All three networks led Thursday morning with former Vice President Joe Biden’s long-awaited announcement that he would run for president in 2020. ABC’s Good Morning America focused heavily on Biden’s appeal to Democrats’ “patriotism” and “American values,” with correspondent Terry Moran gushing about Biden taking back this “nationalism” message for “progressives.”
Earlier this week, anchor George Stephanopoulos happily called Democrats the party of “patriots,” during an interview with 2020 Dem Seth Moulton. Senior national correspondent Terry Moran continued harping that message in his report on Biden, calling the announcement, a “bold appeal to bedrock American values.” Moran touted the Democrat fear-mongering about “what’s at stake” if President Trump wins again:
He jumped into the 2020 race with a bold appeal to bedrock American values...Joe Biden jumping into the 2020 race for President with a stark and stunning video announcement. Images of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville framing his vision of what's at stake in this election.
“And the former Vice President is sounding a theme of progressive patriotism pledging a fight on first principles,” Moran touted again, playing clips from Biden’s announcement condemning Trump’s comments on the violence in Charlottesville. George Stephanopoulos couldn’t get enough, gushing, “But Terry what a choice by the former Vice President, the first word in the video is Charlottesville taking on President Trump directly!”
Moran concluded his report again arguing that the message of patriotism and nationalism was something Democrats like Biden were going to claim from Trump:
This is a message that unites all Democrats and it's an important message for Democrats. Donald Trump injected a new kind of nationalism into American politics, some would call it a reactionary nationalism, make America great again. Biden is trying to frame a Progressive nationalism that sometimes Democrats have been reluctant to make that kind of argument. He is going full bore on it.
ABC spent just under 30 seconds talking about his recent controversy over women who accused him of inappropriate touching, downplaying it as simply his “old school style." NBC’s Today show spent time on that as well as hitting Biden from the left, for not being hard enough on Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearing and for voting for the Iraq War. CBS This Morning spent even less time on Biden’s problems, only briefly highlighting his age, and potentially running behind other Democrats in fundraising.
Read the full transcript from Good Morning America below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning, the announcement he made it official just moments ago, kicking off that presidential campaign. I want to go straight to our senior national correspondent Terry Moran, Good morning, Terry.
TERRY MORAN: Good morning, George. Joe Biden spent 36 years in the United States Senate in this building but he spent a lot of time thinking about running for President. He's run twice before and today he jumped into the 2020 race with a bold appeal to bedrock American values.
Joe Biden jumping into the 2020 race for President with a stark and stunning video announcement. Images of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville framing his vision of what's at stake.
BIDEN: We're in a battle for the soul of this nation. The core values of this nation are standing in the world. Our very democracy. Everything that has made America America is at stake. That's why today I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.
MORAN: Biden is taking direct aim at President Trump.
BIDEN: But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.
MORAN: And the former Vice President is sounding a theme of progressive patriotism pledging a fight on first principles.
BIDEN: We can't forget what happened in Charlottesville. Even more important, we have to remember who we are. This is America.
MORAN: This morning's announcement coming after months of speculation as Biden's campaign in waiting was clearly ramping up, but he’s been thinking about it for decades. In 2008 his late son Beau Biden battled brain cancer and he urged his father to run so Biden is now fulfilling his son's wish as he enters a crowded and diverse field. He is the 20th democratic hopeful.
And while he is a deeply familiar face to Americans he's been in politics for nearly half a century, under President Obama dubbed affectionately, Uncle Joe affectionately, his old school up close and personal political style could be a liability. Several women came forward this year describing unwelcome physical contact from Biden like touching and kissing. They didn't accuse him of sexual harassment but they say it made them feel unequal. Biden promised to change with the times and change his style.
BIDEN: The boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset and I get it. I will be more mindful and respectful of people's personal space.
MORAN: So Joe Biden will pair his message of kind of fighting progressive populism with a rebuilding the middle class message, one of his first events will be at a local teamsters union hall in Pittsburgh. That lunch pail labor union politics he's championed so long.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Real focus on taking back Pennsylvania. But Terry what a choice by the former Vice President, the first word in the video is Charlottesville taking on President Trump directly and the comments that President Trump made coming out of Charlottesville. Want to show a little bit more of the video right now.
BIDEN: Some very fine people on both sides, very fine people on both sides? Those words, the President of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, most of the other democratic candidates have had to spend more time speaking about themselves. As you pointed out, Joe Biden is so familiar he can go straight to the general election in some ways!
MORAN: That's it exactly. This is a message that unites all Democrats and it's an important message for Democrats. Donald Trump injected a new kind of nationalism into American politics, some would call it a reactionary nationalism, make America great again. Biden is trying to frame a Progressive nationalism that sometimes Democrats have been reluctant to make that kind of argument. He is going full bore on it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sure is. Terry, thanks very much. Boy, a brand-new race this morning.
CECILIA VEGA: A very crowded race and the RNC is already weighing in. It’ll be interesting to see if he can catch up with the fund-raising that’s already been out there. A lot of people already have a lot of money.