Former President Barack Obama endorsed his Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, for president Tuesday.
Obama remains a popular political figure and stayed silent over the past 18 months as the Democratic field ballooned and winnowed, leaving Biden the last one standing.
After speaking about the need to come together and help one another amid the coronavirus pandemic, the former president praised his former partner. Obama said good leadership — guided by knowledge, experience, honesty, humility, empathy, and grace — belongs in the White House, not just in state capitals and mayoral offices.
"If there's one thing we've learned as a country from moments of great crisis, it's that the spirit of looking out for one another can't be restricted to our homes, or our workplaces, or our neighborhoods, or our houses of worship. It also has to be reflected in our national government," Obama said.
On Monday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders formally endorsed his former rival, in an effort to consolidate support among Democrats. Both endorsements are important for the former Vice President. Sanders leads what's considered to be the progressive wing of the party. Obama's conversations with Sanders reportedly played a large role in the senator's ultimate decision to withdraw and throw in with Biden.
Without naming names, the 44th president repeatedly criticized his successor and praised Biden for pushing the nation forward.
"Joe helped me manage H1N1 and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we're seeing now," he said.
Laying out how Biden will move the nation forward, Obama said the Democratic Party will "have to be bold," in confronting another financial crisis and must come together, even when they "do not agree on every detail of the best way to bring about each and every one of these changes."
Obama did not endorse his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton until she had formally won the nomination in 2016, but today, nearly four months before the delayed Democratic National Convention, he tried to appeal to all factions of the party and plead for unity.
"Our country's future hangs on this election. And it won't be easy. The other side has a massive war chest. The other side has a propaganda network with little regard for the truth," he said. "On the other hand, pandemics have a way of cutting through the noise and spin to remind us of what is real and what is important. This crisis has reminded us that government matters. It's reminded us that good government matters."
"Now is the time for all of us to help where we can and be there for each other as neighbors, as coworkers, and as fellow citizens," he said.