Bad Friends: The Obamas Think Biden Is Going To Lose

Barack has been warning Democrats since 2019 not to 'underestimate Joe's ability to f— things up'

(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
January 8, 2024

Barack and Michelle Obama apparently don't think Joe Biden has what it takes to win reelection. Rather than projecting confidence in Biden's political talents, they are sounding the alarm.

"I am terrified about what could possibly happen," Michelle Obama said of the upcoming presidential election during a recent interview with podcaster Jay Shetty. The former first lady went on to argue that if Biden loses to Donald Trump, the "childish" and "vulgar" former president, the American people would be to blame for failing to appreciate the extreme benevolence of the federal government.

"The fact that people think that government, ehh, you know, does it really even do anything? And I'm like, 'Oh my God, does government do everything for us,'" Obama said. "And we cannot take this democracy for granted. And sometimes I worry that we do."

Michelle's dour remarks come amid reports that her husband Barack is also panicking about the 2024 election. The former president has grown increasingly agitated, according to the Wall Street Journal, because he "knows this is going to be a close race" and "feels that Democrats very well could lose."

In recent months, Barack Obama has had "animated" discussions with Biden and senior campaign officials about the election, the Washington Post reported over the weekend. Obama reportedly advised the Biden campaign to model itself on his own reelection campaign in 2012 and urged the president to hire or at least "seek counsel" from former Obama campaign aides.

"Someone wants to light a fire under the asses of some of these [Biden] people," a top Democratic strategist told the editors of Axios, who suggested the news of Obama's skepticism may have leaked to the Post because Biden aides are terrified of giving him bad news. Biden is widely feared within the White House due to his "quick-trigger temper," a common symptom exhibited by individuals suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

For what it's worth, the Obamas have never been particularly optimistic about Biden's ability to win a national election. In 2019, for example, Barack Obama tried to talk his former vice president out of running because he worried Biden would "embarrass himself on the campaign trail" and thought Beto O'Rourke had a better chance of winning. (He didn't.)

"You don't have to do this, Joe, you really don't," Obama reportedly told Biden. He warned fellow Democrats not to "underestimate Joe's ability to f— things up." The multimillionaire Obamas didn't even donate to Biden's 2020 campaign. Four years earlier, Obama successfully "pressured" Biden to "get out of the way" so that Hillary Clinton could coast to the nomination, all but ensuring that Trump would win.

When he's not complaining about Biden's campaign, Obama is apparently still working on the second volume of his White House memoir. (He left office in 2017.)