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Biden, 80, announces plan to run for re-election in 2024

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President Joe Biden dismissed concerns about his aging as he formally announced Tuesday that he is running for re-election in 2024.

He asked voters to give him more time to “finish the job” he started when he was sworn into office, and to put aside their concerns about extending the term of America’s oldest president for another four years.

Biden, who will turn 86 at the end of a second term, is betting on his legislative achievements in the first term, and his more than 50 years of experience in Washington will be more important than concerns about his age.

He faces a smooth path to winning his party’s nomination, with no serious Democratic challenger. But he remains prepared for an uphill battle to retain the presidency in a deeply divided country.

The announcement, in a three-minute video, comes on the four-year anniversary when Biden announced to the White House in 2019, promising to heal the “soul of the nation” amid the turbulent presidency of Donald Trump — a goal he has remained elusive.

“I said we are in a fight for the soul of America and we still are,” Biden said. “The question we face is whether in the coming years we will have more freedom or less freedom. More rights or fewer.”

While the question of seeking re-election is a given to most modern presidents, this has not always been the case for Biden, with a prominent segment of Democratic voters indicating they would prefer not to run, in part because of his age — concerns Biden described as “completely legitimate” but not addressed. Live in the launch video.

However, few things have united Democratic voters like the prospect of a Trump return to power. And Biden’s political standing within his party has stabilized after Democrats had a stronger-than-expected showing in last year’s midterm elections, as the president embarked on a run again on the same issues that strengthened his party last fall, particularly on preserving abortion access.

“Freedom. Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans. Nothing is more important. Nothing is more sacred,” Biden said in the launch video, which portrayed the Republican Party as an extremist trying to roll back access to abortion, cut Social Security, restrict voting rights and ban books with which they disagree. “Across the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take away those basic freedoms.”

“This is not the time for complacency,” Biden added. “That is why I am running for re-election.”

As the campaign profiles begin to shape, Biden plans to campaign on his record. He spent the first two years of his presidency fighting the coronavirus pandemic and paying major bills like a bipartisan infrastructure package and legislation to boost high-tech manufacturing and climate measures.

With Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives, Biden has shifted his focus to implementing those formidable laws and making sure voters credit him for improvements while sharpening his antithesis to the GOP ahead of an expected showdown over raising the nation’s borrowing limit that could prove debilitating. The consequences for the country’s economy.

But the president also has multiple policy goals and unfulfilled promises from his first campaign, in which he pleaded with voters to give him another chance to deliver.

“Let’s get this job done. I know we can,” Biden said in the video, repeating a mantra he said dozens of times during his February State of the Union address, scoring everything from passing a ban on assault weapons and lowering the cost of prescription drugs to legalizing a national right to abortion after the Supreme Court ruled last year to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Buoyed by the midterm results, Biden plans to continue to portray all Republicans as espousing what he calls “extreme maga” policies — a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan — regardless of whether his predecessor ends up on the 2024 ballot.

He’s spent the past several months on road-testing campaign themes, including painting Republicans as fighting for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy as he tries to slash Social Safety Net benefits that Americans rely on every day and roll back access to abortion services.

Speaking in short video clips and photos of key moments in his presidency, footage of assorted Americans and flashes of his outspoken Republican opponents, including Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Biden exhorted his supporters to “this is our moment” to stand up for democracy. Defend our personal freedoms. Stand up for the right to vote and our civil rights.”

Biden also plans to point to his work over the past two years strengthening US alliances, leading a global coalition to support Ukraine’s defenses against a Russian invasion and getting the US back into the Paris climate agreement. But public support in the United States for Ukraine has waned in recent months, and some voters question the flow of tens of billions of dollars in military and economic aid to Kiev.

The president faces lingering criticism over his administration’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 after nearly 20 years of war, which has undermined the image of competence he aimed to project to the world, and finds himself the target of GOP attacks over his immigration and economic policies.

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