President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he will seek the presidency again in 2024, dismissing doubts about whether, at 80, he is fit to serve a second term.
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President Joe Biden announced Tuesday he will seek the presidency again in 2024, dismissing doubts about whether the 80-year-old is fit to serve a second term and solidifying his grip on the Democratic Party as its standard-bearer.
The president announced his campaign in a video posted to his Twitter account.
“I said we are in a battle for the soul of America, and we still are,” Biden said in a video featuring images of him and Vice President Kamala Harris — who will be on the ticket again — criss-crossing the country. “The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer.”
The much-anticipated announcement sets up a potential rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump, who has already declared his candidacy and leads the field of Republican 2024 hopefuls.
Biden, a self-described “great respecter of fate,” has weighed the decision for months. Though most presidents wait to announce a reelection campaign to avoid triggering federal election reporting restrictions, Biden’s age has played an outsized role in his decision. He is the nation’s oldest president and would be just shy of 82 on election day in 2024.
Seventy percent of all Americans, including 51% of Democrats, said they didn’t want Biden to seek a second term, compared with 26% of Americans who think he should, according to an NBC poll released Sunday. Nearly half of all voters who said they didn’t want Biden to run again pointed to his age as a major reason.
Similarly, about half of Democrats think Biden should run for a second term, a slight increase from the 37% who said in January that he should seek office again, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday. But 81% of Democrats said they would at least probably support him if he were the nominee. Just 26% of Americans overall said they wanted to see Biden run again, the poll found.
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But the president and his allies have dismissed the polling, pointing instead to U.S. job growth and his legislative record as evidence of his success during his first two years in office.
The White House frequently touts the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and boost U.S.-based chip manufacturing, and a $700 billion landmark climate change and drug-pricing law.
Though the president had been expected to announce his reelection bid for weeks, he made clear during a recent visit to Ireland that he’d “already made the calculus” and that a formal announcement would happen “relatively soon.”
He hinted at his reelection pitch at the State of the Union in February, in which he contrasted his achievements with a divided Republican Party that has yet to settle on a 2024 strategy or candidate. He called on Congress to work with him to “finish the job” of revitalizing the U.S. economy and uniting a country fractured by partisan politics. Although he had not officially launched his campaign, aides and Democratic officials had already quietly begun setting up the campaign infrastructure in battleground states across the country.
Biden echoed the State of the Union speech in his video Tuesday, deriding “MAGA extremists” for threatening to take away personal freedoms that are “fundamental to who we are as Americans.”
“Every generation of Americans has faced a moment when they’ve had to defend democracy. Stand up for our personal freedoms. Stand up for the right to vote and our civil rights,” he says as a video montage flashes images of him meeting Americans and crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. “And this is our moment. ...
“Let’s finish the job,” he added. “I know we can.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel criticized Biden for being “out of touch” and accused the president of “creating crisis after crisis.”
“If voters let Biden ‘finish the job,’ inflation will continue to skyrocket, crime rates will rise, more fentanyl will cross our open borders, children will continue to be left behind, and American families will be worse off,” she said in a statement following Biden’s announcement.
Biden took office amid a spiraling COVID-19 pandemic that paralyzed the country for more than a year, vowing to get the coronavirus under control and repair the economic damage wrought by the global health crisis.
His first year in office was bogged down by economic challenges, including record-high inflation and supply chain bottlenecks exacerbated by the pandemic, which lingered longer than White House officials had anticipated. The public mood began to sour in August 2021, when waves of new virus variants spread across the country and 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghans were killed during the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan. The president’s approval rating sank to the low 40s, where it remains.
But in February 2022, as Biden continued to grapple with problems at home, Russia invaded Ukraine. The president responded by reinvigorating transatlantic cooperation and winning bipartisan support to send tens of billions of dollars in economic and military aid to the embattled country.
The administration celebrated several legislative victories last summer, including the most sweeping gun reform legislation in 30 years, the president’s signature climate and drug-pricing law and a healthcare bill for veterans injured by wartime exposure to toxins. He also signed the ratification documents in support of Finland and Sweden’s membership in the NATO alliance, highlighting U.S. leadership in the expansion of the defense pact.
November’s midterm election results gave Biden a tailwind after Democrats outperformed historical trends and defied projections of a “red wave” despite the president’s low approval ratings. The party narrowly lost the House of Representatives and picked up a seat in the Senate. Democrats also won control of four additional state legislative chambers and two governorships, the best first midterm performance for a party since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency.
Biden’s political fortunes took a turn in January, when the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to examine whether he mishandled classified documents found at his former office at a think tank in Washington and at his home in Wilmington, Del.
Republicans argued that Biden was treated differently than former President Trump, who is also under investigation for classified documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago resort during an August raid. The facts of the two cases are different. Biden’s lawyers immediately notified the National Archives upon discovery of the documents; Trump resisted turning over sensitive materials for several months.
Biden’s document controversy has fueled GOP-led House oversight probes into the president, his administration and his family, but White House aides argue that the special counsel investigation will have little effect on the 2024 election. Vice President Mike Pence later announced that classified documents were discovered at his Indiana home, signaling a more systemic problem with the handling of classified material in Washington.
A majority of Americans think both Biden and Trump mishandled classified files, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released in January. Seventy-seven percent said Trump acted inappropriately in the way he handled classified documents, compared with 64% who said the same of Biden.
It’s still unclear whom Biden will run against as the Republican presidential primary is still taking shape. Trump — who is embroiled in a series of investigations and is facing charges related to an alleged hush-money payment made to a porn actor during the 2016 campaign — is so far the leading candidate. Nearly 70% of Republican primary voters said they would back Trump, according to the NBC poll.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, conservative talk radio host Larry Elder and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson are among those who have already entered the GOP race, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former Vice President Mike Pence are also eyeing White House runs.
Minutes after the announcement, the Biden-Harris campaign released an email announcing election staff, including Julie Chavez Rodriguez, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and a longtime Democratic Party activist, as campaign manager. Chavez Rodriguez is the granddaughter of labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez. Quentin Fulks, the campaign manager for Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia), was tapped as deputy campaign manager.
Among Biden’s campaign co-chairs is Hollywood mega-donor Jeffrey Katzenberg, along with Reps. Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-Delaware) and Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina) as well as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The president’s springtime decision is in line with his most recent predecessors’ reelection announcements. Former Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush launched their campaigns between April and June. (Trump filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on the day he was inaugurated but did not officially kick off his campaign until June.) But unlike Biden, there was never any doubt about whether the previous incumbents would run.
Biden’s announcement comes exactly four years after he declared his candidacy for the 2020 race.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.