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Joe Biden Brings ’24 Pitch To South Carolina

The President of the United States (US), Joe Biden on Monday took his pitch for re-election to South Carolina, where Black voters helped propel him to the presidency, on Monday in a visit aimed at shoring up a critical constituency whose support has waned since he took office.

Biden’s trip, to the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where an admitted white supremacist gunned down nine Black parishioners in 2015, comes as his campaign sharpens its attacks on Donald Trump, the former president who is the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination.

On Friday, Biden portrayed Trump as a threat to democracy in a speech marking the third anniversary of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters hoping to overturn the Republican’s 2020 election loss.

Recent polls have shown Trump beating Biden in swing states that will determine who wins the White House this year, and a poll in December showed a rematch would be close.

Biden’s trip comes as some Democrats have raised questions about his re-election strategy in recent months. Some donors have been eager to hear Biden be more candid, or more aggressively target Trump rather than focus on the economy.

Representative James Clyburn, a Democrat whose endorsement of Biden helped him win South Carolina in the 2020 primary, said on Sunday he was concerned about Biden’s standing with Black voters and frustrated that Biden’s record had not resonated.

“I have told him what my concerns are,” Clyburn told CNN, referring to a meeting with the president. “I have no problem with the Biden administration and what it has done. My problem is that we have not been able to break through that MAGA wall in order to get to people exactly what this president has done.”

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MAGA refers to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. Polls show support for Biden by Black voters has softened.

Former President Barack Obama, who is concerned about Trump’s potential to win in 2024, discussed the campaign over lunch with Biden before the Christmas holiday, comparing his 2012 re-election apparatus with Biden’s, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Biden has kept his long-serving senior advisers at the White House, while Obama dispatched two to his Chicago-based campaign headquarters. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that Obama has told allies that Biden’s campaign needs to have the power to make decisions without White House clearance.

Obama won re-election in 2012 with 332 electoral votes compared to Republican Mitt Romney, who captured 206 electoral votes. Each state has an allotted number of electoral votes; a candidate must win 270 to prevail.

Biden’s trip comes as Democrats have shifted their primary calendar to put South Carolina first, leap-frogging Iowa’s caucus and New Hampshire’s traditional first-in-the-country primary vote.

South Carolina has not backed a Democrat for president since 1976, but Democrats believe the state’s diverse population better reflects the party’s voters.

The campaign is investing earlier than ever to reach voters of color, rather than parachuting in closer to Election Day simply to drive turnout, one campaign adviser.

Biden’s visit to South Carolina follows a stop there on Saturday by Vice President Kamala Harris, who urged an audience of mostly Black women church leaders, to “roll up” sleeves ahead of the election. Harris is the first Black Asian woman to serve as U.S. vice president.

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