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May 19, 2019

Biden to call for unity, knock Trump in 2020 launch


May 19, 2019

PHILADELPHIA: Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden kicks off his 2020 presidential bid on Saturday with a call for fairness and equality in America, urging voters to heal deep divisions and reject Donald Trump´s "hard heart".

"Some say Democrats don´t want to hear about unity. That they are angry -- and the angrier you are, the better," Biden will say at a campaign rally in Philadelphia, according to speech excerpts.

"I don´t believe it," he will tell the crowd, adding that he is running for president to offer Democrats and Republicans alike a "different path" towards unity.

"If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart, to demonize the opponents and spew hatred, they don´t need me. They already have a president who does just that."

Biden, 76, sits atop the pack of 2020 contenders, relishing his prime position.

No one knows whether the man who served as number two to popular Democratic president Barack Obama for eight years will run away with this contest -- his third White House bid in as many decades -- or fade out in the months-long test of political skill and stamina to come. But the former longtime senator and lion of the Democratic Party is gearing up for what is certain to be a titanic battle against Trump.

After a month of modest events at union halls and pizza joints in early-voting states like Iowa, Biden is counting on making a splash at a rally in Philadelphia, the largest city in must-win Pennsylvania, a state Trump snatched from Democrats in 2016.

He has made Philadelphia his campaign headquarters, in a sign of the importance he places on winning back the state for his party in 2020.

Biden will acknowledge that the country fell short of its ideals early on.

"Equality. Equity. Fairness. America didn´t live up to that promise for most of its people, for people of colour, for women," he will say.

The kickoff is near the Philadelphia art museum steps immortalized by the scrappy boxer´s run in the movie "Rocky."

Biden was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and the rally is a nod to his modest roots.

But far from being the underdog, Biden is looking to cement his status as the man to beat, the blue-collar voter whisperer who is best positioned to defeat Trump.

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