President Biden kicks off his reelection tour

The White House is stepping up its efforts to reach voters in key states.
Posted at 9:05 PM, Apr 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-07 21:05:48-04

The Biden administration kicked off its nationwide "Investing in America" tour this past week. From President Biden traveling to Minnesota to tout his economic agenda Monday to the Vice President traveling to Georgia and promoting clean energy jobs, almost every administration official from the Education Secretary to Transportation got in on the 20-state tour.  

The tour is part of the White House stepping up its efforts to reach voters in key states, and while many of these events may have the feel of a political campaign, President Biden has yet to officially announce his campaign for reelection. 

Many thought it would come soon after his State of the Union — instead, the wait continues. 

"President Biden is doing what he does best, which is be president," Eric Schultz, a democratic strategist and former Obama White House Deputy Press Secretary told Scripps. "He's out there barnstorming the country, talking about what he's delivered on behalf of the American people, creating new jobs, raising wages, lowering gas prices, making costs more affordable."

From the moment President Biden took office, he faced questions regarding whether he would run for a second term. Now two years in, the 80-year-old has left little doubt about his plans to seek reelection, saying in an interview earlier this year,"My intention has been from the beginning to run." 

Even as the president's timetable remains unknown, the Republican presidential field has grown to include former president Trump, Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson. 

"The calculus is a little bit different for candidates who are challenging a sitting president versus presidents themselves. So candidates who are running for office may announce very early, because they want to try to scare off other potential challengers or they want to make sure that they can gobble up all the money from donors," Danny Hayes, a professor of political science at George Washington University explained.

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For the sitting president, he added, "The calculus is different in that most times, the President's party is ready to re-nominate him for president. And I think that's generally what's happening this year. Biden hasn't yet announced. But that's pretty common for sitting presidents."

Examining contemporary history, President Trump announced his reelection for 2020 campaign on June 18, 2019; President Obama made it official for his 2012 campaign on April 4, 2011 via a campaign video, while George W. Bush made his 2004 reelection campaign official on May 16, 2003 to no fanfare, quietly filing with the Federal Election Commission. 

"I think [Biden] is right on time. I think that this is a good moment for him to sort of take stock of what they've accomplished over the past two plus years," Schultz explained. 

George H.W. Bush had one of the earliest re-election announcements, coming Feb 12, 1992, while Ronald Reagan waited until the year of reelection on Jan 29, 1984.

So far there has not been an indication that an official announcement is coming, and strategists say, some of that could be attributed to current political headlines. 

Former president Trump's indictment, in particular, "has sucked up a lot of the political oxygen," Hayes explained. 

The White House is also contending with an approval rating stuck in the low 40s and concerns over inflation and the economy, which remain top concerns for voters. 

Schultz believes the optics do work to the President's benefit. 

"You couldn't have scripted this any better if you were in the White House. You've got Joe Biden out there being president, delivering for the American people versus his predecessor who was just indicted," he said. "I think if I was in this White House, I would be loving this contrast."