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Former US Vice President Joe Biden announces 2020 Democratic presidential run

Joe Biden has announced his 2020 Democratic presidential run, after teasing an official announcement for weeks.

The former vice president has held off on officially announcing until now, although he has been included in polls and reports about the Democratic candidates for months.

Biden said he’s running because the “core values” of the US, “our very democracy… everything that has made America, America, is at stake.”

In a video message launching his campaign, Biden opens with a reference to Charlottesville and the white supremacist march that took place there in 2018. Biden said President Donald Trump’s reaction to the event, at which one counter-protester was killed, threatened the values of the US.

Despite not officially announcing until now, strong criticism has already been levied against Biden, including allegations he inappropriately touches and kisses women and children.

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This is his third run for president, and Biden had already begun accepting campaign donations before his announcement. He plans to hold an event in Pittsburgh on Monday.

Biden is seen as the ideal candidate among the Democratic establishment, given his long history in politics and his position within the Barack Obama White House. He might not appeal to the more liberal Democratic voters who may view him as too old, white, and centrist. His centrist appeal is exemplified by reports that the late Senator John McCain’s Republican family could support his presidential bid.

The former vice president enters an already crowded pool of Democratic presidential hopefuls, however. He has been topping a number of polls in the months before his announcement, although the latest polling suggests Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is gaining on him.

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Biden has a long voting record over his years in Congress, and not all his decisions will look good in 2019. He voted in favour of invading Iraq and supported Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill, while in 1996 he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. He tried to ban encryption in 1991, and was part of the Obama administration which was criticized for clamping down on whistleblowers. He called WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a “high-tech terrorist” in 2010.

Biden has also come under fire for chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee during Anita Hill’s infamous questioning over her allegations of sexual harassment regarding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and is a staunch supporter of Israel and the Israeli lobby group AIPAC.

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