Biden Announces for President

He's already been endorsed by four senators and hired Sanders's 2016 press secretary.

April 25, 2019, 10:50 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced he is running for president Thursday “with an announcement video released on social media.”

“The entry of Biden, 76 and for eight years the second-in-command to the last Democrat to successfully seek the presidency, is certain to shape the early months of the 2020 Democratic primary fight, given his early lead in national polling. Biden made his announcement hours before a major campaign fundraiser was to take place in Philadelphia. His first campaign event, union-themed, is expected to be held Monday in Pittsburgh, a Democratic city whose suburbs and exurbs are filled with the sort of voters who abandoned the Democratic party to side with President Trump in 2016.”

“For months, a tight group of current and former advisers has been knitting together a campaign plan to prepare for a run, talking with him as he has vacillated on his desire to throw his hat in the ring. They include Steve Ricchetti, a former lobbyist who served as his last chief of staff in the White House; former senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), a longtime friend whom he helped appoint to his vacant Senate seat after the 2008 election; and Mike Donilon, a longtime aide.”

“In a statement shortly after the release of Biden’s video, an Obama spokeswoman praised Biden’s tenure as vice president but stopped short of offering the former president’s endorsement.”

Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill: “President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made. He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.” (Washington Post)

“As he joins a race with 19 other Democratic candidates, Mr. Biden is in an unaccustomed political position: He is an early front-runner for the nomination, though by no means an imposing one. He has run four previous national campaigns—two as a little-noticed candidate for the presidential nomination in 1988 and 2008, and two as Mr. Obama’s running mate—but in a half-century career he has never been the starring actor in a major political production of his own inception.” (New York Times)

Biden, to reporters at the train station in Wilmington, DE, on Thursday: "I asked President Obama not to endorse." (CNN)

ENDORSEMENTS. Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Doug Jones (D-AL), along with Reps. Tom Suozzo (D-NY), Matt Cartwright (D-PA), and Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), all endorsed Biden on Thursday. (release)

MORE BIDEN. “On the eve of announcing his presidential bid,” Biden “raised the alarm about fundraising in a Wednesday conference call with top donors and supporters.”

Biden: “The money’s important. We’re going to be judged by what we can do in the first 24 hours, the first week. People think Iowa and New Hampshire are the first test. It’s not. The first 24 hours. That’s the first test. Those [early states] are way down the road. We’ve got to get through this first.” (Politico)

Biden’s campaign “won’t accept donations from federal lobbyists―but a fundraiser scheduled for the first day of his campaign also shows the limitations of such a pledge. Biden is set to attend a fundraiser Thursday night at the Philadelphia home of Comcast executive David Cohen, according to an invite first published by Politico and later obtained by HuffPost. While Cohen is not a registered lobbyist, he does oversee the cable giant’s massive Washington lobbying operation, which spent more than $4 million and involved more than three dozen lobbying firms in the first quarter of 2019 alone.” (HuffPost)

Biden hired Symone Sanders, "a prominent African American political strategist, as a senior adviser to his newly launched presidential campaign. The move adds a younger, diverse voice to Biden’s cadre of top advisers, which has been dominated by older white men. It suggests Biden is seeking to broaden his appeal to a new generation of Democrats.

"Sanders, 29, rose to prominence during the 2016 campaign as press secretary for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. She then became a high-profile political analyst on CNN and is likely to be a forceful Biden defender on television. Sanders has been heavily recruited by 2020 contenders. She had a lengthy meeting with the former vice president a few weeks ago and he followed up with a job offer." (AP)

BERNIE. “The groans erupted halfway through Bernie Sanders’s appearance Wednesday at a presidential candidates’ forum sponsored by She the People, a group that aims to drive up voter participation among women of color. Before an audience of about 1,700, many of them African American and Hispanic women, the moderator asked Sanders (I-VT) how he would handle the rise in white supremacy. Sanders spoke of fighting discrimination and running a campaign ‘to bring our people together around an agenda that speaks to all people’—then returned to a familiar message on universal health care. For many in the audience, that was insufficient. ‘Come on!’ a woman shouted from the back, as others began to jeer and boo.” (Washington Post)

BOOKER. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who picked up the first two state legislative endorsements in Iowa—with the latest coming this week—is set to roll out “a series of endorsements from influential Iowa activists and elected officials who will serve key organizing roles ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucus. The group will include prominent community activists, party leaders, educators, and student leaders,” according to his campaign. (Hotline reporting)

“Booker released 10 years of tax returns Wednesday, showing his income plunged last year but he remained generous toward charity. Booker reported income of $152,715 in 2018 for his salary as a U.S. senator from New Jersey. He paid $22,781 in taxes and had an effective tax rate of 19 percent.” (AP)

BUTTIGIEG. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) “has received his first endorsement from a member of Congress. Three-term Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) said he’s backing him for 2020. (AP)

“Deep-pocketed L.G.B.T.Q. donor networks have turned … Buttigieg … into an unlikely political dynamo—and, perhaps, America’s best hope of beating Donald Trump. “What is going on now is one of the untold secrets of the D.N.C. and Democratic party,” says one gay rights leader. Is this his Obama moment?” (Vanity Fair)

GABBARD. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) campaign “had just one full-time employee in the first three months of the year.”

“A review of Federal Election Commission records show Gabbard’s campaign made a single payment of less than $2,600 to field staffer Amaury Dujardin. Every other member of Gabbard’s campaign staff, including her campaign manager, was paid as a consultant, not a full-time employee. By contrast, the campaign spent $30,850 on billboard advertisements over the same period.It’s not uncommon for campaigns to structure their payrolls that way. Classifying staff as contractors instead of full-time employees allows them to avoid payroll taxes and the costs of providing benefits to its employees, which can be substantial.” (Daily Beast)

HARRIS. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) “spoke to a standing-room-only crowd of around 400 Dartmouth students and Upper Valley residents Tuesday afternoon in Alumni Hall. Speaking on topics ranging from healthcare to racism to … Trump’s foreign policy, Harris spoke about her policies and campaign for about 30 minutes before taking two questions from the audience.” (The Dartmouth)

WARREN. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “wants to drive down the maternal mortality rate among African-American women… Speaking in Houston on Monday, [Warren] suggested that medical providers should be rewarded with ‘bonus’ funds for reducing those numbers, which are three or four times higher than for white women.”

Warren: "And if they don't, then they're going to have money taken away from them. I want to see the hospitals see it as their responsibility to address this problem head-on and make it a first priority. The best way to do that is to use money to make it happen, because we gotta have change and we gotta have change now." (CNN)

Warren is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa today for a meet and greet, with three more stops in Iowa on Friday before heading to Nevada on Saturday. (release)

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