PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Presidential hopeful Joe Biden kicked off his campaign Saturday, preaching unity in Philadelphia while also taking major jabs at President Donald Trump. Biden is making Pennsylvania a focal point of his 2020 presidential campaign and will establish his headquarters in Philadelphia.
The former vice president called for democrats to unite under him in his 2020 campaign at Eakins Oval on Saturday while calling for the end of demonizing politics all while taking several shots at Trump.
"If the American people want the president to add to our division," Biden said, "lead with a clinched fist, a closed hand, to demonize your opponent, to spew hatred, they don't need me, they've got President Donald Trump."
Biden kept punching when addressing the economy, saying 10 years of growth is not due to President Trump, who he described as the demonizer-in-chief, but the success of the Obama administration.
"Just like he inherited everything in his life," Biden said, "and just like everything else he's been given in his life, he's in the process of squandering that as well."
Biden said he aims to bridge the gap between both democrats and republicans in a climate he called angry and unproductive.
"Comprise itself is not a dirty word," Biden said. "Consensus is not a weakness. It's how our founders down the road thought we would govern."
Many in attendance, both from the Philadelphia area and from afar, bought into the message.
"I think it's a message that's unifying, that's hopeful and also pragmatic," Mike Beland, of New Hampshire, said.
"He wouldn't put his name in the hat if he isn't the most qualified," Rosie Gorman, of Springfield, Delaware County, said. "I think he's the most qualified. He's been a career politician and he knows how to get things done."
If there was one thing Biden did want people to take out of Saturday's event, it's this.
"The single most important thing to accomplish is to defeat Donald Trump," Biden said.
There were some fireworks, though, when a protester disrupted the rally.
But Biden silenced the booing crowd and the man was quickly escorted out.
"Let him go, that's not how we do it. Other campaigns do it this way," Biden said, "we don't do it this way. You will not hear me speak ill of another democrat."
As it stands now, there are 24 democrats vying for the presidential nomination.
And in the latest poll, Biden leads his closest competitor by double digits.
CBS3's Dan Koob reports.
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