Joe Biden’s relentless invocation of President Barack Obama on the campaign trail is irking some progressives, including those of color who resent the implication that he’s earned their vote simply for being his vice president.
Thanks in part to his name recognition and credibility with the party as Obama’s loyal No. 2, Biden is atop the polls in the crowded Democratic presidential primary field. He often refers to his “buddy” Obama and has glowingly claimed there was not a hint of “scandal” or a “lie” from 2009 to 2017.
Some liberals don’t care for it.
“He’s assuming that being associated with Barack Obama will bring him the Barack Obama coalition—a multiracial coalition,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, to the Associated Press. “It just simply doesn’t translate.”
The AP reported Biden’s association with Obama could pay dividends in the critical early primary state of South Carolina, where the black vote is key. However, state lawmaker Gilda Cobb-Hunter, who serves as president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, said he would have to do more to earn over the critical voting bloc.
“If that’s his whole game, he’s going to have to step his game up,” Cobb-Hunter said.
Former Obama White House adviser David Axelrod mocked Biden when he tweeted out a picture last week of the friendship bracelets he made years earlier with Obama.
“This is a joke, right?” Axelrod tweeted.
This is a joke, right?
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) June 9, 2019
Axelrod has been critical of Biden in recent weeks, such as his dramatic flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment, which Biden supported for decades before abruptly reversing last week as pressure grew from his left flank. Axelrod said it called into question whether Biden had the staying power to win the nomination in the largest primary field in history.
Even left-wing comedian Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist ribbing Biden for his constant name-dropping of Obama. He played some clips Wednesday night of Biden talking about the 44th president, including mentioning how his granddaughter was friends with Obama’s younger daughter Sasha.
“We get it. You know Barack Obama,” Colbert said. “We understand. We concede that. At this point, you should change your slogan to ‘Biden 2020: Obama 2012!'”
Biden faces two major sticking points with black voters: his handling of the Anita Hill hearings in 1991, when she accused Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, and his support for the 1994 crime bill signed by President Bill Clinton. Of the latter, he has denied the notion it caused “mass incarceration.”
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