Biden expected to announce campaign stops in South Carolina soon

Biden expected to announce campaign stops in South Carolina soon
Joe Biden focused on character as a reason for him to join the presidential race.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/Gray News/AP) - Former Vice President Joe Biden, who entered the Democratic race for the White House this week, is expected to announce a visit to the Palmetto State.

Biden’s campaign will likely announce plans for a campaign stop to South Carolina in the coming days. That visit would be his first since he announced his candidacy.

Early on, CBS News reported, he is expected to put special emphasis on South Carolina, where he enjoys strong support from longtime Democratic leaders including House Majority Whip James Clyburn.

Biden, 76, announced his candidacy Thursday with a YouTube campaign video titled “America is an Idea,” calling out what he characterized as President Donald Trump’s weak response to white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, VA, in 2017 that cost a young woman her life.

The former vice president said we’re in a “battle for the soul of this nation.”

“If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation,” Biden said. “Who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

Trump responded to Biden’s announcement with a tweet welcoming him to the race by way of customary insults and a new nickname: “Sleepy Joe.”

“It will be nasty - you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas. But if you make it, I will see you at the Starting Gate!” Trump tweeted.

Biden is reporting he raised $6.3 million in the first day of his campaign, the most of any of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in the first 24 hours after their announcements.

In a news release Friday, Biden's campaign says he raised the money from nearly 97,000 individuals across all 50 states, including 65,000 who weren't solicited by email.

Biden edged former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s first-day total of $6.1 million and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ sum of slightly less than $6 million.

A top aide to Joe Biden said the former vice president spoke with Anita Hill, whose treatment during Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearing has been a source of criticism for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

In a text message Thursday to The Associated Press, Biden's deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield says, "They had a private discussion where he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country."

Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, when Hill came forward with allegations that Thomas had sexually harassed her. Biden has said he wishes he could have avoided what he called questioning that was “hostile and insulting.”

It will be Biden’s third presidential campaign

Biden is considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2020, despite joining the race later than others.

Biden dismissed a reporter’s question about why he wasn’t endorsed for 2020 by former President Barack Obama, who issued a statement calling his choice of Biden as a running mate in 2008 “one of the best decisions” he’s ever made.

Biden arrived in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday to a crowd of reporters anxious to talk to him after he announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

At a train station en route to Philadelphia, Biden said he "asked President Obama not to endorse" and "Whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merit."

Asked what separates him from the rest of the massive Democratic field, Biden said, “That will be for the Democrats to decide.”

Biden last visited the Lowcountry on April 16 when he was one of three speakers who eulogized the late Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings at The Citadel. In speaking of Hollings, with whom he sat side by side in the Senate for more than 30 years, Biden said Hollings epitomized South Carolina and the state’s motto, “While I breathe, I hope.”

“I got to speak to Fritz just shortly before he died. He still hoped, wanted to know what the colleagues were doing up in Washington,” Biden said. “The fact of the matter is that it was Fritz, he was South Carolina. With every breath, he brought hope to so many in this state and around the country. What set him apart was not only his big ideas, but he knew how to get things done.”

He also visited Charleston back in October during a campaign stop for then-gubernatorial candidate James Smith. Biden said he had been coming to South Carolina, which he called “a great state” for a long time.

Copyright 2019 WCSC and Gray News. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.