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Biden Expected to Launch Campaign      04/20 09:29

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to join the 
crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field next week.

   The decision answers one of the most significant outstanding questions of 
the early presidential primary season, which has already seen announcements 
from 18 other Democrats. Biden, 76, would be the most experienced politician in 
the race, and the second oldest, after 77-year-old Bernie Sanders.

   His plans were confirmed by three people with knowledge of them. They were 
not authorized to discuss the plans publicly and spoke to The Associated Press 
on condition of anonymity. The announcement is expected as early as Wednesday 
and would cap months of deliberation over his political future.

   Already, supportive donors have begun trying to raise money on his behalf.

   "A number of us in San Francisco have begun organizing for Vice President 
Joe Biden and his nascent organization as he prepares to make his announcement 
later this month," wrote California-based attorney Thomas McInerney this week 
in an email obtained by the AP.

   He continued: "If you are interested and able to get in on the ground floor 
of his presidential campaign and help the Vice President make a splash when he 
announces, please consider sending a check now made out to, 'Biden for 
President.'"

   The specific launch date and location is unclear. Biden is likely to soon 
start making visits to early voting states.

   One person said Biden's advisers are also considering an early event in 
Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of a deadly clash between white 
supremacists and counterprotesters in 2017. The location would be intended to 
draw a contrast between Biden and President Donald Trump, who said there were 
some "very fine people on both sides" of the violent confrontation.

   Biden has been particularly outspoken against the rise of white supremacy in 
the Trump era.

   One of the most recognizable names in U.S. politics, Biden served for two 
terms as Barack Obama's vice president after nearly four decades as a senator 
from Delaware. His high-profile, working-class background and connection to the 
Obama years would help him enter the race as a front-runner, though he faces 
questions about his age and whether his more moderate record fits with a party 
that has become more liberal.

   With a record in elected office that stretches half a century, Biden faces 
multiple challenges.

   Last month he struggled to respond to a complaint from Lucy Flores, a 2014 
lieutenant governor nominee in Nevada, that he made her uncomfortable by 
touching her shoulders and kissing the back of her head before a campaign 
event. A few other women have made similar claims, though none has alleged 
sexual misconduct.

   The incident is just a taste of the harsh vetting from both Democrats and 
Republicans expected for Biden, who has run for president twice before but 
never from such a strong political starting point.

   His first White House bid in 1988 ended after a plagiarism scandal. And in 
recent weeks, he was repeatedly forced to explain his 1991 decision, as Senate 
Judiciary Committee chairman, to allow Anita Hill to face questions about her 
allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas, then a nominee for 
the Supreme Court.

   Biden has since apologized for his role in the hearing. But in the #MeToo 
era, it's another example of why critics believe he may struggle to catch on 
with the Democratic primary voters of 2020.

   On paper, however, he may be well positioned to take on Trump in a general 
election.

   The Republican president's allies have privately warned that Biden might be 
the biggest threat to Trump's reelection given Biden's potential appeal among 
the white-working class in the Midwest, the same region that helped Trump win 
the presidency.


(KA)

 
 
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