Team Biden Sees the Specter of Obama Behind the Push To Force Him Out of the Race

If Obama is behind some of the maneuvering, he has so far kept it very quiet.

AP/Alex Brandon
President Biden speaks during a campaign event with President Obama moderated by Jimmy Kimmel, right, at the Peacock Theater, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. AP/Alex Brandon

President Biden and his remaining allies in the White House believe his former boss, President Obama, is behind much of the behind-the-scenes skullduggery aimed at forcing him to bow out of the presidential contest, according to reports surfacing Thursday.

Politico reports that actor George Clooney, who penned a scathing op-ed for the New York Times Wednesday calling on Mr. Biden to step aside, was in touch with the former president before the article was published. Mr. Obama is said to have avoided encouraging his old friend to express his opinions, but did not try to dissuade him either.

In the article, Mr. Clooney suggested that Mr. Biden should “save” democracy by withdrawing from the race and handing off the campaign to a new generation.

“We are not going to win in November with this president,” Mr. Clooney wrote, a statement that he says is the “opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.”

“The one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can,” Mr. Clooney, who hosted a fundraiser at Los Angeles for the president last month along with presidents Obama and Clinton. “It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe ‘big F-ing deal‘ Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

On Thursday morning’s episode of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, one of Mr. Biden’s preferred media outlets, the hosts said that many people on Team Biden see the long arm of the former president behind the machinations against their candidate in Congress and elsewhere.

“The Biden campaign and many Democratic officials do believe that Barack Obama is quietly working behind the scenes to orchestrate this,” host Joe Scarborough told his viewers. The efforts, he speculated, will only lead to what he said would be Mr. Biden “digging in” even further and refusing to heed any outside advice.

“The pathway to Joe Biden graciously stepping side does not go through the Obamas or the Clintons,” Mr. Scarborough said.

If Mr. Obama is behind some of the maneuvering, he has so far kept it very quiet. The day after the last month’s disastrous debate with President Trump, Mr. Obama was still publicly supportive of Mr. Biden. He has said nothing publicly since about his former vice president.

“Bad debate nights happen. Trust me, I know. But this election is still a choice between someone who has fought for ordinary folks his entire life and someone who only cares about himself,” Mr. Obama posted on social media. “Between someone who tells the truth; who knows right from wrong and will give it to the American people straight — and someone who lies through his teeth for his own benefit. Last night didn’t change that, and it’s why so much is at stake in November.”


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