“I asked President Obama not to endorse and he doesn’t want to,” Biden told reporters at a Wilmington, Del., train station that is named for him. “Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”
Through his spokeswoman, Obama offered praise for Biden, but stopped short of a formal endorsement.
“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said. “He relied on the vice president’s knowledge, insight and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”
According to CNN, Obama is “excited” by the growing Democratic field — which now numbers 20 — but is unlikely to endorse a candidate this early in the primary season. And per Bloomberg, Obama “believes that his experience battling for the 2008 nomination made him a better candidate and president.”
In 2016, Obama waited until voting in the primaries had ended before endorsing the presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Biden, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988 and 2008, considered running in 2016 but for personal reasons — the death of his son Beau — did not enter the race. He has said he regrets that decision.
His bid comes after months of speculation surrounding his plans, and claims by seven women that he touched them without their consent. Biden declined to apologize, and even joked about the allegations, but promised to do a better job of recognizing people’s “personal space.”
The 76-year-old enters the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field as the early favorite.
According to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll, Biden (30 percent) holds a 6-point advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. (24 percent), among likely Democratic primary voters.
In Delaware, Biden was asked why he is the best choice for Democrats.
“That’s for Democratic voters to decide,” Biden said.
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