Biden to Promote Admin Wins in Speech 02/03 06:05
President Joe Biden hasn't announced a reelection campaign, but some of the
themes likely to be the centerpiece of that expected run should be on display
Friday night when he addresses a national Democratic Party meeting.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- President Joe Biden hasn't announced a reelection
campaign, but some of the themes likely to be the centerpiece of that expected
run should be on display Friday night when he addresses a national Democratic
The president will focus on his administration's accomplishments creating
jobs and stimulating domestic manufacturing when he and Vice President Kamala
Harris appear at a Democratic National Committee gathering in Philadelphia.
Before the speech, Biden will visit a water treatment plant and announce
$160 million to upgrade Philadelphia water facilities and replace 20 miles of
lead service lines -- part of a larger effort to remove lead pipes around the
country. An additional $340 million will go to upgrade the city's water system.
Much of that funding comes from a bipartisan infrastructure package Congress
passed in 2021 and is also bankrolling railway projects the president spent
this week trumpeting.
With the State of the Union address coming next week, Biden has renewed
calls for political unity, something he's acknowledged being unable to achieve
despite his promises to do so as a candidate in 2020. But those appeals can
quickly pivot to broadsides against his predecessor, Donald Trump, and the
Republican Party's continued fealty to the former president's "Make America
Great Again" movement.
The DNC says Biden's speech will highlight how Republicans are seeking to
undermine the progress the president says has made during his first two years
-- a theme he's already begun hitting.
"Look, this is not your father's Republican Party," the president said this
week at a DNC fundraiser in New York. "This is a different breed of cat."
He added, "I don't know what's gone haywire here" with the GOP. Going
forward, he said, Democrats will "have to make clear that we're not going to
put up with MAGA Republicans."
Biden is facing increasing pressure in Washington, where a special counsel
is investigating how classified documents turned up in his home and a former
office, and a Republican-controlled House is investigating everything from the
administration's immigration procedures at the U.S.-Mexico border to the
overseas ties of the president's son Hunter.
That's made some top Democrats anxious to see Biden stay on the political
"The president is trying to solve the problems of the nation on
infrastructure, on microchips, on gun safety, on health care, and I think he's
going to talk about doing that," said Randi Weingarten, a DNC member and
president of the American Federation of Teachers. "And then also compare (that)
to the GOP, which seems to be on a revenge agenda."
The president's speech comes the day before the DNC is set to approve an
overhauled presidential primary calendar starting next year that would replace
Iowa with South Carolina in the leadoff spot. New Hampshire and Nevada would go
second, followed by Georgia and Michigan -- a change Biden has championed to
ensure that voters of color have more influence deciding the party's White
The new calendar would be largely moot in the short term if Biden runs
again, reducing the chance of a major Democratic primary challenger.
His expected announcement of a reelection campaign is still likely weeks
away. But Biden's advisers have been preparing for one for months, making
staffing arrangements and readying lines of political attacks against
Republicans seen as early presidential front-runners, including Trump, who
launched his campaign in November, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
"I look forward to being on your side when you run for president in 2024,"
outgoing White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Biden during a farewell
speech Wednesday night.
Alan Clendenin, a DNC member from Florida, said Biden has strengthened the
economy, reestablished U.S. global standing and promoted inclusive values --
the opposite of what Trump and DeSantis stand for.
"They predicted gloom and doom. He's proved them all wrong," said Clendenin,
who kicked off a DNC Southern caucus meeting by noting that Florida has begun
lagging behind other states in key policy areas and joking of its governor,
"That's what happened when you're led by the devil."
Biden repeatedly denounced "extreme MAGA Republicans" as a threat to the
nation's democracy in the runup to last fall's midterm elections, when his
party pulled off a stronger-than-expected showing. The president has since
worked to portray today's GOP as beholden as ever to Trump, saying at the New
York fundraiser, "You'd think that what would happen is that there would be a
little bit, as we Catholics say, (of) an epiphany."
"Well, instead, it's been the exact opposite," Biden said. "They've just
The president will have a harder time campaigning on future legislative
accomplishments now that a House Republican majority has promised to thwart the
White House policy agenda at every turn. A coming fight over extending the
nation's legal debt ceiling may only harden partisan clashes.
Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he and the White House would
continue talking about ways to avoid a debt limit crisis. But, referring to
federal spending, McCarthy said, "The current path we're on we cannot sustain."
Biden has also suggested that simply bashing Republicans won't be enough to
expand his party's electoral base. He acknowledged that his 2020 run brought
the support of "not enough, but a fair number of blue-collar workers" and
lamented that such voters "used to always be our folks."
The president said his party has seen its support among Americans without a
college degree decline "because a lot of people think we left them behind." He
said that perception has more to do with attitude than with policy.
Weingarten, whose union represents 1.7 million members, said Biden is right
to acknowledge criticisms that Democrats can be seen as elitist, but said those
charges were coming from a GOP that has done little to help workers or
families. By contrast, she said, Biden has solidified pension funds, promoted
union membership and helped reduce costs for low income families.
"There's a lot of grievance in the country about the loss of good union
jobs," she said. "Regardless of what has happened in the past, I would say that
Joe Biden is a working person's president."