Joe Biden announces he is running for president in 2020
After months of deliberation, former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday announced his decision to run for president for a third time, answering one of the biggest outstanding questions about the makeup of the 2020 race.
The announcement came in a campaign video released Thursday morning.
In his campaign announcement video, Biden rebuked the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 and President Donald Trump's handling of the aftermath.
"He said there were quote some very fine people on both sides," Biden said. "With those words, the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime."
Biden framed the 2020 race as a "battle for the soul of this nation."
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"The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America, America, is at stake," Biden said in the video. "That's why today I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States."
Later Thursday, Biden will attend a fundraiser in Philadelphia before appearing on ABC's "The View" for his first television interview since the announcement on Friday. On Monday, he will hold his first official event in Pittsburgh, followed by a swing through early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in the coming weeks.
On May 18, Biden will host a rally in Philadelphia where he will "lay out his vision for unifying America with respected leadership on the world stage," according to his campaign.
Biden, 76, enters the crowded Democratic primary field of 20 candidates as the presumptive front-runner sitting atop the most recent polls. But his more than four-decades-long career is set to undergo an unprecedented level of scrutiny as he seeks to win the Democratic nomination to take on Trump in a general election.
Biden, a centrist Democrat who often touts his relationships with those across the aisle, also will grapple with a Democratic Party that is increasingly feeling a pull from the left with a number of progressive candidates, like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, in the 2020 race.
"I'm told I get criticized by the new left," Biden said at an event in Delaware last month. "I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the United ... anybody who would run."
Trump has described a general election match-up against the former vice president as a "dream," while some Republicans cast Biden, who has crafted a political brand aimed at appealing to working-class voters, as the most feared potential Democratic opponent for the President.
Shortly after jumping in the race Thursday morning, Biden picked up endorsements from Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Chris Coons of Delaware. One notable Democratic heavyweight, however, did not immediately throw his support behind the former vice president. A person close to former President Barack Obama told CNN that Obama is "excited" by the growing field, but he is "unlikely" to come out in support of a candidate this early in the primary season.
In recent weeks, Biden indicated he was close to mounting a 2020 campaign after gaining approval from his family to run for president for a third time. But he also acknowledged there were a number of other hurdles he still needed to work through, including fundraising, digital strategy, assembling a diverse campaign team and ensuring there is an appeal for a Biden run.