Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Bromance Didn't Start Off Well, New Book Reveals

The much-lauded "bromance" between former President Barack Obama and his second-in-command Joe Biden did not begin as an easy friendship, a new book about the pair has revealed, with Obama once reacting to a Biden speech by sending a note to his adviser saying: "Shoot. Me. Now."

Steven Levingston's new book Barack and Joe: The Making of an Extraordinary Partnership is released on Tuesday, 8 October, and delves into the unlikely friendship launched a thousand memes.

But, Levingston writes, their relationship was at times awkward and questions remain as to why Obama refused to endorse his former Vice President's bid for office.

Indeed, chronicling one such awkward occasion when their paths crossed during the early days of Obama's political career, Levingston describes a particularly long speech given by Biden that he claims frustrated Obama to the point that the then-senator wrote "shoot me now" in a message to one of his advisers.

And his failure to endorse Biden in the 2016 election (despite Biden claiming that he had asked the then president not to do so) was, in part because Obama did not feel that a Biden presidency would solidify the change he had come to represent, the book suggests.

"Joe, despite his many virtues, was just another white guy, one in a long line of American presidents—hardly the symbol of the tectonic change that Obama hoped would mark his place in the history books," Levingston wrote, suggesting Obama instead wanted his successor to be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"'Barack had placed his bet on Hillary, the one he believed would confirm his revolutionary stamp on American's political culture—the first black president passing the baton to the first woman president," the book added.

Additionally, Obama's advisers had looked into replacing Biden in the 2012 election, exploring whether bringing on Clinton at the time would have made the ticket stronger. However, they opted not to do so.

Despite the pair becoming close throughout their time as president and second-in-command, Obama's refusal to endorse Biden once again in 2020 had left a sting, Levingston suggested, pondering whether the affection between the pair was as strong as the public had been led to believe.

The book suggests the failure to endorse in 2020 was the latest in a strong of incidents that demonstrated "a pattern of political expediency from Obama that put a strain on his relationship with Joe, especially as they went their separate ways after the White House."

Biden has insisted that he asked Obama not to endorse any candidates in order that they could approach the contest on a level playing field. Biden enjoyed a clear lead in the polls initially, but hopeful Elizabeth Warren is snapping at his heels. Obama and Biden have been spotted together on numerous occasions since leaving office.

Correction 12/17/19, 6:00 a.m.: This article was updated to correct an error in the extract from the book by Steven Levingston.