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Biden, on Third Try, Aims for Summit of US Political Life

In this image from video, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden smiles after the roll call vote during the second night of the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 18, 2020.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat set to run against President Donald Trump in the November 3 national election, is making his third run for the White House but for the first time stands as his party’s nominee.

If he wins and is inaugurated in January 2021, Biden will become the country’s 46th chief executive. By then, he would be 78, the oldest U.S. president ever elected, surpassing Donald Trump, who was 70 when he entered the White House.

Biden, for 36 years a senator and for eight President Barack Obama’s second in command, defeated two dozen other Democrats for the nomination.

He campaigned as a reliably left-of-center politician embracing expanded health care benefits for Americans but not a universal government-paid plan that more progressive Democrats have called for. He stands for enhanced environmental programs and a re-engagement with traditional American allies overseas whom Trump has alienated at times.

Throughout months of campaigning, Biden has said he wants to put an end to Trump’s “aberrant” administration.

Call for dignity

“We’re in a battle for the soul of America,” Biden says on his campaign website. “It’s time to remember who we are. We’re Americans: tough, resilient, but always full of hope. It’s time to treat each other with dignity. Build a middle class that works for everybody. Fight back against the incredible abuses of power we’re seeing.

“It’s time to dig deep and remember that our best days still lie ahead,” he says.

Biden has characterized Trump as an unfit leader of the free world, saying, “It’s time for respected leadership on the world stage — and dignified leadership at home.”

If elected, Biden almost certainly would rejoin several international accords Trump withdrew from, such as the Paris climate pact and the Iran nuclear deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear weapons development.

Months ago, Biden promised to pick a woman as his vice presidential running mate, and he followed through with the selection of California Senator Kamala Harris, who is the first Black woman and South Asian American on a major party U.S. national ticket and only the fourth woman ever selected.

The Trump campaign has pilloried Biden’s choice of Harris, running ads claiming, “Now that Kamala Harris is on the ticket, the radical leftist takeover of Joe Biden is now complete.”

Close to home

Amid a historic coronavirus pandemic that has swept through the U.S., Biden’s campaign up to now has been unlike any other U.S. run for the presidency in modern times. He has largely waged his presidential bid from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, with occasional forays to nearby Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for speeches and policy discussions with small groups of people.

On the advice of medical experts, he has shunned traditional large political rallies for fear of catching or helping to spread the coronavirus if large crowds gathered to hear him speak. Similarly, the four-day Democratic National Convention has been conducted virtually, without the usual packed arena filled with thousands of cheering supporters.

Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. is likely to be one focus of the contest with Biden over the next 2½ months before the election.

Trump for much of early 2020 belittled the importance of the coronavirus and, despite the advice of medical experts for Americans to wear face masks, said it was not for him, although he occasionally has worn one.

More recently, when assessing the world-leading death toll in the U.S. that has reached more than 174,000 people, Trump said, “It is what it is.”

Biden has ridiculed Trump’s coronavirus performance, noting that he claimed to be a “wartime president” in the fight against the infectious disease. But Biden said Trump had "raised the white flag” of surrender against the coronavirus.

Biden and Trump are slated to debate three times before Election Day, starting in late September.

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