New book details Biden-Obama friction, says Harris sought roles ‘away from the spotlight’

A new book about Joe Biden portrays the president as someone whose middle-class upbringing helped foster a resentment of the intellectual elitism that shaped his political career and sometimes put pressure on his one-time boss, Barack Obama, who had study at Harvard.

Biden, who spent eight years as Obama's vice president, told a friend that Obama couldn't even curse properly, according to “The Last Politician: Inside the Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future.”

Released Tuesday and written by Franklin Foer, a staff writer for “The Atlantic,” the book says Biden said Obama was unable to give a “f—- you” with “the proper lengthening of the vowels and the necessary hardness of the consonants. how they must curse the ivory tower.'

Now, as the president seeks re-election, the front-runner among Republicans is former President Donald Trump, whose supporters can sometimes resent the perceived elitism of Washington's political class — suggesting some overlap with Biden.

The anecdote may also resonate with Democrats. Avid supporters of both Biden and Obama fondly remember the then-vice president telling Obama in a private plaque captured on a hot microphone, “This is a big deal,” during the signing ceremony of the signature health care law Obama's. in 2010.

Foer's book offers an in-depth examination of Biden's first two years in office, which the author describes as including many “mishaps” before the president began to cement his legacy through signature policy achievements and “creative diplomacy” that helped rally the world behind Ukraine. in the face of Russian invasion.

The 80-year-old Biden continues to face questions about his age, and Foer calls it “impressive” that Biden attends few meetings or public events before 10 a.m. Notably, Biden “occasionally admitted to friends that he felt tired,” the book. says.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked last week by a reporter citing an early passage from Foer's book if personal fatigue could explain why Biden's morning schedule was often light. She replied, “It is a ridiculous thing to do.”

Vice President Kamala Harris' struggle to carve out a role for herself as Biden's No. 2 has been well documented. But Foer suggests that Harris may have hurt her own cause in this area by initially asking to be in charge of relations with Scandinavia because she was “away from the limelight”.

The book says the vice president was initially excited to help the administration address the root causes of the migration that has seen so many Central American asylum seekers arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border — but that she eventually came to accept the conventional wisdom that it was a thankless mission.

Foer's book says Biden tried to treat Harris with more respect than he felt Obama often treated him as vice president, calling her “the vice president” instead of “my vice president.” But in his first days in office, as Biden convened his team to combat the coronavirus pandemic, Biden joked that the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, should sit in his place vice president.

“The Last Politician” describes the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. He says that when Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, relayed to the president that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country, leaving Kabul to fell to the Taliban, a frustrated Biden declared, “Give me a break!”

It also reports that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally intervened to help many women whose work in Afghanistan made them potential targets for the Taliban. He directed a group of them to wear white scarves so they could be identified by the US Marines guarding the Kabul airport and unilaterally contacted world leaders to find places for their potential evacuation flights to land.

The book says Clinton's call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky drew a personal rebuke from Sullivan, a former close adviser to Clinton, who told her “What are you doing calling the Ukrainian government?”

“I wouldn't need to call if you did,” Clinton replied, according to Foer's book.