Newly released book, Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency, claims that Barack Obama privately doubted Pete Buttigieg’s suitability for president, joking about him being “gay” and “short”.
In an exclusive excerpt shared by The Hill, the book describes a private party in New York where Obama announced his support for Elizabeth Warren for the presidency while undermining Buttigieg’s potential.
The 2019 private meeting invited Black corporate donors including executives from American Express, Merck and Citigroup, with whom Barack Obama reportedly wanted to privately discuss the 2020 presidential election.
The excerpt stated: “Obama was on a roll, using the tone of light ridicule he sometimes pointed at himself – ‘big ears’ and ‘a funny name’, he’d said so many times before. Now, it was directed at Buttigieg.
“‘He’s the mayor of a small town,’ the former president continued. ‘He’s gay,’ Obama said, ‘and he’s short.’ More laughter.”
The book was written by journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, who previously penned the New York Times bestseller Shattered, which recounted Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election campaign.
A New York Times review of Lucky quoted the book calling Joe Biden “a person so bland it made cardboard taste flavourful”.
The reviewer added: “It’s understandable that Allen and Parnes would do everything they could to amp up the drama – not an easy feat, given the cardboard.
“With their new book, they promise to explain ‘how Joe Biden barely won the presidency’. Biden’s margin of victory – 7 million votes, or 4.5 per cent – was considerable by modern American standards… [but] there were a number of moments when Biden’s chances were nearly sunk.”
Amie Parnes is a senior correspondent for The Hill, which published the excerpt, while Allen is a senior political analyst at NBC News.
In the publisher’s description of the book, it claims the authors “use their unparalleled access to key players inside the Democratic and Republican campaigns” to detail the inside story of Biden’s path to the presidency.
The excerpt from the book added details about Barack Obama’s relationship with Pete Buttigieg: “Only months earlier, Buttigieg had sat in Obama’s post-presidential office in Washington seeking counsel on how to maintain equanimity in the face of homophobia on the campaign trail.
“Now, behind his back, Obama was riffing on him to some of the wealthiest Black men in America at a time when Buttigieg had been dubbed ‘Mayo Pete’ by critics who believed he couldn’t connect with African American voters.”
The excerpt also quotes several anonymous sources who were “in the room” during this private meeting. They reportedly called Obama’s speech “a 90 per cent Warren sermon” and said “his support for Biden was tepid at best”.
Barack Obama never officially endorsed Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, and both Obama and Warren eventually endorsed Biden’s campaign.
Buttigieg dropped out of the presidential race in March 2020 and endorsed Joe Biden’s run shortly afterwards.