President Barack Obama nudged Joe Biden not to run for the White House in 2016, believing Hillary Clinton had a better shot and that his grieving vice president wasn’t in the right state of mind, the New York Times reported.
According to the Times’ chief White House correspondent Peter Baker, Obama tried to find a way in the summer of 2015 to keep Biden out of the contest, “but did not want to push.”“Eventually, the president arranged for his own strategist to deliver a daunting assessment of the odds against a race,” Baker reported. “Mr. Biden got the message. ‘The president was not encouraging.’”
Despite the pair forging a close friendship, there were also “limits of their alliance,” Baker wrote.
“By the time that Mr. Biden began weighing a campaign, the president had long since concluded that Hillary Clinton had the best chance of winning in 2016,” Baker wrote. “Beyond that, Mr. Biden was awash in grief over the death of his son, hardly the state of mind for a grueling presidential marathon.
But, Baker wrote, the president “sought to give his vice president room to come to the decision himself.”
Denis McDonough, the former White House chief of staff, told the Times Obama wouldn’t have picked Biden for VP unless he though he was prepared for the highest office.
“But the president has also said there are a lot of good candidates in the race, and he thinks it’s important for the party to make this choice about moving forward,” McDonough told the Times. “A full primary contest is good for the party.”
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