Former U. S. Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday morning he’s running for president in 2020, joining a crowded field of Democrats eager to take on President Donald Trump. “The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy… everything that has made America America is at stake,” he said in a video ending months of speculation.

Biden’s announcement comes after more than a dozen other Democratic contenders have announced their entries into the race, including Senators Kersten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg are also running.

In the 3.5-minute video announcing his 2020 bid, Biden cited the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 and Trump’s response to it as a reason for his candidacy. Trump notoriously claimed there were “very fine people” attending the rally and protesting it.

“We are in the battle for the soul of this nation,” Biden said in his campaign video, a reference to an op-ed he wrote for The Atlantic in the aftermath of the rally.

“I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time,” he continued in the video. “But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation … and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

From his 36 years in the Senate and eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama, Biden’s strengths are clear.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for Obama, said in a statement Thursday. “He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency.”

Biden is well-versed in foreign policy and judicial matters, having chaired both Senate committees on these issues. He helped write and pass the Violence Against Women Act. As Obama’s second-in-command, he was a key negotiator with Republican leaders in Congress and helped resolve the debt ceiling crisis in 2011 and the impending fiscal cliff in 2012.

But he has obvious weak spots in his political record. At 76, Biden could easily be the oldest president elected in U.S. history. As a senator representing Delaware, he supported the Iraq War and helped author the 1994 crime bill, which fuelled an epidemic of mass incarceration. He still defends the crime bill which he praised in his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad.” 

Biden has also been criticized for failing to protect law professor Anita Hill after she accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991. As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden would not call witnesses to corroborate Hill’s story and did little to stop personal attacks from Republicans.

This is Biden’s third time running for president. He ran in 1988 and then again in 2008. He considered a run in 2016 but opted against it after losing his son Beau to cancer.

In a December interview, he said he’s prepared to address all of his potential weaknesses as a candidate ― including his tendency to commit gaffes — but said they pale in comparison to Trump’s worst qualities.

“I am a gaffe machine, but, my God, what a wonderful thing compared to a guy who can’t tell the truth,” Biden said. “I’m ready to litigate all those things. The question is, what kind of nation are we becoming? What are we going to do? Who are we?”

In a tweet, President Trump reacted to the announcement thus: “Welcome to the race Sleepy Joe. I only hope you have the intelligence, long in doubt, to wage a successful primary campaign. It will be nasty – you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!”

With : Huffpost

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