(Washington) We take the same ones and start over… or almost. Barack Obama returned to the White House on Tuesday for the first time since 2017, invited by Joe Biden to talk about a subject dear to them both, access to health care in the United States.
Posted at 4:34 p.m.
As was to be expected, the former president and the current one competed with jokes and complicity, bringing to life, in an almost disturbing way at times, the time when Barack Obama was president and Joe Biden his second.
The first thus began his speech with a sound “Vice-President Biden”, triggering the hilarity of the audience with this false slip.
And the second began his own statements with a “My name is Joe Biden and I am Barack Obama’s vice-president”, before ensuring, nostalgically, that the latter’s presence reminded him of “the good old days. »
The two had lunch together on Tuesday – as they did when Barack Obama was president, once a week, and as Joe Biden now does with Vice President Kamala Harris. “We no longer knew who should sit where,” joked the current head of state.
“It’s good to be back in the White House,” said Barack Obama, who had never set foot there after leaving the keys to Donald Trump.
The former president had been invited to celebrate the reform without doubt the most emblematic of his two terms: the “Affordable Care Act”, better known as “Obamacare”, in force since March 2010.
At a time when Joe Biden had to bury the essentials of his major social reforms, due to virulent Republican opposition and disagreements in the Democratic camp, Barack Obama insisted on recalling that he had had great difficulty in passing this legislation.
“Obamacare”, which at the time had aroused strong protests from Republicans, and which still represents for some conservatives too great an intrusion of the State in the lives of Americans, was intended to reduce the immense inequalities in the access to care by generalizing access to health insurance.
“I wanted to reform the health care system even if it cost me re-election and at one point it almost took the road,” joked Barack Obama, adding that the legislation had not only “survived” attempts repeated attempts to repeal it, notably under Donald Trump, but that it was now “damn popular. »
Joe Biden told him that it was necessary to “further strengthen” this system, before signing a decree improving the care of members of the same family.
But this signing ceremony above all allowed the White House to unfold a carefully crafted communication operation around Barack Obama, whose mere presence attracts journalists and cameras en masse.
Joe Biden, who is seeking to regain political momentum before the perilous legislative elections in November, was able to re-enact, for a few moments, what the Americans called “bromance” (contraction of “bro”, i.e. say “buddy”, and “romance”) of the two men, this complicity displayed throughout the two Obama mandates with hugs and jokes.
“They are real friends, not ‘fashionable friends from Washington'”, where personal relationships are deemed to be guided above all by political or financial interest, White House spokeswoman Jen said on Monday. Psaki.
She promised that this appearance of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize would not be the last: “I do believe that President Obama will be back here to unveil his official portrait and perhaps on other occasions in the future. »