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After Weeks of Hinting, Biden Announces Re-Election Bid

After weeks of hinting at a run for reelection, U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday formally announced his candidacy for 2024, in a three-minute video ad that drew a stark picture of what he believes is at stake: the very soul of America. 

“When I ran for president four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America. And we still are,” Biden says in the video, released on his website.

Biden said in the video he had righted the affairs of state in America and can advance the cause of democracy with another four-year term in the White House.

“The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom, more rights or fewer,” Biden said in the video. “I know what I want the answer to be. This is not a time to be complacent. That’s why I’m running for reelection.”

Biden’s long-awaited announcement, released in the early hours of Tuesday, opens with an evocative image: that of a violent mob thronging the U.S. Capitol as it prepared to mount a failed insurrection attempt on Jan 6, 2021. While Biden shows three elected representatives he has described as “MAGA extremists” – a reference to former president Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” – the ad makes no overt mention of Trump, whose claim to have won the 2020 poll led his followers to storm the Capitol that day. 

A recent Yahoo News-YouGov poll shows that 38 percent of Americans feel “exhaustion” at the idea of a second round between Biden and Trump.

And 29 percent said the idea of a rematch  provoked feelings of “fear.” More than half of respondents – 56 percent – said in the poll, conducted earlier this month, that they didn’t feel Biden should run again. 

Trump released a statement Tuesday in which he continued to maintain the 2020 election was rigged against him, despite multiple recounts and court rulings that found it was not. 

“With such a calamitous and failed presidency, it is almost inconceivable that Biden would even think of running for reelection,” Trump said. “… There has never been a greater contrast between two successive administrations in all of American history. Ours being greatness, and theirs being failure.”

The Biden ad also cites the debate over abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last year to allow each of the 50 states to set its own abortion policy. Vice President Kamala Harris is used to illustrate the administration’s stance in supporting abortion access. Video of her is also used to illustrate that she is the only woman to have risen to such a senior role in American leadership, and further, that her multiethnic identity made that rise even more difficult. 

The announcement by Biden, at 80, already the oldest U.S. president, marks another milestone for one of the most enduring political figures in U.S. history. He has been a public figure for a half-century, 36 years as a U.S. senator from the small eastern state of Delaware, eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama, and then elected as the country’s president and commander in chief in 2020.

While the ad released Tuesday doesn’t reference his age, Biden has repeatedly joked about the matter in recent days, as if to provoke those who say that, at 80, he is too old to hold the world’s most stressful job. 

Last week, he wished Colombia’s president a happy birthday and joked, “it’s very difficult turning 40 years of age.”

President Gustavo Petro, who in fact had turned 63, replied “being 63 is like being 40 in the old generation.”

“I fully subscribe to that,” Biden said. 

While at least two minor candidates have announced a run against Biden for the Democratic nomination, his incumbent status makes it unlikely, given U.S. political precedent, that the party would choose another standard bearer when it meets in summer 2024 in Chicago to officially pick its nominee. Polls show that many Democrats think that Biden would stand the best chance of defeating Trump or another Republican.

Trump is leading nomination polls of Republican voters, although several other figures have announced their candidacy opposing him, or are contemplating a run for the nomination, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, and others.

Ken Bredemeier contributed to this report.