'Let's finish this job': US President Joe Biden announces 2024 reelection bid

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Thursday, April 27, 2023

Harris (l), Biden (c), and former President Bill Clinton (r) at the White House on February 2.
Image: Cameron Smith.

Tuesday, United States President Joe Biden, a Democrat, announced he was running for reelection to a second term in 2024.

In a three-minute launch video, released exactly four years after he announced his 2020 campaign, images of the January 6 United States Capitol attack and an abortion rights protest appeared while Biden said: "Freedom. Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans. There's nothing more important. Nothing more sacred."

"Around the country, MAGA [Make America Great Again] extremists are lining up to take on those bedrock freedoms," Biden said. He continued, "Cutting Social Security that you've paid for your entire life while cutting taxes for the very wealthy. Dictating what healthcare decisions women can make, banning books, and telling people who they can love. All while making it more difficult for you to be able to vote."

Trump at Turning Point Action in Tampa, Florida, July 2022
Image: Gage Skidmore.

Amid a montage of himself, Vice President Kamala Harris, his first term, civilians, and his Republican opponents, among them former President Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, a US Representative from Georgia, Biden said: "When I ran for president four years ago, I said we are in a battle for the soul of America. And we still are. The question we are facing is whether in the years ahead we have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer."

"This is not a time to be complacent. That's why I'm running for reelection," he said. "This is our moment [to] defend democracy. Stand up for our personal freedoms. Stand up for the right to vote and our civil rights [...] Let's finish this job. I know we can."

In his first event during his 2024 campaign, Biden Tuesday cited job increases of tens of thousands in the construction industry before North America's Building Trades Unions members cheering "Let's Go Joe": "We — you and I — together we're turning things around and we're doing it in a big way [...] It's time to finish the job. Finish the job." Biden previously proclaimed his would be "the most pro-union administration in American history."

Biden speaking to the IUOE Local 77 in Maryland, April 19.
Image: Maryland GovPics.

In the Democratic primary, among those already running were Marianne Williamson, an author of self-help books and spiritual advisor who sought the nomination in 2020 but did not contest any state primaries, and Kennedy family member Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Trump already began his campaign to retake the presidency after Biden defeated him in 2020.

Former US President Barack Obama, under whom Biden served as vice president, retweeted the launch video and, linking Biden's campaign website, said: "Proud of all that @JoeBiden and his administration have accomplished these last few years. He's delivered for the American people — and he'll continue to do so once he's re-elected. Let's get to work!"

A statement from Republican National Committee (RNC) chair Ronna McDaniel argued: "Biden is so out-of-touch that after creating crisis after crisis, he thinks he deserves another four years.

"If voters let Biden 'finish the job,' inflation will continue to skyrocket, crime rates will rise, more fentanyl will cross our open borders, children will continue to be left behind, and American families will be worse off [...] Republicans are united to beat Biden and Americans are counting down the days until they can send Biden packing."

The campaign's logo.
Image: Joe Biden 2024 presidential campaign.

An RNC ad used artificial intelligence to create clips of what NBC News described as an "apocalyptic future" during a second Biden term.

Pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again, Inc.'s CEO, Taylor Budowich, released a statement claiming, "America is on the brink of a deadly nuclear war" and calling Biden's presidency a "failure".

"Americans are struggling to afford groceries and gas. The border has been opened to millions of unknown illegal immigrants and tons of deadly drugs. Joe Biden does not deserve four more years to further destroy America," it continued. "The choice will be clear for voters in 2024 [...] President Trump made America great once and he will do it again."

Harris emphasized abortion rights in a Tuesday rally at her alma mater, Washington, D.C.'s Howard University: "These extremist so-called leaders would dare to tell us what is in our own best interest. Well I say, I trust the women of America. I trust the people of America [...] So don't get in our way because if you do, we're going to stand up, we're going to organize and we're going to speak up and we're going to say we're not having that, we're not playing that!"

The vice president called herself "proud to run for reelection [...] so we can finish the job."

Iowa-based Democratic presidential campaign strategist Jeff Link predicted to NBC News: "The big attack against Biden will be his age and his capability [...] He needs to show that he is engaged and focused and working for working families. And you've got to do that continuously."

"Folks are still concerned about the threat that Trump poses," Link continued. "Having a second Biden term is critical for making sure that Trump doesn't get back in the White House. Biden uses that line 'Don't compare me to the Almighty, compare me to the alternative,' and I think that's going to be very relevant," with anti-Trump voters.

Biden's February State of the Union speech employed the phrase "let's finish the job" over a dozen times and said Republicans "want to take the economy hostage" and wish to see "huge cuts" to "programs that millions of hard-working and middle-class Americans count on."

Gallup, Inc. polling places Biden's approval rating at 40%, with 56% disapproval. When he began his 2020 campaign, the same pollster found he was approved of 53%–35%. Unemployment in the US stood at 3.5%, its lowest in about 50 years. US inflation during Biden's first term reached the highest levels in decades. Inflation later receded to around 5% amid the Federal Reserve's boosts to the interest rate.

An NBC News poll released on Sunday showed 70% of Americans and 51% of Democrats saying they did not think Biden should seek reelection, compared to 60% of Americans and about 33% of Republicans saying the same of Trump. Close to half of Democratic respondents to a recent Reuters-Ipsos poll said they did not think he should launch a reelection campaign, and over 60% of all polled said his age prevented fitness for the office.

Biden, at age 80, is the oldest president in US history. He has declared those objections "totally legitimate", but also said: "Watch me." He has been in federal politics for a half-century and said on the campaign trail in March 2020: "Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else."

Presidential physician Kevin O'Connor concluded from a physical examination in February Biden was "healthy, vigorous", and "fit" for the presidency.

His press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, declined Tuesday to say if he would serve out his entire second term if he won it. She later said on Twitter: "I wanted to be sure that I didn't go into 2024 more than is appropriate under the law. But I can confirm that if re-elected, @POTUS would serve all 8 years."

First Lady Jill Biden said in December she was "all in" for her husband's potential reelection campaign. Joe Biden said his April trip to Ireland "reinforced" his commitment to seek reelection.

Biden selected Julie Chávez Rodriguez, an Executive Office advisor, as his campaign manager, and Quentin Fulks as deputy campaign manager. Fulks managed Georgia US Senator Raphael Warnock's successful reelection bid in 2022.

Biden's 2024 campaign announced its co-chairs as: Lisa Blunt Rochester, Jim Clyburn, and Veronica Escobar — all US Representatives — as well as two US Senators, Chris Coons and Tammy Duckworth. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Jeffrey Katzenberg, an entertainment executive and donor to the Democratic Party, were also appointed co-chairs.