Biden says he asked Obama not to endorse him

Former Vice President Biden, who announced his presidential candidacy Thursday, said he told former President Obama not to endorse him in the race. 

“I asked President Obama not to endorse,” Biden said of his former boss. “Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”

Obama on Thursday praised Biden following his campaign announcement, but stopped short of endorsing him.

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“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe BidenJoe Biden2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' Overnight Health Care: GOP senator says drug price action unlikely this year | House panel weighs ban on flavored e-cigs | New York sues Juul MORE as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for Obama, said in a statement.

“He relied on the vice president’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”

Obama and Biden were known for their close-knit relationship during their eight years on Pennsylvania Avenue. Obama awarded Biden, whom he has fondly referred to as his "brother," the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2017. 

Biden jumped into the crowded 2020 presidential race early Thursday, becoming the 21st candidate to announce his intentions for the Democratic Party's nomination.

"If we give Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation — who we are — and I cannot stand by and watch that happen," Biden said in an announcement video. 

"Everything that has made America America is at stake," he added.  "That’s why today I'm announcing my candidacy for president of the United States."

Even before his announcement, Biden led the field across a number of polls.