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Biden finally ready to shift into campaign mode

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D.C.’s favorite parlor game is coming to an end. 

President Biden is expected to make his reelection announcement as soon as Tuesday, beginning the 80-year-old career politician’s final campaign. 

The president recently told reporters upon arriving back in the U.S. from a week in Ireland that he would make a 2024 announcement “relatively soon,” but again noted it has always been his plan to run again. 

Multiple outlets reported Thursday that Biden and his team are preparing to announce his reelection via video on Tuesday, while a source close to the administration told The Hill that Biden may announce next week. 

And while many questions remain about Biden’s 2024 campaign — chief among them who will be leading it — the pieces are falling into place. 

Biden and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) earlier this month announced next year’s convention would take place in Chicago. And top Democratic donors are reportedly expected to meet with Biden next week ahead of a likely campaign.

An announcement next Tuesday would be on the fourth anniversary of Biden launching his 2020 presidential campaign in 2019. That date would align with Biden’s reputation as a creature of habit who leans into traditions.

One Democratic official close to the Biden administration noted in an interview that former President Obama announced his own reelection in April 2011 via an online video, a strategy the Biden team may seek to emulate in lieu of a larger event with more fanfare.

Another source involved in Democratic politics agreed, saying the announcement will likely be a very soft launch with no big event. 

Biden is expected to address the North America’s Building Trades Unions’ legislative conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, though the White House has not released a detailed schedule for next week.

Biden and his team have yet to settle on a campaign manager for his 2024 bid, though White House aides Anita Dunn and Jen O’Malley Dillon are likely to play a central role in the campaign from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Some former aides are also expected to be by the president’s side on the trail, including ex-chief of staff Ron Klain, who said on his way out in February that he looks forward to being with his old boss in 2024. Former communications director Kate Bedingfield, who served as deputy campaign manager in 2020, also left the White House in February.

The timeline around Biden making a formal announcement that he will seek reelection has repeatedly slipped. It was first reported he may launch a 2024 campaign ahead of February’s State of the Union, a date that came and went with no announcement. Some outlets later reported Biden was eyeing a spring announcement, with others saying the president wouldn’t announce until summer.

While Biden has in public comments repeatedly made clear he intends to run again while punting on an official announcement, the president’s allies have long said there’s no reason to rush.

They argue that a formal announcement triggers fundraising reporting requirements and could distract from Biden’s ability to show he’s putting the American people’s needs first at a particularly critical juncture.

Even with speculation of Biden’s campaign announcement heating up, the White House has worked to show it is focused on avoiding a potential government default amid a standoff with congressional Republicans, which could delay an announcement. 

“Any announcement or anything that is related to 2024 certainly will not come from here,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said this week.

Biden this week repeatedly bashed Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) debt limit proposal, as well as his speech to Wall Street in which the California Republican outlined desired cuts to government programs.

“I don’t know how the debt ceiling plays out, but I think getting the announcement out before the shit show of all shit shows, is smart. Might be the last predictable window,” a former Democratic official said.

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week that Biden’s team was right to be patient with the announcement. 

“And they have the ability to do that because there isn’t a primary at this point in time,” she said on a podcast with journalist Kara Swisher. 

“But their objective to kind of run President Biden as competence versus chaos is playing out on its own,” Psaki added. “It’s actually better for him not to be a political candidate and just be like meeting with foreign leaders and announcing stuff and traveling around the country.”

A year ago, Biden was facing speculation about whether any prominent Democrats would step up to challenge him for the nomination amid sinking poll numbers and rampant inflation concerns. Since then, the economy has largely stabilized and Biden has built consensus internationally in response to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

While Biden is still polling with a favorability rating around 40 percent and questions about his age have persisted, the only Democrats to announce campaigns challenging Biden are political outsiders unlikely to draw significant support: Author Marianne Williamson, who ran in 2020, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a member of the Kennedy dynasty who has promoted anti-vaccine conspiracies.

“Nobody is whispering about him not running now that people are behind him, because he’s done a good job and he deserves it,” said David Thomas, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). 

“I think he should just go out and keep doing what he’s doing.”

Source: The Hill

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