Why Biden world cares — a lot — about when he announces his reelection

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Why Biden world cares — a lot — about when he announces his reelection

While the political world waits on a public decision, few outside Washington are clamoring for it.

President Joe Biden walks across the South Lawn of the White House.

President Joe Biden’s notorious dithering has again been put on vivid display around the exhaustive questions about the timing of his reelection announcement. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo


04/23/2023 07:00 AM EDT

The time may finally come this week for President Joe Biden.

Or, maybe it won’t.

Biden’s notorious dithering has again been put on vivid display around the exhaustive questions about the timing of his reelection announcement. But it’s not just the president who sees the pluses and minuses of launching a full campaign roughly 18 months out from the November presidential election. Inside the White House, and even among his tight-knit circle, there’s been disagreement over when to formally commence.

One camp argues, essentially, why push? Nobody of note in the party is going to challenge Biden and he can appear above the fray if he just keeps being … president. They point to the images of his daring voyage into Kyiv, Ukraine. More recently, Biden was greeted like a hero in his motherland of Ireland. Some around the president say little he does as a candidate over the next couple months is likely to top the priceless, even emotional, optics. Donors are getting restless — but really, when are they not?

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“What matters is this: Biden is going to run and he’s going to win. The exact date he ‘officially’ announces is utterly meaningless,” said Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.).

Amid all the breathlessness, several Democrats outside the White House told POLITICO they are fine with him waiting until late summer or even the fall. They point to the chaotic Republican primary and cable TV chyron-dominating legal morass swirling around former President Donald Trump as reasons for Biden to keep his powder dry. Some noted the awkwardness of his possible relaunch video Tuesday, the first day of a Manhattan trial over allegations Trump raped a woman decades ago. Which one, they ask facetiously, is the story that will get more eyeballs?


Meanwhile, other potential Republican candidates — like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence — may not make their own announcements for weeks or months yet. Biden’s schedule next week, which includes a state dinner for the president of South Korea and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, also doesn’t lend itself to an obvious run of political momentum. And a potentially messy fight over the debt ceiling this summer could further drag down Biden’s poll numbers.

Now, as he spends the weekend at Camp David, the political world is again waiting on whether the announcement indeed comes Tuesday, the four-year anniversary of his 2020 announcement. Few outside Washington are clamoring for it. Poll after poll shows Democrats’ mixed appetite for another run, even as a large majority of the party approves of the job he’s doing.

On a macro level, little will change if Biden puts out the video announcing his bid next week — and then begins bombarding supporters with digital overtures for contributions. Indeed, much of the impetus for doing so amounts to housekeeping.

Along with raising money, Biden’s aides will begin the process in earnest to build out a formal operation. There will be one-off events. He’ll continue to travel for fundraisers. His aides don’t anticipate he’ll mount any kind of sustained political campaign so early in the process.

What the launch could do is provide some in Biden world and the broader party comfort just to get the vacillation over with.

“It’s just good for the party to finally be definitive about it,” said Democratic strategist Mark Longabaugh. “It just brings clarity to your mission. Now we know we’re running. Now we can hire a campaign manager. Now we can get the office in Wilmington. Now we can start to move. And I just think that will be very good for Biden and the party.”

Some in Biden’s 

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