Vice President Joe Biden didn't make it to the first Democratic presidential debate, but he was there in spirit — or at least in image — thanks to a new ad from an organization trying to "draft" him into the presidential debate.
Draft Biden 2016 is running an ad on CNN, the cable network hosting the debate, that focuses on Biden's appeal to working families and his service in President Barack Obama's administration. It's a lot better than the group's first ad, which was pulled after criticism that its emphasis on the deaths of Biden's first wife and two of his children was in poor taste. Biden himself was reportedly upset about the content.
This one delves into Biden's personal story, too, but it uses the tale of his father leaving town in pursuit of work as a means of binding Biden with working families. The ad opens with a shot of a set of stairs as audio of Biden's speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention plays in the background. In it, Biden tells the story of his father coming up the stairs one night to tell his son that he was moving to Wilmington, Delaware, for a job and that he would send for the family later.
"For the rest of our lives — my sister and my brothers — for the rest of our life, my dad never failed to remind us that a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity," Biden said to applause. "It’s about respect. It’s about your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, 'honey, it’s going to be okay,' and mean it and know it’s true."
The ad uses a series of still images, transitioning from the stairs to Biden and Obama walking together, then moving on to Americans in their homes and Biden meeting with union members, kitchen workers, and children. It then smoothly splices further down in Biden's 2012 speech, as he says "You never quit on America, and you deserve a president who will never quit on you!"
The ad closes with a shot of Biden and his wife, Jill, and then the words "Run, Joe" on the screen.
The two themes of the ad are clear: Biden would run as the heir to the Obama legacy, and he would appeal to working-class voters.
It was scheduled to run on CNN before the debate and on Wednesday for a cost of $250,000, according to a Draft Biden official. Biden has not yet announced whether he will seek the presidency, but the Draft Biden group has begun to put an operation in place to support him if he does.