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Joe Biden has received what is likely his most important endorsement in the presidential race: that of former President Barack Obama.
Obama endorsed his former vice president in a video posted this morning. "If there's one thing we've learned as a country from moments of great crisis, it's that the spirit of looking out for one another can't be restricted to our homes, or our workplaces, or our neighborhoods, or our houses of worship," he said in the video. "It also has to be reflected in our national government."
Addressing a crisis like the current pandemic requires "the kind of leadership that's guided by knowledge and experience, honesty and humility, empathy and grace," Obama continued. "That kind of leadership doesn't just belong in our state capitols and mayors' offices. It belongs in the White House. That's why I'm so proud to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States."
He didn't mention Donald Trump by name but offered a clear critique of him and Republicans in Congress. "One thing everybody has learned by now is that the Republicans occupying the White House and running the U.S. Senate are not interested in progress," Obama said. "They're interested in power."
They have "disregarded American principles of rule of law and voting rights and transparency," aided by "a propaganda network with little regard for the truth," the former president added, obviously a reference to the Fox News Channel. They have denied the science of climate change as well as the science of pandemic, he said, also denouncing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, rollback of environmental protections, willingness to kick people off their health insurance, and more.
Obama highlighted the accomplishments of his own administration and Biden's role in them, such as implementing economic recovery measures, passing the Affordable Care Act, and containing previous health threats such as H1N1 and the Ebola virus. Choosing Biden to be his vice president was one of the best decisions he ever made, he said, and they became close friends. But he said the world of 2020 demands a different platform than the one they ran on in 2008.
He called for building on the ACA with the addition of a public option to assure that health care "isn't just a right but a reality for everybody"; rejoining the Paris climate accord, which Trump has pulled out of; and economic measures to assure that all Americans have the opportunity to prosper. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted economic inequalities in the nation, but they were already there. To address them, Biden has "the most progressive platform of any major party nominee in history," Obama said.
He further praised Biden's character and his empathy, noting that the former veep's life experience has helped him relate to others. Biden knows what it's like when a father comes home and has to tell his family he's lost his job, as Biden's father had to do that, Obama said, adding that he knows what it's like to have a child serving in the military as well. He also noted that as a young U.S. senator from Delaware, Biden took the train home from Washington, D.C., every night to put his sons to bed (Biden's first wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident). And Jill Biden, to whom Joe has been married for many years, has informed her husband's ideology with her experience as a teacher, Obama said.
Obama praised the entire field of 2020 Democratic presidential aspirants, saying each of them were "talented and decent, with a track record of accomplishments, smart ideas, and serious visions for the future." He gave special mention for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has now withdrawn from the race, making Biden the presumptive nominee, and endorsed Biden. "Bernie's an American original -- a man who has devoted his life to giving voice to working people's hopes, dreams, and frustrations. He and I haven't always agreed on everything, but we've always shared a conviction that we have to make America a fairer, more just, more equitable society." Indeed, not all Democrats, he added, agree on how to make these changes, "but they do agree that they're needed."
The current health crisis "has reminded us that government matters," Obama said. "It's reminded us that good government matters, that facts and science matter, that the rule of law matters, and having leaders who are informed and honest and seek to bring people together rather than drive them apart -- those kind of leaders matter. In other words, elections matter."
He ended by calling for all Americans to come together "like never before" to make sure the nation "lives up to its highest ideals." He added, "I will see you on the campaign trail as soon as I can."