Biden, a muted start to the campaign

Tuxedo jokes, very institutional appointments, and a lot of blanks in the agenda

Biden, a muted start to the campaign

Tuxedo jokes, very institutional appointments, and a lot of blanks in the agenda. Officially a candidate for re-election for a week, Joe Biden is discreet for the moment, where his great rival Donald Trump is plowing the field.

Tuesday, it was only 2:22 p.m. local time when the White House announced a "lid", that is to say the end of the official program of the American president, who had not shown himself all day anyway.

Since he asked Americans to re-elect him in 2024, in a video message broadcast on April 25, the 80-year-old Democrat has certainly not remained inactive.

He received the Presidents of South Korea and the Philippines, he celebrated Eid al-Fitr with representatives of the Muslim community, he praised his policy in favor of small and medium-sized businesses, he took part in a meeting - over the phone - with the Democratic Party.

But this is a very institutional program, in known territory, far from the more alert image that Joe Biden, 80, for example wanted to project on Saturday during the gala dinner for White House correspondents, the social event of the year in Washington.

The Democrat delighted his fans by donning his favorite sunglasses and jokingly describing himself as "Dark Brandon" - a kind of laser-eyed virtual alias. This has been a popular "meme" for a few months in the Democratic camp.

In the battle of the internet, Donald Trump is obviously not left out, he who sells digital trading cards bearing his image, one of which shows him as a muscular superhero with eyes shooting lightning.

But the Republican is also leading a grassroots campaign.

He shows himself in contact with voters in strategic states, he distributes his red caps and stops at the local fast food restaurant.

So far this strategy seems to be working for him, at least in view of the Republican primary: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, presented as a potential rival, is struggling to break through and Donald Trump, despite his recent and spectacular indictment, dominates the conservative camp.

Faced with this "fast food strategy" of his predecessor, will Joe Biden stick to a "campaign of the rose garden", the elegant garden of the White House where he often comes to boast about his record in front of hand-picked guests?

His spokeswoman said Wednesday that for the moment, she had no land relocation to announce in the coming days.

Joe Biden, who is seeking re-election to "finish the job", no doubt believes that there is no hurry. It has the advantage of the incumbent: in the United States, a president who represents himself, with already all the attributes of supreme power, is most often re-elected.

As for the polls, which are not very encouraging, the Democrat pretends not to care. At the gala dinner on Saturday, he joked: "This dinner party is one of two great traditions in Washington. The other is to underestimate me and Kamala" Harris, the vice president and co- list.

His campaign manager will not be operational until mid-May, according to the American press, which reports that Camp Biden's big fundraising offensive is still to come - a strategic aspect if ever there was one, since in all likelihood this race in the presidential election will once again beat all spending records.

For the 2020 election, Joe Biden had led a deliberately discreet campaign, highlighting the precautions in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, made up of videos and "drive-in" rallies, with supporters staying in their cars. .

He can't afford to replicate it identically this time. A program deemed too light would only fuel speculation and criticism about what remains his greatest handicap in the eyes of voters: his age.

03/05/2023 21:46:08 -         Washington (AFP) -         © 2023 AFP