In the wake of a less than successful showing during the Super Tuesday primaries, Sen Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, has drafted a new ally in his effort to salvage his presidential campaign from the Joe Biden juggernaut.
According to CNN, Bernie has released an ad that has former President Barack Obama praising the socialist senator. However, the ad leaves out some important context.
For example, the first quote has Obama saying, “Bernie is somebody who has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes. Great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless.”
The words are accurate, up to a point. CNN notes that the quote is incomplete. The former president actually said, “Bernie is somebody who — although I don’t know as well because he wasn’t, obviously, in my administration — has the virtue of saying exactly what he believes, and great authenticity, great passion, and is fearless.”
Another quote has the former president stating, “I think people are ready for a call to action. They want honest leadership who cares about them. They want somebody who’s gonna fight for them. And they will find it in Bernie.” Then the footage shows Obama at the podium at the 2016 Democratic National Convention shouting out, “Feel the Bern!”
The problem, as CNN notes, the first part of the quote was from 2006, not 2016 as the editing of the ad implies. Obama made the “Feel the Bern!” statement when he was supporting Hillary Clinton, the party’s nominee for that year, and not Bernie Sanders. The statement came after some Sanders delegates started chanting their guy’s name. “Feel the Bern!” could, therefore, be seen as irony.
The problem with the idea of Obama supporting Bernie Sanders is the former president is leery of Bernie’s socialism. He has told friends privately that while he is reluctant to involve himself publicly in the Democratic contest, he might just speak out if it looked like Bernie might win the nomination. Like many other politicians and pundits from all political stripes, Obama regards Sanders’ brand of socialism as election year poison.
Clearly the crisis point with Bernie had occurred after the Nevada Primary where Sanders carried all before him and it looked like Biden was all but dead. Then Biden won the South Carolina Primary and the narrative began to change.
The New York Post reports that Obama was behind Pete Buttigieg withdrawing from the race and throwi8ng his support behind Biden.
“Pete Buttigieg discussed his withdrawal from the 2020 presidential race with former President Barack Obama who advised the one-time mayor of South Bend, Ind., to use the leverage he amassed during the campaign, according to a report. Obama didn’t specifically encourage Buttigieg to endorse Joe Biden, his vice president, but pointed out that he should be mindful of the significant influence he now wields.”
Buttigieg who is 38 and may have a long future ahead of him in Democratic politics, seems to have heeded Obama’s words. Sen Amy Klobuchar and Mike Bloomberg have also withdrawn from the race and have thrown their support behind Biden.
NBC News notes that Obama has been the “hidden hand” behind the events that led to Biden’s come from behind victories on Super Tuesday. Whereas a week before, Bernie Sanders was the odds-on favorite to at least enter the convention with the most delegates, now Biden is favored to come out on top.
Significantly, Obama has yet to come out and publicly endorse Biden. He is holding on to that move for when it is most needed, say if Bernie starts to recover in future primary contests.
So, why is Bernie resorting to the obvious subterfuge in trying to suggest that Obama might favor his candidacy and not Biden’s? Part of the reason is that the African American vote in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday went heavily to Biden and not Bernie.
Joe Biden, for all of his gaffes and off-putting behavior, is regarded by many black voters as Barack Obama’s friend and partner in labors. Bernie is trying a desperate move to peel off a few Obama supporters and attract them to his camp.
Trying to fool people into thinking that Obama was a supporter did not work when Mike Bloomberg tried it. Virtually every pundit does not think it will work for Bernie either.