
During his message, Obama focused on the two issues that are front and center in the American people’s minds during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic: massive job losses due to the shutdown of large swaths of the US economy and questions surrounding the US’s preparations for and response to the pandemic.
Obama recalled that at the outset of his 2009-2017 administration the country was struggling to recover from a severe recession and that Biden, in his role as vice president, was an “incredible partner” in the effort to rescue the American auto industry.
“He was the one asking what every policy would do for the middle class and everyone striving to get into the middle class. That’s why I asked him to implement the Recovery Act (a stimulus package developed in response to the Great Recession), which saved millions of jobs and got people back on their feet. Because Joe gets stuff done,” the ex-president said.
“Joe helped me manage H1N1 (the 2009 swine flu pandemic) and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we’re seeing now. He helped me restore America’s standing and leadership in the world and the other threats of our time like nuclear proliferation and climate change.”
Obama also took a not-too-subtle jab at US President Donald Trump.
“Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery. And I know he’ll surround himself with good people: experts, scientists, military officials, who actually know how to run the government and care about doing a good job running the government and know how to work with our allies.”
Besides heaping praise on his former vice president, Obama also sought to reach out to supporters of Biden’s chief rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who won the popular vote in three early states and was the front-runner for the nomination until the Democratic Party’s centrist wing coalesced around the ex-vice president.
Sanders, who ended his candidacy last week, said during a surprise appearance Monday on a live-streamed Biden campaign event that all Americans should unite behind his former rival to defeat Trump, whom he described as the “most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”
Biden said Monday that Sanders’ endorsement “means a great deal,” and Obama also did his part to unite the party’s centrist and progressive wings in his message.
“Bernie’s an American original, a man who has devoted his life to giving voice to working people’s hopes, dreams and frustrations. He and I haven’t always agreed on everything, but we always shared a conviction that we have to make America a fairer, more just, more equitable society,” the ex-president said.
Trump last week questioned why Obama had not yet endorsed Biden, adding in remarks to reporters that the ex-president “feels that something is wrong.”
Biden, however, said months ago that he asked Obama not to endorse him because he wanted to win the nomination on his own merit. EFE-EPA