(Via NBC News) WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden launched his third bid for the presidency, positioning himself as a trusted champion of the middle class eager to take the fight to President Donald Trump. In a video released early Thursday morning, Biden said that “we are in a battle for the soul of this nation.”
His long-anticipated entry into the jam-packed 2020 Democratic field comes almost four months after Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts became the first big-name Democrat to take her initial steps toward a run, but with a marathon 41 weeks left until the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
The former two-term vice president and six-term senator from Delaware enters as the putative front-runner, at or near the top of every state and national poll, and with a recognized political brand cultivated during almost a half-century in public office.
But he faces serious obstacles in his bid for the Democratic nomination, including a restive and vocal liberal base, his past policy positions on major issues, and a campaign infrastructure being built in real time. And at 76, he’s older than almost all of the 19 other Democrats in the race so far.
One of Biden’s first acts as a declared candidate, in fact, will be to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in Philadelphia on Thursday evening — reflecting an urgent need to catch up financially to the rest of the field.
His team is also working to quickly build a digital infrastructure to grow an online, grassroots supporter base that can fuel the campaign with small-dollar donations.
Biden’s first public scheduled event will come Monday afternoon in Pittsburgh, where he will speak to members of the Teamsters union about rebuilding the middle class. He’ll then travel to early primary and caucus states before wrapping up his launch week back in Philadelphia, where advisers say he lay out a vision bringing Americans together in a polarized time.
Biden is relying heavily not only on the support of organized labor in securing the nomination, but also to get his campaign off the ground. His first organized public event is slated for Monday at a Teamsters union hall in Pittsburgh. The International Association of Fire Fighters is slated to meet in the next 24 hours to make its expected endorsement official.
His strength and popularity in polls can only be partially explained by his universal name recognition, since other candidates, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are almost as well known as Biden but have lower favorability ratings.