Bromance debunked: Book sheds light on ‘imperfect’ Obama/Biden relationship

Despite the media portrayal of former President Barack Obama’s close friendship with then-Vice President Joe Biden, behind the scenes, their relationship was reportedly fraught with tension.

According to “The Long Alliance: The Imperfect Union of Joe Biden and Barack Obama,” a new book by New York Magazine’s national correspondent Gabriel Debenedetti, it appears that the “bromance” between Obama and Biden was nothing more than a media fabrication.

In fact, Obama’s first impression of Biden was nothing less than completely negative, with Debenedetti describing it as “condescending at best, borderline offensive at worst” and saying Biden had a tendency to “ramble, clearly loving every minute of it.” At one point Obama reportedly said “Shoot. Me. Now” to an aide during an instance of Biden’s rambling.

Obama even told David Axelrod that Biden “is a decent guy but man, that guy can just talk and talk. It’s an incredible thing to see.”

Excerpts of the book obtained by the Daily Mail continued to paint a picture of two co-workers who merely put up with each other for the sake of the job, rather than a pair of friends. The book also claims that Obama seriously contemplated replacing Biden with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while running for reelection in 2012. Not only would this get rid of Biden, but it was also considered a way of boosting Obama’s chances of a second term.

But the feelings weren’t entirely one-sided. Biden, who was reportedly “wary of fresh faces” wasn’t sure what to make of Obama, who seemingly shot to the top of the Democratic Party after winning his Illinois election. However, the pair decided to get together over dinner and try to get to know more about each other. This was another point of contention in their relationship.

Then-Delaware Senator Biden invited Obama to a low-key Italian restaurant, insisting on “nothing fancy” for the pair’s first meal together. Obama brushed off the notion that they needed to eat at a simple location, saying “we can go to a nice place, I can afford it.” Put off by this remark, Biden “detected more than a hint of arrogance and a hefty serving of presumptuousness.” At the end of the “sour and uncomfortable” meeting, the two had not scheduled a dinner date.

Obama also reportedly had a problem with Biden’s politics, believing that the former VP was part of a political generation that had “overseen Washington’s decline into impracticality.”

However, despite all of these being reasons someone would not want to associate themselves with another politician, Obama ultimately chose Biden to be his running mate as a way to appeal to white voters who may have been skeptical of the man who would become the first black president. Biden reportedly refused the offer at first but was later convinced to accept the position.

As the pair rolled into the White House, Biden couldn’t help but notice that Obama’s team didn’t take his input very seriously. “Biden could hardly shake the suspicion that Obama’s eggheads saw him as a foolish distraction they couldn’t fully trust,” the book explained.

“The Long Alliance” is set to come out Tuesday, September 13.

Sierra Marlee


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