The worst-kept secret in Washington is out: Joe Biden announces 2024 reelection campaign

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced his 2024 reelection campaign in a video released Tuesday morning, telling Americans “let’s finish this job” as he seeks a second term in the White House.

Biden, making official a campaign that has long been expected, said the country remains in a “battle for the soul of America,” doubling down on the central message of his campaign four years ago. He said the question facing the nation is “whether, in the years ahead, we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer.”

“This is not a time to be complacent,” Biden said in the three-minute video. “That’s why I’m running for reelection. Because I know America. I know we’re good and decent people. I know we’re still a country that believes in honesty and respect and treating each other with dignity.”

For months, Biden has said that he intends to run for a second term. But he held off making a formal announcement. He timed his entry with the four-year anniversary of his entry into the 2020 presidential campaign.

Biden rails on ‘MAGA extremists’ as he kicks off campaign

Biden lacks a formidable Democratic challenger for the party’s nomination. Former President Donald Trump has secured frontrunner status in the Republican presidential primary. Although Biden did not mention Trump by name, the video includes images of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and an overt reference to Trump’s hold on the Republican Party.

“Around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms, cutting Social Security that you paid for your entire life while cutting taxes for the very wealthy,” Biden said. “Dictating what health care decisions women can make. Banning books. And telling people who they can love.”

Biden’s move comes as he remains hampered by low approval ratings in the low 40s and concerns about the economy. Polls continue to show the majority of Democrats prefer someone else as their nominee. Biden, 80, is already the oldest-serving president, and he would be 86 when he finishes a second term if he wins reelection.

Biden is set to address the North America’s Building Trades Unions at 12:30 p.m. ET at the Washington Hilton hotel, giving him an audience of loyal supporters to deliver his first speech as a 2024 candidate.

“Every generation of Americans has faced a moment when they’ve had to defend democracy, stand up for our personal freedoms, and stand up for our right to vote and our civil rights,” Biden said. “This is our moment.”

Who is leading the campaign?

The Biden campaign unveiled a leadership team that includes several close allies as campaign national co-chairs: Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester, D-Del., Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Biden named Julie Chávez Rodriguez his campaign manager. Chávez Rodriguez has served as senior advisor to the president and White House director of intergovernmental affairs. Chávez Rodriguez, the granddaughter of civil rights leader Cesar Chávez, served as deputy campaign manager for Biden’s 2020 campaign.

Quentin Fulks, a Democratic strategist who recently served as campaign manger for Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock’s 2022 campaign, will serve as deputy campaign manager.

Why is Biden announcing now?

Biden’s announcement sets the stage for a possible rematch with Trump, whom he defeated in 2020. Trump has received a string of Republican congressional endorsements in recent days including Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Though Biden already has made his intentions known, he has been in no hurry to formally announce his plans. Incumbents tend to hold off their reelection announcements as long as possible. Biden has felt no need to speed up his announcement since no viable Democrat challengers have emerged so far.

Besides the symmetry with his 2020 run, Biden’s decision to the launch the campaign now is largely driven by a desire to start fundraising: His last campaign raised more than $1 billion, and he’ll need to marshal even more this time around. The move will also allow his campaign to begin airing television ads.

What do the polls say?

Biden enters the 2024 race with polls showing that voters are less than enthusiastic about the prospects of either him or Trump returning to the White House.

Only half of Democrats, or 47%, said in a poll released last week that Biden should run again in 2024. The good news: 81% said they’d probably vote for him in the general election if he’s the nominee, according to The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released late last week.

Trump, 76, fared only slightly better: 44% of Republicans said they don’t want him to run for reelection.

A separate USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll released Sunday found that Biden’s standing among those who backed him in 2020 is wide but shallow. While 85% of his 2020 supporters approve of the job he’s doing as president, 43% reported being less excited about supporting him next time.

Who are the other Democrats running?

While Democrats may not be overly enthusiastic about another Biden campaign, no serious challenger has stepped forward.

Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., known mostly as the champion of a debunked conspiracy theory blaming childhood vaccines for autism, announced last week that he’s running.

Kennedy enters the race with the supports with the support of 14% of voters who backed Biden in 2020, an exclusive USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds.

The findings underscore Biden’s potential vulnerability to a more mainstream challenger for the Democratic nomination, although none has emerged so far, or to a third-party candidate in the general election.

Self-help author Marianne Williamson, a quixotic candidate for the nomination in 2020, also plans another longshot bid in 2024.

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