Joe Biden set to launch bid for Democrat nomination

Former US vice president Joe Biden speaks during the kick off his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Democrat Joe Biden aimed his frontrunner campaign directly at Donald Trump on Saturday, attacking him as the "divider-in-chief" and insisting the nation's top priority is denying the USA president reelection in 2020.

At a boisterous rally in Philadelphia, the former vice-president urged voters to end the mean-spirited pettiness and partisan squabbles that have left Americans angry and dispirited in recent years.

"This nation needs to come together", he said at the rally attended by almost 6,000 people.

"Our president is the divider-in-chief", he added, accusing Trump of demonizing opponents and using scapegoats to fuel animosity.

President Donald Trump, facing a potentially hard path to winning a second term in November 2020, plans an official rollout to his re-election campaign in mid-June, sources said on Monday.

"Let's stop fighting and start fixing", he said.

"Like iron filings to a magnet, both will be drawn in the coming days to Pennsylvania, which was key to Trump's victory in 2016 and would be central to nearly any scenario for a Democratic victory in the 2020 presidential campaign", reports the Los Angeles Times.

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.

Before Sanders took aim at Biden's policy - or lack thereof - he chose to smear President Trump as a "liar", "dangerous", "sexist", and "racist".

"Maybe he's a little bit establishment, but he was always Joe from Scranton", Mickey Kirzecky, a health care consultant at the rally, told AFP. "But I do know that that direction has to transpire for this country to get going and be better off than what it is now".

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While opinion polls show him with a substantial lead, other candidates have begun targetting him.

However, before the Times brought Sanders' past into the spotlight, Biden had been pulling ahead of the progressive senator in several polls.

No one else is in double digits.

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 hold his first campaign rally in Eakin's Oval near the famous "Rocky steps" of the Philadelphia Art Museum Saturday afternoon.

The mid-June is the four-year anniversary of his first run. "Beat Trump. Beat Trump".

"Some of the really smart folks say Democrats don't want to hear about unity", he said. However, Biden enjoys a strong lead - especially among African Americans - because he was Obama's vice president.

In doing so he took another swipe at the current Republican president, who has routinely boasted about the well-performing USA economy.

Typically, presidents with an economy this vibrant would be strong bets for re-election. "When we ask respondents to identify the five candidates they're most excited about, 54 percent say Warren, followed by Biden (53 percent), then Harris (53 percent), Sanders (49 percent), and Buttigieg (46 percent)". Biden's centrist approach may help him win over independents, but it threatens to alienate liberals who favor a more aggressive approach in policy and personality to counter Trump's turbulent presidency.

"President O! China wants Sleepy Joe BADLY!" he said.

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