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 BidenBiden jokes he's ready for a push-up competition with Trump Biden says his presidency is not 'a third term of Obama' Biden knocks Trump on tweets about 'smart as hell' Ocasio-Cortez 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 TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA 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.