Joe Biden finally announced on Tuesday what he has been dancing about for months: that he is seeking a second term.
The 80-year-old has threw in his hat despite growing questions about his age – which will be 86 at the end of his second term – dire polls and concerns from his own party about whether he is the best candidate.
“Every generation has a moment when they had to stand up for democracy. To stand up for their fundamental freedoms. I believe this is ours,” Biden said in a Twitter video Tuesday morning.
“That is why I am running for re-election as President of the United States. Join us. Let’s finish the job.’
The three-minute video begins with footage of the January 6 Capitol Riot, a Supreme Court abortion protest, and then a clip with him next to Kamala Harris.
President Joe Biden has finally announced that he is running for a second term
His announcement on Tuesday marks the four-year anniversary of his participation in the 2020 presidential election. However, it has been in the works for weeks.
Biden recorded part of the video while at his childhood home in Rehoboth Beach earlier this month and is delaying assembling a campaign staff, including naming longtime adviser Julie Chavez Rodriguez as manager.
But it’s unclear when he’ll actually get on the campaign trail. His week is busy – he has a state dinner with the president of North Korea on Wednesday, on Friday he will present the commander-in-chief trophy to the Air Force Falcons in a ceremony at the White House; and on Saturday, he and Jill Biden will attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
On Friday, he will meet with some of his top donors, according to reports, as he begins the painstaking process of raising the millions needed for a modern presidential campaign.
His campaign message is expected to focus on his performance in office – specifically his bipartisan infrastructure plan, his CHIPS plan and his US bailout in response to the COVID pandemic.
Biden will also bring back a theme from his latest bid for the White House: his fight for democracy and reducing the threat he sees “MAGA Republicans” pose to the country. He often accuses Republicans of trying to cut entitlement programs that harm the middle class — a voting bloc that tends to decide presidential elections. He calls the far right an “attack on the soul of our nation.”
But unlike in 2020, when Biden focused his attacks on Trump, this time he will have to defend his own White House record. And Republicans have already tried the battle lines: beating Biden for what they call out-of-control government spending, hammering him at high inflation and the national debt, and criticizing him for not doing enough on illegal immigration.
“Being a candidate for president for the first time is ambitious. You can make all kinds of big, bold promises,” former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on her MSNBC Sunday, predicting an “incredibly difficult” re-election campaign for the president.
“When you run for re-election, you actually get your report from the American people.”
Biden is entering the race as half of Democrats admit they prefer another option for their presidential candidate and Republicans have doubled their support for Donald Trump amid the former president’s legal troubles.
At 80, Biden is the oldest person ever to be elected president, and questions about his health remain. His doctor has cleared him fit to serve, but Biden has shown signs of feeling his years: He sometimes walks with a limp, he has tripped as he climbed the stairs to board Air Force One, and he has multiple verbal blunders made.
And he will be on public display in the coming year in a way he wasn’t during the 2020 campaign, when he campaigned from zoom rallies and in rare car rallies due to the dangers of COVID.
The American people will regularly see him on the road, interacting with voters and showing that he is fit to serve.
Joe and Jill Biden at the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which was held virtually due to the COVID pandemic
Joe Biden took the oath of office as a senator in January 1973 when he was first elected
In addition, this year’s Democratic National Convention will be held in person and Biden is expected to do the traditional campaign stops — big and small: mass rallies, shaking hands at dinner parties, and selfies on the rope line.
His health will be monitored and Republicans will be looking for an opportunity to question it.
The GOP is also expected to use Biden’s age to question Kamala Harris’ suitability to be commander in chief. She is expected to be a target in the campaign as Republicans ask Americans if they are comfortable with her next in line for president.
And whether or not she turns out to be a political liability — as some Democrats fear — remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Biden will have to weigh the demands of the campaign against the challenges of the presidency.
He won’t just have Republican presidential candidates attacking him. The GOP has the majority in the House of Representatives and Biden is already at war with Speaker Kevin McCarthy over how to raise the US debt limit before the country defaults on its loans this summer.
In addition, House Republicans are investigating his son Hunter Biden, who may face federal charges in the coming days.
If Biden wins a second term, he will be 86 when he leaves office in January 2029.
When asked about concerns about his age, Biden simply replied, “Look at me.”
But his age worries voters.
According to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll last week, only half of Democrats, or 47%, think Biden should run again. Overall, only 26% of Americans want him to run.
That was revealed on Sunday by a survey by NBC News 70 percent of American adults said Biden should not run for another term, while 26 percent said he should.
On average, 75% of Democrats wanted to renominate Barack Obama during his first presidential term.
Americans have cited Biden’s age and his handling of the economy as reasons for concern.
Then there is the state of the country.
The United States is still struggling to recover from the economic shutdown that occurred during the COVID pandemic. Inflation remains high, as do the cost of food and gas.
And while the Federal Reserves raise interest rates to curb inflation, it costs more to take out a loan to buy a house or a car or pay off a credit card.
The president is also still dealing with the fallout from his chaotic handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.
Biden’s approval rating hovers in the low 40s — he’s at 43% in the Real Clear Politics Survey Average.
President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff – Republicans are expected to target the Vice President
House Republicans are investigating Biden’s son Hunter
But unless a spoiler candidate enters the race, Biden has an easy walk to the Democratic nomination. So far, his competitor is anti-vaxxer Robert Kennedy Jr. and spiritual advisor to the stars Marianne Williamson.
And the Democrats appear to be moving towards a state of acceptance when it comes to voting for Biden in the November 2024 election. The Democratic National Committee does not appear to be scheduling primary debates, leaving Biden free to focus on his general election message.
Other prominent Democrats, including Governors Gavin Newsom of California and JB Pritzker of Illinois, said they would not challenge the incumbent president.
Leading the race for the Republican nomination is Donald Trump, who defeated Biden in 2020 by winning the Electoral College 306 to 232, including victories in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia.
Trump is 76 years old. But some Democrats fear a younger, more vibrant GOP candidate could jeopardize Biden’s re-election chances.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is considering a run and could announce this spring. At the age of 44, he and his wife Casey have three young children.