Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s entry in the presidential race puts all eyes back on the man he calls his brother and best friend: former President Barack Obama.
While Mr. Obama has signaled that he plans to stay out of the fray, and Mr. Biden said he won’t put his pal in the hot seat by asking for an endorsement, the 76-year-old third-time candidate will have to figure out whether to lean into or distance himself from eight years of playing Robin to Mr. Obama’s Batman.
In his announcement Thursday, Mr. Biden shied away from his time as the vice president — and indeed ignored the rest of his more than 40 years as a public official, instead focusing squarely on anger at President Trump.
Yet Mr. Biden’s opponents also face challenges in attacking the man who stood by Mr. Obama, who remains a hero within the Democratic electorate.
“I would expect Biden to hug Obama tightly even though the former president is staying out of the race, at least for now,” said Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “It will be interesting to see if in criticizing Biden, the other Democrats criticize Obama too … I wonder how criticism of Obama would go over.”