Barack Obama emerged from political hibernation Tuesday and endorsed Joe Biden for president, giving the presumptive Democratic nominee his most high-profile boost yet as he seeks to unify the party.
Having stayed on the partisan sidelines since leaving office in 2017, Obama came out guns blazing in a video posted to Twitter in which he praised Biden as a go-getter “guided by knowledge and experience, honesty and humility, empathy and grace.”
“Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery,” Obama said, adding that tapping Biden as his vice president was “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
The 44th president praised Biden’s role in his administration’s fight against the Ebola and swine flu epidemics, saying his experience in that arena will prove crucial as the U.S. continues to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
In a nod to Bernie Sanders — who endorsed Biden on Monday — Obama said his former vice president has adopted the “most progressive platform of any major party nominee in history.”
“Because even before the pandemic turned the world upside down, it was already clear that we need vast structural change,” Obama said.
Obama, who remains wildly popular among Democrats and independents, didn’t mention President Donald Trump by name in the 12-minute video.
Instead, he opted to take thinly veiled jabs at his successor.
“Our country’s future hangs on this election,” Obama said. “Right now, we need Americans of goodwill to unite in a great awakening against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption, carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance and just plain meanness.”
Obama also appeared to take shots at Fox News, Trump’s favorite cable news network, and the president’s well-heeled reelection campaign.
“The other side has a massive war chest. The other side has a propaganda network with little regard for the truth,” the ex-president said. “Now’s the time to fight for what we believe in.”
Obama’s backing is Biden’s most important card in the endorsement game, as the primary season drags on toward November’s general election.
“Barack — This endorsement means the world to Jill and me,” Biden tweeted after Obama’s announcement. “We’re going to build on the progress we made together, and there’s no one I’d rather have standing by my side.”
Obama refrained from openly backing Biden for months to avoid accusations that he was putting his thumb on the scale for his former right-hand man.
But now that even Sanders has thrown his weight behind Biden, Obama said he’s ready to jump back into the political fray.
“I will see you on the campaign trail — as soon as I can,” Obama signed off his video.
(Article written by Chris Sommerfeldt and Dave Goldiner)