Biden takes his State of the Union message to 2024 battlegrounds, starting in Philly


(PHILADELPHIA) — President Joe Biden is heading to battleground Pennsylvania on Friday afternoon to build off his momentum from the State of the Union, kicking off a major ramp-up in his reelection campaign.

Biden is being joined by the first lady as he delivers remarks in the outskirts of Philadelphia — the first test as to whether he can keep up the energy and forceful rhetoric that he showed in Thursday night’s high-stakes speech.

Biden used the stage, one of his biggest before the November election, to confront Republicans and his 2024 rival while laying out his own accomplishments and what else he wants to get done while in office (and if given another four years).

While the president didn’t say “Donald Trump,” he mentioned his “predecessor” more than a dozen times. He accused Trump of bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin, trying to bury the truth of what happened on Jan. 6 and tanking a bipartisan immigration bill.

Biden will continue to tear into Trump during his speech on Friday afternoon and lay out the different visions they have for America’s future.

The Biden campaign told ABC News they chose Pennsylvania’s Delaware County for Friday’s event to reach suburban voters in a critical swing state. Trump has underperformed in the suburbs, and Biden’s team is hoping they can pick up supporters there that backed Nikki Haley in the Republican primary over the former president.

This is just one of several visits the President will be making to battleground states in the coming weeks. Over the weekend Biden will hold an event in Georgia, and next week he’ll campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan.

The travel is part of a significant build-up in campaign operations. The campaign also announced a $30 million advertising blitz and the scaling up of state-level operations, hiring hundreds of news staff, and increasing volunteer opportunities.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, the campaign’s chair, said this new phase will prepare them for a Trump rematch. The former president is all but certain to be the Republican nominee after cruising through Super Tuesday, prompting the last major GOP rival to exit the race.

“I think that really just showcases the strength that we are really positioned for this perfect moment in time, this inflection point, headed into the general election versus Trump,” O’Malley Dillion said of the new initiatives. “Trump’s bleeding cash, he’s really behind in building the infrastructure that you’d expect to be seeing of a former president.”

Biden’s fiery performance on Thursday night quelled anxieties among Democrats about his stamina and fitness, but he’ll have to keep it up over these next eight months. Polling has consistently shown his age (81) is a top concern for voters.

Addressing his age in Thursday’s address, Biden sought to flip the script by attacking Trump, who is 77, as having outdated ideas that will move the country in the wrong direction — a line he’ll likely repeat on the campaign trail.

“My fellow Americans, the issue facing our nation isn’t how old we are, it’s how old our ideas are,” he said. “Hate, anger, revenge, retribution are among the oldest of ideas. But you can’t lead America with ancient ideas that only take us back.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.