PHILADELPHIA In his first major campaign rally as a Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden on Saturday presented himself as the candidate who can unite a divided country, yet offered few specifics on how he might do that.
The former vice president repeated his previous calls for free community college and providing an option to buy into the Medicare program. He also called for a clean energy revolution, arguing it would create new jobs rather than shed them.
Following the event, supporters flocked to Biden seeking selfies. Asked from a distance within the crowd what his energy plan would look like, Biden said the text of his speech is available. He did not make time for questions from the press.
Biden also told the crowd of thousands during his 30-minute speech that he rejected an idea held among some Democrats that the angrier a candidate, the more likely to clinch the party's nomination.
Still, most of his address held at Eakins Oval across the street from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its famous "Rocky" steps focused on defeating President Donald Trump in 2020.
"If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart, to demonize the opponents and spew hatred they dont need me," Biden said. "They already have a president who does just that."
The crowd of thousands cheered with vigor. Biden is counting on such excitement to propel him in state caucuses and primaries starting next February.
More than 20 other Democrats have entered the contest.
The former longtime Delaware senator came onto the stage in Philadelphia wearing his famous Aviator sunglasses and a button-down shirt. He embraced his wife, Jill Biden, who had just spoken, while the song "Philadelphia Freedom" played in the background.
According to organizers, about 6,000 people attended the rally.
In the weeks since launching his third presidential campaign, Biden has shown he plans to make Pennsylvania voters a priority.