A CNN panel criticized former vice president Joe Biden on Monday for using former president Barack Obama as a crutch on the campaign trail.
Biden has repeatedly invoked Obama's name, sometimes referring to him casually as "Barack" and "my buddy," as he seeks the 2020 presidential nomination. CNN ran a montage of recent examples, leading Inside Politics host John King to wonder if Biden was laying it on too thick.
"They know he was Barack Obama's vice president, right?" King asked. "Does he need to keep doing that? I guess, is there a risk in overdoing it? Do people think, ‘Why do you need the cloak of Barack Obama? Why can't you be your own man?"
New York Times reporter Lisa Lerer noted Biden remained strong on African-American support and called the Democratic electorate "risk-averse," saying they wanted the least risky person to take on President Donald Trump. However, she said Biden's recent apology for remarks about working cordially with segregationist Democrats could make voters less confident in his ability to beat Trump.
"The problem for Joe Biden is if he starts looking riskier and keeps making these mistakes, if he has trouble managing them, if he looks like he's maybe lost a step … Then he becomes not the least risky candidate," she said.
Biden initially stood by his comments about segregationists and accused Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) of leveling false attacks about his record during an exchange last month on the debate stage. He also said Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) should apologize for questioning Biden's remarks.
In South Carolina over the weekend, Biden was contrite.
"Now, was I wrong a few weeks ago to somehow give the impression to people that I was praising those men who I successfully opposed time and again?" he said. "Yes, I was. I regret it. I’m sorry for any of the pain and misconception I may have caused anybody."