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Obama pushed Biden not to run in 2016: NY Times

Former President Obama in 2015 pushed former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE not to run for president in 2015, The New York Times reported Sunday.

According to the Times, Obama "gently pressed" Biden on his 2016 presidential ambitions over several weeks. He then ultimately had a strategist deliver a discouraging assessment to Biden of his odds in the race against then-front runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSamantha Power's Herculean task: Turning a screw with a rubber screwdriver Beau Biden Foundation to deny lobbyist donations, make major donors public Whoopi Goldberg wears 'my vice president' shirt day after inauguration MORE.

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“The president was not encouraging,” Biden later said, according to the Times.

Obama believed at the time that Clinton, who would become the Democratic presidential nominee and lose to President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE in the general election, had the best chance to win, according to the Times. Obama also didn't think Biden was in the right state of mind to campaign for president following the death of his son, Beau, the newspaper reported.

Biden ultimately did not seek the Democratic nomination for president during that election, citing the "grieving process" following his son's death from brain cancer.

The revelation that Obama encouraged Biden not to run comes days after Biden officially launched his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. 

Biden has already tied himself close to Obama in his campaign, though he said he asked Obama not to endorse him.

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

Obama praised his former VP in a statement following Biden's campaign launch.