Hundreds of Obama Alumni Stab Joe Biden in the Back, Endorse Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama/ Getty Images
December 18, 2019

Hundreds of Obama administration and campaign alumni are turning their backs on Joe Biden to support Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) in the Democratic presidential primary.

Former Barack Obama aides Sara El-Amine and Jon Carson collected more than 200 signatures from former Obama staffers endorsing Warren, CNN reports. El-Amine and Carson both worked on Obama's 2008 campaign, but the group they assembled to publicly back Warren includes a range of officials from the Obama era.

The list of endorsers shared with CNN includes Robert Ford, ex-US ambassador to Syria, and Sean Carroll, a former senior official at USAID. It also features Obama alumni who are currently working on the Warren campaign full-time including in senior-most positions, like Warren chief strategist Joe Rospars, senior adviser Emily Parcell, national political director Rebecca Pearcey and national director of public engagement Alencia Johnson.

Carson highlighted Warren's work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a reason for his support.

"We all really believe in the need for big structural change that she is promising," Carson said of the former Obama officials backing Warren. "That's why we're with Sen. Warren."

El-Amine compared Warren to Obama, saying the Massachusetts senator had Obama's "gumption."

"Oftentimes it's the people with the boldest vision and the most unlikely candidacies early on who can really shift the field," El-Amine said. "Sen. Warren really has the zest and the grit and the gumption and the audacity that we loved that President Obama really embodied."

Joe Biden has frequently touted his experience as Barack Obama's vice president to bolster his candidacy. Obama reportedly said Biden "really doesn't have" a bond with Iowa voters earlier this year. When Biden announced his 2020 run in April, he said he asked Obama not to endorse him, but later said he doesn't need Obama's endorsement to win the primary.

Biden and Warren have clashed on multiple issues, including Medicare for All. Biden accused his opponent of lying about her health care plan last month.

The 231 endorsements of Warren come after Obama said women are "indisputably" better than men during a private leadership summit in Singapore on Monday.

"If you look at the world, and look at the problems, it's usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way," Obama said.