WASHINGTON (CN) — Distinguishing himself from what he calls MAGA extremists who want to take away America's freedoms, President Joe Biden kicked off his campaign Tuesday for a second term in office.
“When I ran for president four years ago, I said we’re in a battle for the soul of America and we still are,” he said in a 3-minute video posted this morning to Twitter. “The question we’re facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer.”
Biden, 80, has been an elected member of the federal government for all but four years since 1973. He would be 86 at the end of second term, but he was already the oldest president in U.S. history when he was first inaugurated in 2021. The country's second oldest president was Donald Trump, who will turn 77 in June.
Trump is not mentioned in the video released Tuesday, though the backside of his head does briefly come into focus between images from the Jan. 6, 2021, attempted insurrection and protests about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. In a voiceover, Biden warns of the attack on education and civil rights from those on the right who champion Trump's “Make America Great Again” slogan.
In broad strokes about the achievements of his own administration, Biden says he has expanded civil rights and fought “to make sure that everyone in this country is treated equally and that everyone is given a fair shot at making it.” Pictures of his Supreme Court appointee, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, appear in the video as well.
Economic trends, including persistent and widespread inflation, are likely to be a top concern for voters in the coming election. Biden will also likely face tough questions about his administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
While his plans to run again have been expected for months — and his message of contrast against far-right GOP rhetoric is one that Biden has amplified in recent weeks — his choice of Tuesday to announce the 2024 campaign came four years to the day that Biden entered the 2020 election. In the original video, Biden proclaimed that he was inspired to run after the deadly 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He ultimately took the state's 13 electoral votes despite never campaigning in the city.
Two Democrats have already announced their intention to challenge Biden in a primary: author Marianne Williamson and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Polling at an average of 34.5% between Feb. 6 and April 19, according to RealClearPolitics, Biden's advantage in the race is substantial.
Vice President Kamala Harris has made no indication that she enter the ring as well, making her a likely candidate to be Biden’s running mate if he secures the Democratic nomination. No incumbent president has chosen a different running mate in their reelection campaign since Franklin Roosevelt, who had a different vice presidential candidate in 1936, 1940 and 1944.
No sitting president has also lost a primary contest — although Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson dropped out of the race after facing a strong challenger early in voting.
Five candidates have announced their campaigns for the Republican nomination: Trump, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and radio host Larry Elder.
Trump is by far the frontrunner, with a polling average of 52.9% between March 29 and April 19, according to RealClearPolitics.
The Libertarian Party, which received ballot access in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the past two presidential elections, has five candidates seeking its nomination. The party received 3.28% of the national vote in 2016 and 1.18% in 2020.Follow @TheNolanStout
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