Speculation about Barack Obama’s preferred Democratic candidate for president has reached a fever pitch as the former commander-in-chief has stuck to Party lines and vowed to support the eventual nominee. But other loyal Democrats close to the 44th president haven’t stayed quite as tight-lipped, including Reggie Love, Obama’s former personal aide who on Monday revealed which candidate he was planning to endorse.
Love, who was more commonly referred to as Obama’s “body man” during his inaugural campaign and presidency, appeared on Fox News and announced that he would not be throwing his support behind Joe Biden, the current front-running Democrat who also, by the way, was Obama’s vice president.
The news may have come as a surprise to those who assumed that all Obama administration alumni would be sticking together. But another surprise was that Love, who is Black, chose to endorse Pete Buttigieg, who has been struggling to gain any traction with Black voters. That fact stood in stark contrast to Biden’s apparent unwavering support among the coveted voting bloc. But Love told Fox Business‘ Neil Cavuto on Monday that he thought Buttigieg reminded him of Obama’s own candidacy in 2008.
“I think Pete Buttigieg has a great opportunity to do something unique, bringing about transformational change to the country,” Love said. “I think he’s got a great message about unity, and, ultimately, when you look at the difference in 2016 and 2008, it’s really about getting people excited to vote, and I think the only way you get people excited to vote is to bring them into the fold and to give them new ideas and meet them where they live.”
Love also bucked conventional wisdom and said he thought Black folks needed to give Buttigieg an honest look, insisting that “as people in the African American community get to hear his message, I think that they’ll find it to be one that resonates with them.”
Love previously joined two other Obama administration alumni in failing to endorse Biden, who has led all polling since he announced his candidacy in April.
There was also the fact that Obama seemed to hint at his preferred candidate during a speech he gave last month — and it didn’t sound like it was Biden.
“Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us (men),” Obama said while speaking at the Singapore Expo on Dec. 16. “I’m absolutely confident that for two years, if every nation on Earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything … living standards and outcomes.”
If that wasn’t clear enough, Obama had some more to say on the topic in no uncertain terms.
“If you look at the world and look at the problems, it’s usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way,” Obama added. “It is important for political leaders to try and remind themselves that you are there to do a job, but you are not there for life, you are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self-importance or your own power.”
Hmmm. “Old people” and “old men,” huh? “You are not there for life”? Who could he ever be talking about?
Of course, Obama did not name any names. But it can’t be forgotten that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her progressive values seem to fall right in line with the policies championed by Obama when he was president. But that would also mean that he would rather not see Biden become president — for the world’s sake.
Nevermind that Axios reported last month that Warren was “endorsed by hundreds of former Obama staffers.”
Love’s endorsement came one day before the seventh Democratic debate was scheduled and three weeks before the Iowa Caucuses officially open the primary season.
It was unclear how much his endorsement would help Buttigieg, who was polling in fourth place behind Biden, Bernie Sanders and Warren, in that order. Considering Buttigieg’s track record on race — including lingering issues back home in South Bend, Indiana, and most recently being accused of whitewashing the horrors of racism in front of children — he’s still got a lot of work to do.