The US President was filmed wandering around the East Room of the White House looking for someone to talk to after Barack Obama returned for the first time since leaving office in 2017. At one point, Joe Biden has his hand on the former president’s shoulder but is “totally blanked”. Speaking to Mike Graham on TalkRADIO, US journalist Ladona Harvey said: “Everyone who has ever felt weird at a party knows exactly how Joe Biden feels where your friend is not talking to you.”
Pretending to be the president, the radio host added: “Over here! I’m the president now!”
Ms Harvey continued: “Biden even had his hand on his shoulder and nobody was talking to him.
“It was really bad and really uncomfortable.”
Mr Graham noted: “If you said which one of these two is the most powerful man in the world, you wouldn’t be looking at Biden but then Barack Obama did have that incredible charisma.”
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While Twitter users were quick to pick up on the moment.
US TV presenter Gillian McKeith wrote: “Obama running the show from the backroom steps out front. The fawning is nauseating and Biden is confused for the right reasons this time as he is totally blanked.”
Ben Owen joked: “Does Biden now regret inviting Obama to the White House?”
Defending the president, Tom Randiki added: “President Biden showed that he’s the bigger man by allowing his guests to meet the public. That’s what Presidents do. He’s not insecure.”
Obama arrived in the East Room to robust cheers from the assembled crowd of Congress members and administration staffers, and remarked on the changes that had been made in the White House since he was last there – notably the arrival of a cat.
“Bo and Sunny would have been very unhappy,” he quipped, referring to his family’s dogs.
Obama jokingly referred to Biden as “vice president” before correcting himself, inspiring a salute from Biden, then offered broad praise of the Affordable Care Act, whose passage he described as a “high point” of his time in office.
“If you can get millions of people health coverage and better protection, it is, to quote a famous American, a pretty … big deal,” Obama said to hoots of laughter from the crowd, referencing an off-color Biden remark picked up by a hot mic when the law was signed.
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Biden, who hosted Obama for lunch, joked that the two men did not know who should sit where when they dined, and lauded Obama for his leadership on the healthcare law.
“The Affordable Care Act has been called a lot of things but Obamacare is the most fitting,” Biden said.
While Obama remains a popular figure, Biden faces moribund public approval ratings thanks in part to high inflation and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Democrats face the risk of losing control of at least one, if not both, chambers of Congress in November, which would bring Biden’s legislative agenda to a halt.
Biden unveiled a measure to fix an element of the healthcare law known as the “family glitch” that left family members of those with access to employer-provided health plans ineligible for certain subsidies.
He finished his remarks by saying, “Barack, I’m going to remind you: it’s a hot mic.”