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Former President Barack Obama endorsed Joe Biden, his former vice president, in a video released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Obama, following in the footsteps of other recent former presidents, chose to let the crowded Democratic primary process play out and not offer an endorsement until voters chose their presumptive nominee.

  • Biden leaned heavily on his strong relationship with Obama and his record as vice president throughout the primary race while still acknowledging that he needed to "earn" Obama's endorsement.
  • Obama's endorsement comes one day after Biden's final rival in the race, Bernie Sanders, offered his own endorsement.

Highlights from the endorsement:

  • "Choosing Joe to be my vice president was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now. He’s someone whose own life has taught him how to persevere; how to bounce back when you’ve been knocked down."
  • "Joe helped me manage H1N1 and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we’re seeing now. He helped me restore America’s standing and leadership in the world on the other threats of our time, like nuclear proliferation and climate change. Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery."
  • "Each of our candidates were talented and decent, with a track record of accomplishment, smart ideas, and serious visions for the future. And that’s certainly true of the candidate who made it farther than any other – Bernie Sanders. Bernie’s an American original – a man who has devoted his life to giving voice to working people’s hopes, dreams, and frustrations. He and I haven’t always agreed on everything, but we’ve always shared a conviction that we have to make America a fairer, more just, more equitable society."
  • "This crisis has reminded us that government matters. It’s reminded us that good government matters. That facts and science matter. That the rule of law matters. That having leaders who are informed, and honest, and seek to bring people together rather than drive them apart – those kind of leaders matter."

The big picture: Former top Obama adviser David Axelrod told Politico last year that a lengthy endorsement process shouldn't be taken as a dig towards Biden, who he said remains "genuinely friends" with the former president.

  • "The custom for former presidents is not to endorse presidents. The expectation that he would, I find kind of baffling."

The backdrop: The pair were initially competitors in the 2008 presidential race.

  • Obama said he picked Biden to be his running mate because he wanted someone "with a little gray in their hair," according to the New York Times.
  • Images of their friendship — like enjoying ice cream and laughing together — eventually became symbols of the Obama administration.
  • The complexities of their relationship emerged when Biden pondered a 2016 challenge to Hillary Clinton, which Obama did not encourage, per the Washington Post.

Go deeper: Read Obama's full endorsement

Go deeper

8 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

9 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 9 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."

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