The ex-president is worried that the Democrat’s campaign is not flexible enough for the increasingly heated race
Former US President Barack Obama has urged Biden’s advisers to bolster the reelection campaign by engaging top-level decision-makers or empowering those already in place in the headquarters amid the lackluster voter approval that may see Donald Trump return to power in 2024.
Obama and Biden discussed the campaign during a previously unreported private lunch at the White House in recent months, the Washington Post reported in an article published on Saturday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The former president reportedly became “animated” while talking about the 2024 elections and the prospect of former president Donald Trump winning the race.
Obama, who served as the 44th president of the US, recalled the success of his 2012 reelection campaign when some of his top aides took charge of the reelection operations on the ground across the country, and criticized Biden’s approach of leaving his advisors in the White House.
According to the people, who spoke to the outlet on the condition of anonymity, Obama did not refer to anything specific in the campaign structure but rather suggested that it needs to “move aggressively” as Trump appears to take the lead in the 2024 Republican presidential nominating contest.
He did not recommend any specific individuals to be recruited by the campaign but allegedly mentioned his senior strategist David Plouffe, who led Obama’s 2008 race, as an example of who could help.
The Biden campaign and Obama’s spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post.
However, Obama has long worried about Donald Trump’s political strength and warned earlier this year that he could be a more formidable challenger than many Democrats realize. He is not only concerned by Biden’s weak polling number but also by the effectiveness of his unorthodox campaign structure.
Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodrigues is based in the campaign’s headquarters in Wilmington. At the same time, the top aides – Anita Dunn, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mike Donilon, and Steve Ricchetti work from the White House, which means that all important decisions need to go through the White House first. Some Democrats raised their concerns that the campaign may not be able to immediately respond to fast-moving developments.
David Axelrod, the former senior presidential advisor, said on Friday that while he cannot comment on Obama’s discussions with Biden, each president approaches his reelection differently. Back in November, Axelrod suggested that Biden should consider dropping out of the 2024 race.
Biden’s support rating hit a record low before the year’s end with just 38% of voters approving his performance, according to the polls recently conducted by the Washington Post. Voters, including a majority of Democrats, are particularly concerned about Biden’s age as well as his handling of the Israel-Hamas war.