Former US Vice President Joe Biden jumped into the race for the White House Thursday, positioning the veteran Democrat as a frontrunner among the many candidates seeking to challenge Donald Trump in 2020.
The party’s 76-year-old senior statesman is the most experienced and recognized Democrat in the race, a popular former vice president who has been dominating early polls following months — even years — of campaign planning.
In a tweet accompanied by a three-and-a-half minute video, Biden said he could not stand idly by as US President Donald Trump “fundamentally altered the character of this nation”.
“The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy… everything that has made America — America — is at stake,” he wrote in the post.
“That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.”
Biden, whose working-class appeal remains intact despite nearly half a century in Washington politics, is seen as a comforting, known quantity for American voters who will be vetting some 20 Democrats now officially in the presidential field.
But recent controversy over his tactile style, particularly with women, could dampen a rollout that he envisioned as the final main entry to the Democratic primary battle.
Even before his official announcement, Biden, who served eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, led most surveys of Democratic voters.
The RealClearPolitics poll aggregate puts him as favourite with 29.3 percent support, followed by independent Senator Bernie Sanders at 23 percent.
The record number of candidates means Biden finds himself in a field of unprecedented diversity as he makes his third run for president, following two unsuccessful attempts in 1988 and 2008.
After the death of his son Beau from cancer, Biden opted out of a presidential campaign in 2016.
As he let the suspense over his political plans drag out for months, his broad lead however has been whittled down, with newer and notably young faces gaining ground including moderate South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who at 37 is less than half Biden’s age.
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