Throughout the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, President Obama’s legacy has been picked apart by the 19 candidates left in the crowded field. Although Obama had a 63% approval rating in the month after he left the Oval Office, Democrats have been reluctant to embrace his policies.
On health care, President Obama’s cornerstone legislative achievement was the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare. Not even Republicans could get the consensus to overturn the policy, but many Democrats have ditched the proposal in favor of Medicare for All, which would repeal and replace the ACA if put into law.
On immigration, several candidates have dogged Obama on his deportation record. To this day, the former president holds the record for most deportations. With several candidates advocating for decriminalizing the border and abolishing the private detention facilities used by ICE to detain illegal immigrants, criticizing Obama’s record has been a part of many candidates’ messaging on immigration.
Biden, who is the current Democratic frontrunner, has taken heat for standing by Obama’s side while these policies were implemented.
In the last debate hosted on ABC, 2020 candidate Julián Castro called out Biden for picking and choosing what parts of Obama’s legacy to embrace.
“Every time something good about Barack Obama comes up, he says, ‘Oh, I was there, I was there, I was there, that’s me too,’ And then every time somebody questions part of the administration that we were both part of, he says, ‘Well, that was the president,'” said Castro, adding, “I mean, he wants to take credit for Obama’s work, but not have to answer to any questions.”
In response to the continued attacks against Obama’s legacy, Biden called it “absolutely stupid” for Democrats to question the former president.
Biden told reporters at a fundraising event in Chicago that Democrats have a “newfound sense, maybe we should pick on Barack a bit.”
“And by the way, it’s just absolutely stupid,” the former vice president noted.
Obama has yet to publically endorse any candidate, and it is not expected that he will do so in the primary race.