Former Vice President Joe Biden is reportedly upset about former President Barack Obama’s willingness to talk to other plausible Democratic contenders while Biden is still deciding whether to throw his hat into the ring, Vanity Fair reported on Wednesday.
A source familiar with Obama’s thinking said he is not meeting with others as a means of diminishing Biden, but because he does not want to repeat what he considers a mistake from 2016, when the Democratic establishment embraced Hillary Clinton as the party’s nominee early in the process.
Biden might find this approach ironic, as he was one of the prospective candidates pressured not to run against Clinton.
Now, however, Biden is not being given the same deference, even though a CNN poll earlier this month showed the former vice president with twice as much support among Democrats, at 30 percent, as the second place finisher in the survey, Bernie Sanders, who has only 14 percent backing.
“If the institutional players had limited their time and advice to a couple of handpicked candidates in 2006 and 2007, Obama wouldn’t have had an opportunity to move forward,” Democratic strategist John Del Cecato told Vanity Fair.
He stressed that Obama believe a tough road of contested primaries results in a sharper candidate for a general election.
Another top Democratic strategist said Biden is better off with Obama talking to other presidential hopefuls.
“If I were Biden, I wouldn’t want to be in a situation where Obama is saying, ‘Look, you’ve got to be for my VP.’ Democrats don’t like to be told who to vote for,” the consultant said. “Many people lined up behind Sanders in 2016 because they didn’t want to be told to support Hillary.”