cloudy.png
Friday November 15th, 2019 11:14AM

Ex-Vice President Biden launches 2020 presidential campaign

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden formally joined the crowded Democratic presidential contest on Thursday, declaring the soul of the nation at stake if President Donald Trump wins re-election.

In a video posted on Twitter , Biden focused on the 2017 deadly clash between white supremacists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Biden noted Trump's comments that there were some "very fine people" on both sides of the violent encounter, which left one woman dead.

"With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it," Biden said. "And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in my lifetime."

"We are in the battle for the soul of this nation," Biden continued. "If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation — who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen."

The 76-year-old Biden becomes an instant front-runner alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is leading many polls and has proved to be a successful fundraiser . Among Democrats, Biden has unmatched international and legislative experience, and he is among the best-known faces in U.S. politics.

Biden is betting that his working-class appeal and ties to Barack Obama's presidency will help him overcome questions about his place in today's increasingly liberal Democratic Party. Obama did not endorse Biden on Thursday but did take the unusual step of weighing in on the race. An Obama spokeswoman said selecting Biden as his running mate in 2008 was "one of the best decisions he ever made."

Biden's announcement marks the unofficial end of the chaotic early phase of the 2020 presidential season. The field now features at least 20 Democrats jockeying for the chance to take on Trump next year. Several lesser-known candidates may still join the race.

But the anti-establishment wave that swept Trump into office has not been kind to either party's statesmen. Biden's team worries about his fundraising ability and his tendency to commit gaffes. His centrist approach in a party moving left on major policy debates raises questions about his appeal.

Four years Trump's senior, Biden would be the oldest person ever elected president should he win. Yet his allies believe the skeptics will ultimately warm to his strong connections to the Obama years.

Biden has said he would campaign as an "Obama-Biden Democrat," who is as pragmatic as he is progressive. He's aiming to be a conduit between working-class white voters and the younger, more diverse voters who backed Obama in historic numbers.

Just minutes after the announcement, the GOP lashed out against Biden's record in the Obama administration, a line of attack in sharp contrast with recent criticism against other 2020 Democrats that has largely focused on them being too liberal, or even socialists.

"Biden's fingerprints are all over foreign policy blunders and the weakest economic recovery since World War II," Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said. "We don't need eight more years of Biden. Just ask President Obama, who isn't even endorsing his right-hand man."

While it's true that Obama hasn't explicitly endorsed Biden's bid, the former president weighed in on Thursday's announcement through a spokeswoman.

"President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made," Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said. "He relied on the vice president's knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today."

Biden's team also touted immediate endorsements from Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons. None of the other Democrats running for president has the backing of more than one U.S. senator.

Privately, Trump allies have warned that Biden might be the biggest re-election threat given the former vice president's potential appeal among the white working class in the Midwest, the region that gave Trump a path to the presidency.

Biden is paying special attention to Pennsylvania, a state that swung to Trump in 2016 after voting for Democratic presidential candidates for decades.

The former vice president will be in the state three times within the opening weeks of his campaign. He'll be in Philadelphia on Thursday evening headlining a fundraiser at the home of David L. Cohen, executive senior vice president of Comcast. Biden is aiming to raise $500,000 at the event.

He will hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday and will return to Philadelphia in the next two weeks for a major rally.

He's scheduled to make his first media appearance as a 2020 presidential contender Friday morning on ABC's "The View."

With a record that stretches half a century, Biden's challenges are easy to find.

Most recently, he struggled to respond to claims that he touched 2014 Nevada lieutenant governor nominee Lucy Flores' shoulders and kissed the back of her head before a fall campaign event. A handful of other women have made similar claims, though none has alleged sexual misconduct.

Biden initially said he didn't recall the Flores incident but credited her with coming forward. He took a different approach in a subsequent statement, saying, "Never did I believe I acted inappropriately."

Biden later pledged in an online video to be "much more mindful" of respecting personal space but joked two days later that he "had permission" to hug a male union leader before addressing the group's national conference.

The episode offered a stark reminder of Biden's proclivity to gaffes and his long record in public office that has never felt the full glare of the spotlight that comes along with being a presidential front-runner.

His first White House bid in 1988 ended after a plagiarism scandal. He dropped out of the 2008 race after earning less than 1 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses. Later that year, Obama named Biden as his running mate.

More recently, Biden's willingness to work with Republicans has caused him political headaches.

He was forced to walk back a comment last month that Vice President Mike Pence is "a decent guy" after intense blowback from liberal activists upset with Pence's opposition to gay rights.

In recent weeks, Biden also has been repeatedly forced to explain his 1991 decision, as Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, to allow Anita Hill to face difficult questions from an all-male panel about allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, who later was confirmed to the high court.

Biden has since apologized for his role in the hearing. But in the #MeToo era, particularly after the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the episode remains a significant political liability.

Likewise, Biden once played a key role in anti-crime legislation that had a disproportionately negative impact on African Americans. And while several 2020 Democratic contenders have embraced the possibility of reparations to African Americans for slavery in recent weeks, Biden last month struggled to explain comments he made as a freshman senator in 1975 about the school busing debate.

Biden's 2020 bid comes four years after he opted against challenging Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic contest.

In a book he wrote about conversations with his dying son, he opened up about the difficult choice to sit out the last presidential race: abandon a careerlong quest for the presidency or lose precious time with a family he'd held together through tragedy, from his first wife's and his daughter's deaths in a 1972 car accident to son Beau Biden's 2015 death from cancer.

"He was worried that what I'd worked on my whole life, the things that mattered to me the most since I was a kid, that I'd walk away," Biden said of his son.

Ultimately, the draw to take on Trump in 2020 was too strong.

___

Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press writer Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.

___

This story has been corrected to show the senator's name is Bob, not Michael.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Politics, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ex-Vice President Biden launches 2020 presidential campaign
Former Vice President Joe Biden launches 2020 presidential campaign
6:01AM ( 11 minutes ago )
At Kim-Putin summit, hearty handshakes and manspreading
At his first summit with Russian President, North Korean leader shows off confident side, an apparently chronic problem with breathlessness and a knack for manspreading
5:46AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Australia leader plays down terror threat at Gallipoli event
Australia's prime minister plays down any potential link between the arrest of an a suspected Islamic State group member in Turkey and a World War I battle commemoration attended by hundreds
5:43AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
French police experts start Notre Dame checks after fire
French police scientists and other expert investigators are starting to examine Notre Dame Cathedral for the first time since last week's devastating fire
5:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Kim says talks with Putin candid and meaningful
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says he had "candid and meaningful" talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about how to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region
4:56AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Russian security official visits South Korea
A top Russian security official is holding talks in South Korea while the Russian president is meeting with the North Korean leader
4:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Sri Lanka bans drones, looks for bombs 4 days after attack
Sri Lanka has banned drones and unmanned aircraft as authorities continue controlled detonations of suspicious items four days after a series of suicide bombing attacks killed more than 350 people in and around the capital of Colombo
2:02AM ( 4 hours ago )
Veteran held on attempted murder counts after car hits crowd
Police say a California motorist told investigators that he deliberately drove into a crosswalk in a quiet Silicon Valley suburb, hitting seven people and injuring eight, but did not say why
1:21AM ( 4 hours ago )
Putin hosts Kim for talks on North Korean nuclear standoff
Russian President Vladimir Putin says his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should help plan joint efforts to resolve a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear program
1:02AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Possible $5B Facebook fine echoes European tech penalties
Possible $5B Facebook fine echoes European tech penalties
12:47AM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump says White House to fight House subpoenas
President Donald Trump says he and his administration will battle House Democrats on all legal fronts after the special counsel's Russia report
11:45PM ( 6 hours ago )
California vaccine rules advance over emotional opposition
California lawmakers are advancing tougher rules for vaccinations despite hearing hours of testimony from hundreds of opponents
11:27PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
California lawmakers advance plan for denser housing
California lawmakers have advanced a proposal to spur more housing near transportation
5:24PM ( 12 hours ago )
Boy Scouts: Handful of sex-abuse cases emerged in 2018
Under pressure over past allegations of child sex abuse, the Boy Scouts of America is defending its current prevention policies
5:08PM ( 13 hours ago )
White presidential hopefuls face 'woke litmus test' on race
Race in America is being addressed directly by white candidates running for the Democratic nomination for president
5:00PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Trump's threat to go to court over impeachment defies ruling
President Donald Trump says he'll go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court "if the partisan Dems" ever try to impeach him
11:01AM ( 19 hours ago )
Trump threat to go to court on impeachment defies ruling
President Donald Trump says he'll go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court "if the partisan Dems" ever try to impeach him
9:34AM ( 20 hours ago )
Planned Parenthood: States should oppose Trump 'gag rule'
The president of Planned Parenthood says it's time for states with leaders who support abortion rights to go on the offensive against Trump administration attempts to restrict abortion that she says would reduce access to health care
12:56AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Polish leader: LGBT rights an import that threatens nation
The chairman of Poland's conservative ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has called the LGBT rights movement a foreign import that threatens the Polish nation
2:53AM ( 3 hours ago )
White House voices support for embattled Fed choice
White House voices support for embattled Federal Reserve candidate Stephen Moore
6:53PM ( 11 hours ago )
Pete Buttigieg lands 1st endorsement from member of Congress
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has received his first endorsement from a member of Congress
4:49PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Elections
Tension emerges between Congress, 2020 Dems on impeachment
Some top Democrats vying for the White House in 2020 are clamoring for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, but many of their congressional colleagues are far more wary
5:25PM ( 1 day ago )
Dem donors swoon, and sometimes fight, over Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg is suddenly the hottest ticket for Democratic donors in the 2020 presidential contest
5:11PM ( 1 day ago )
AP source: Biden to announce 2020 bid on Thursday
AP source: Biden to announce 2020 bid on Thursday
2:41PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Egypt voters approve referendum extending president's rule
Election officials say voters in Egypt approved constitutional amendments allowing President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to remain in power until 2030
5:10PM ( 1 day ago )
Kushner plays down Russia's interference in 2016 election
Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, is playing down Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election
4:47PM ( 1 day ago )
Kushner downplays Russia election interference
Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law to President Donald Trump, is downplaying Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election
12:39PM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
Harris joins impeachment call during Democratic town hall
Kamala Harris joins call for impeachment during 2020 Democratic town halls
11:56PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Buttigieg: Sanders and Trump are very different
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg says Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump are "stupendously different in very, very many respects" as he tried to smooth over an earlier comparison of the two politicians
11:52PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Buttigieg doesn't think prisoners should vote
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg says he doesn't believe convicted criminals in prison should be able to vote
11:38PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Indians vote in 3rd phase of staggered national election
Indians are voting in the third phase of the general elections with campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party and the opposition marred by bitter accusations and acrimony
4:04AM ( 2 days ago )
Voting underway in 3rd phase of India's national election
Voting begins in 3rd phase of India's national elections
2:01AM ( 2 days ago )
Pete Buttigieg scrambles to turn 2020 buzz into momentum
Suddenly 'in the game,' Mayor Pete Buttigieg scrambles to harness 2020 momentum
2:49PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
At Kim-Putin summit, hearty handshakes and manspreading
At his first summit with Russian President, North Korean leader shows off confident side, an apparently chronic problem with breathlessness and a knack for manspreading
5:46AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Australia leader plays down terror threat at Gallipoli event
Australia's prime minister plays down any potential link between the arrest of an a suspected Islamic State group member in Turkey and a World War I battle commemoration attended by hundreds
5:43AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Putin praises Kim's efforts to improve ties with rivals
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Kim Jong Un he appreciates the North Korean leader's efforts to improve relations between the rival Koreas and normalize ties with Washington as the two leaders began their first summit
5:43AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Father of suspected Easter bombers arrested; Colombo on edge
The father of two of the Easter suicide bombers has been arrested on suspicion of aiding his sons, according to Sri Lanka's former navy chief, as investigators continue to comb his Colombo mansion for evidence
5:38AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Climate activists block entrance to London Stock Exchange
Environmental activists are blocking the main entrance to the London Stock Exchange after gluing themselves to the doorway while wearing LED displays reading "climate emergency."
5:23AM ( 49 minutes ago )