Joe Biden expected to launch 2020 presidential campaign next week
A Joe Biden presidential campaign will officially launch next week, as early as Wednesday, the Associated Press has reported, citing three unnamed sources.
The report follows months of speculation over when the former vice president would join the race to become the Democratic nominee — a contest in which he is expected to be a frontrunner.
As more than a dozen Democratic candidates have officially announced their presidential ambitions in recent months, Biden has strongly suggested a forthcoming campaign.
He has said his family supports a candidacy. He has proclaimed that he is the most qualified person to be president.
And, in a clear jab at President Donald Trump last month, he said, "The penalty that good people pay for not being involved in politics is being governed by people worse than themselves," in a quote he attributed to Plato.
In January, political analyst and former Democratic strategist John Halpin said it would be advantageous for Biden to enter the race later than the other candidates to minimize bruising from inevitable political attacks from Democratic rivals and Trump.
Yet, in recent weeks, such political barbs already have been escalating.
Last month, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker called a Biden-authored 1994 crime bill that provided $30.2 billion for the hiring of 100,000 police officers, "horrible." It was the latest of a raft of criticism of what had been a pillar of the longtime Delaware senator's political platform.
Biden has said many times in recent months that his support for the crime bill was "a big mistake," saying its harsh mandated sentences damaged the black community.
Also, last month, Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman, claimed Biden made her uncomfortable during a 2014 campaign event where she said he put his hands onto her shoulders, smelled her hair and gave her a "big slow kiss" on her head.
Following the account, three other women came forward publicly with similar stories. The claims changed the tenor of the broader Democratic presidential race as many progressives said that kind of behavior, while not sexual, puts women at a disadvantage in professional settings.
Yet many others, including former Delaware Sen. Karen Peterson, a longtime advocate for women's rights, suggested the claims were politically motivated.
"When you're in public office, people are always hugging, grabbing, putting their arm around you. It comes with the territory," she said.
Biden published a video on Twitter earlier this month stating that he acknowledges that "Social norms have begun to change; they’ve shifted."
For his part, Trump responded by tweeting a doctored video of Biden's apology. The video showed two Bidens: one speaking and an image of another, superimposed into the footage, who approached the original from behind and placed his hands on the speaker's shoulders.
The president tweeted, "Welcome back Joe."
Following the controversy, Biden's support may have slipped as other candidates, such as former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, built momentum.
A national poll released on Tuesday showed Sanders ahead of Biden, the first time that has happened this year.
When asked whom they would support from a list of 20 candidates — including "someone else" — 29 percent named Sanders, and 24 percent named Biden in an Emerson College poll released Monday.
Buttigieg came next, the pick of 9 percent of likely Democratic primary voters.
The Atlantic also reported that Biden will announce his presidential decision next week, predicting that he will argue the country needs "an experienced, calm hand."
Contact Karl Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (302) 324-2329. Follow him on Twitter @kbaker6.