Joe Biden declares 2024 re-election marketing campaign
President Joe Biden jogs across the South Lawn of the White House to speak with visitors before boarding Marine One Friday, March 18, 2022 in Washington. Biden turns 80 on Sunday, November 20.
Patrick Semanski AP
President Joe Biden launched his re-election bid Tuesday to win over Americans weary of stubbornly high inflation or concerned about his ability to serve a second term in the White House.
“When I ran for President four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America. And we still do. The question we face is whether we will have more freedom or less freedom in the coming years. More rights or less,” Biden, 80, says in a video announcing his campaign. “I know how I want the answer, and I think you know that too. This is no time to be complacent be. That’s why I’m running for re-election.”
If Biden were to win a second term, he would extend his streak as the oldest person in the Oval Office: He would be 82 on Inauguration Day in 2025, as the Republican field expands.
Polls show Democrats prefer a candidate other than Biden, but there is no consensus on who that alternative would be. An NBC News poll released Sunday found that 70% of Americans, including 51% of Democrats, believe Biden should not seek a second term. Half of voters who don’t want Biden to run say his age is an “important” factor.
Still, Biden’s first-term successes, combined with the Democrats’ stronger-than-expected showing in the midterm elections and former President Donald Trump’s early declaration, have bolstered Biden’s image as a safe bet. Trump is seeking his third GOP presidential nomination while being prosecuted in New York among several other criminal investigations and a little over two years away from impeachment from the House of Representatives on charges of starting a Jan. 6, 2021 riot in the US – Instigated Capitol.
Biden had an eventful first half of his tenure. The Covid-19 pandemic was still raging when he took office, with much of the country working from home and coronavirus vaccine distribution just beginning. He touted legislative efforts to pump trillions into the US economy to stave off a post-pandemic recession — though his efforts to reinvent the US social safety net hit a wall in Congress.
Biden was able to achieve many of his ambitious campaign goals with the help of a Democrat-controlled Congress in the first half of his term. He was able to push through the sweeping pandemic relief plan, a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act — all within the first 20 months of his tenure.
US President Joe Biden speaks in this still from his official campaign launch video released on April 25, 2023.
Social Media | Via Reuters
The plans included much of his domestic “Build Back Better” agenda. Still, narrow majorities in Congress, particularly in the Senate, have scaled back many of his most ambitious plans, forcing him to implement changes on issues like student loan levies and police reform through executive branch regulations.
Internationally, Biden oversaw the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan and led international allies to support Ukraine after the Russian invasion.
His recent State of the Union address served as a preview of his second-term pitch. He called for unity again and promised to “finish the job” he had started.
In video released Tuesday, Biden says “MAGA extremists are lining up” to take away “fundamental freedoms.”
“Cut the Social Security you’ve paid your entire life while cutting taxes on the very wealthy,” Biden says in the video. “Regulate what decisions women can make in healthcare, ban books and tell people who to love.
The economy, often a strong indicator of how incumbent presidents are doing, offers mixed indicators for Biden. Unemployment was at a near 54-year low earlier this year, but elevated inflation, even as it begins to ease, still weighs heavily on consumers.
Biden rose to the top of the crowded Democratic primary field in 2020 as weary left-leaning voters worried about picking a candidate strong enough to defeat then-incumbent Trump. Despite his age, Biden’s experience made him a formidable candidate and a seemingly stable bet for Democrats. As global tensions rise amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine and China’s increasingly aggressive stance, Biden can fall back on his years as a statesman to be safe.
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The Republican field is already taking shape as Trump and former UN Secretary Nikki Haley have launched their campaigns. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott are taking the first steps toward running for office.
In the NBC News poll, Trump was the favorite among Republican candidates with 46% support, compared to 31% for DeSantis and 6% for former Vice President Mike Pence. Haley and Scott were at 3%.
Trump at 76 also faces questions about his age. NBC News’ poll, conducted April 14-18 in New York City after the former president’s arrest and indictment, found that 60% of Americans say Trump shouldn’t run either. Voters who don’t think Trump should run have been divided on whether the latest indictments are affecting their opinion.
Early polls show a tight hypothetical election race. A Wall Street Journal poll in mid-April showed Biden leading Trump in a head-to-head match by 3 percentage points, 48% to 45%. The same poll found DeSantis leading Biden by the same margin of 48% to 45%.
Biden had a 41% job approval rating in the April NBC News poll. The figure was below its peak of 57% when he took office, but above its bottom of 39% in May 2022.
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