While former Vice President Joe Biden enjoyed a convincing win in South Carolina, he will be hard-pressed to win in the Super Tuesday states this week. Many of those states have early voting, meaning most of the votes have already been cast. Even worse for Biden, former President Barack Obama has steadfastly refused to endorse his former VP, even though the race appears to be coming down to Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-USSR).
On the eve of the North Carolina primary, the pro-Trump super PAC Committee to Defend the President is spending $250,000 on an ad highlighting Obama’s decision not to endorse his former VP. The PAC is spending $200,000 on television ads and $50,000 on digital ads in North Carolina.
The ad begins with the former vice president’s own words: “Barack Obama is an extraordinary man. I was proud to serve as his vice president.”
“Eight years together in the White House, but Barack Obama still won’t endorse Joe Biden,” the voiceover narrates.
“Barack Obama knew exactly who I was,” Biden says.
“Barack Obama refuses to endorse Joe Biden because he knows exactly who Joe Biden is,” the narrator adds, damningly. “Barack Obama won’t support Joe Biden, why should you?”
The former VP holds a narrow lead over Bernie in North Carolina, where Biden is expecting another win to bolster his campaign amid a slew of races that are likely to go in Bernie’s favor. Sanders still leads in national polls, but after Mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out on Sunday, the polls are likely to readjust.
Obama has not endorsed Biden, but the former president did speak up after the Committee to Defend the President released an ad using Obama’s own words against his former VP.
The Biden campaign has released an ad with footage of Biden receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the former president, arguably giving the misleading impression that the president has endorsed the former VP.
Obama has decided not to intervene in the Democratic primary, reportedly because he wants the party to make its own decision. Even so, this hands-off approach makes the party vulnerable to a Bernie takeover. As Sanders racks up more wins, the former president may grow to regret his decision.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.