Joe Biden says he asked Obama not to endorse him in Democratic primary

Nick Visser

Former Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview Sunday that he asked former President Barack Obama not to endorse him in the 2020 presidential race, saying he wanted to win the Democratic nomination on his own merits.

“I want to earn this on my own,” Biden told “60 Minutes” host Norah O’Donnell. “I asked him not to, he said okay. I think it’s better, I think he thinks it’s better for me.”

He continued: “I have no doubt that when I’m the nominee he’ll be out on the campaign trail for me.”

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Biden, still considered a top candidate in the party’s bid to unseat President Donald Trump next year, spoke about his ongoing fight for the White House amid series of hurdles ranging from debate night gaffes to attempts to smear his family.

The former vice president has been at the center of House Democrats ongoing impeachment inquiry into Trump’s alleged demand for a quid pro quo from the leader of Ukraine. Critics have accused the president of withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from the country unless it opened an investigation into Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Neither Biden has been accused of any wrongdoing, although they have been subject to false political ads claiming as much.

Biden said Sunday once more that he hadn’t discussed Hunter’s work in Ukraine, calling him a “grown man” who didn’t do “a single thing wrong.” But he said that should he be elected in 2020, none of his children would have an office in the White House or “sit in on cabinet meetings.” The comments directly targeted Trump’s children, including Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who hold senior roles in the administration.

“Their actions speak for themselves,” Biden said. “What you should make it clear to the American public is the idea that everything you’re doing is for them.”

The Trump campaign defended Ivanka Trump and Kushner last week after Biden’s remarks were first made public, saying the pair were “instrumental” in major administration decisions.

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Despite the unfolding scandal over Ukraine, Biden said he was still faring among the best among his rivals, saying the country needed “somebody who on day one knows exactly what to do, can command the world stage.”

“No one wonders whether I know a great deal about these issues in foreign policy and domestic policy. They’re things I’ve done,” he said, later adding: “I know I’m the frontrunner. Find me a national poll with a notable couple exceptions. This is a marathon.”

Biden also levied harsh criticism at Trump, calling the president an “idiot” for refusing to admit that the Russian government was attempting to, once again, influent American elections.

“Everybody knows this, nobody doubts it,” Biden said.

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O’Donnell noted that Biden’s campaign had just under $9 million cash on hand while some of his rivals were sitting on much bigger war chests, including Sen. Bernie Sanders ($33.7 million) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren ($25.7 million). But the former veep said he wasn’t troubled by those figures, saying: “We’re on course to do extremely well. I’m not worried about being able to fund this campaign.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.