Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday he had asked former President Barack Obama “not” to endorse him as he formally entered the 2020 race for the White House.
“I asked President Obama not to endorse,” he told reporters in Delaware. “And he doesn’t want to—whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”
Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for Joe Biden, had said earlier the former vice president had asked Obama “not” to endorse him in his 2020 bid, so he could make the case for change himself.
Biden officially entered the fray on Thursday, posing his candidacy as a battle with President Donald Trump for America’s soul. An Obama spokesman released an expression of support for Biden, as the two are close friends, but it was widely viewed as unlikely he would endorse, given the early stages of the primary and the crowded field.
“The vice president actually asked the president not to endorse,” she said on MSNBC. “He wanted to make the case. He is running in this race because he believes we need to restore the soul of this nation. We need to rebuild the backbone of America and that we need to unify and come together. Voters know Joe Biden.”
MSNBC host Hallie Jackson asked her to explain why Biden would ask that, saying that seemed counterintuitive.
“He wants to make his own case,” she reiterated.
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