Biden launches campaign at local campus

by Tom Beck
Posted 1/9/24

President Joe Biden kicked off his 2024 campaign at Blue Bell’s Montgomery County Community College on Friday.

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Biden launches campaign at local campus


President Joe Biden kicked off his 2024 campaign at Blue Bell’s Montgomery County Community College on Friday, part of an itinerary that included a stop at historic Valley Forge National Historical Park about half an hour away.

At MCCC, which is located about 10 miles northwest of Chestnut Hill, the president was greeted by a small group of pro-Palestinian protesters who voiced their opposition to his administration’s handling of Israel’s war with Hamas along with the hundreds of guests who were invited to hear him speak inside the school’s Science Center. The president’s wife, Jill Biden, gave the school’s commencement speech in 2011. She graduated from nearby Upper Moreland High School in 1969.

Biden’s administration said he stopped at Valley Forge to highlight his theme that the nation is fighting for democracy. The timing of his speech was significant, as it was held a day before the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Pennsylvania is also likely to be a key battleground state in the upcoming election. 

Most of the event’s attendees were supporters, like William Kenney of Northeast Philadelphia, who said he thinks the president has done “a great job” of presenting plans that benefit the country both economically and socially.

“We’re very lucky in this region that the president is not a stranger to the area,” he said. “He’s doing his best to bring people together.”

Darron McKinney, senior pastor at Bright Hope Baptist Church in the Yorktown neighborhood of North Philadelphia who also traveled to the campus to see the president speak told the Local he was “hopeful” and “optimistic” that Biden would fare well in the 2024 election. 

While some see Biden, who would be 86 years old at the end of his second term, as too old to be President of the United States, McKinney said he sees him as “seasoned.”

“I’m fine with his age,” McKinney said. “I think he is still ripe and strong enough.”

Lucas Hayes disagreed. 

“From what I've seen I don't think he's capable of serving another term as the president,” said Hayes, who isn’t yet old enough to vote. “Even if people like his Democratic views, I’m not sure if they’ll vote for him.”

Several other attendees who spoke with the Local were also less optimistic about Biden’s chances of winning in November.

“He’s in a lose-lose situation right now,” said Turner Coyne, motioning to the group of pro-Palestinian protesters lined up in front of the building. “I assume most of them have voted for them in the past, and now they seem to be pretty against him.”

Coyne said liberal backlash to Biden’s funding of the Israeli government during its war with Hamas, combined with opposition from former President Donald Trump and Republicans, is making it feel as if “everyone seems to be against him.”

Still, many were excited to see the president in person.

“Regardless of where you stand on the issues, it’s a historical day,” said Hayes’ older brother, Dan. “I just want to come see our president and see what he has to say.”

During his speech, Biden emphasized the importance of democracy and alluded to the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, which marked one of the darkest periods of the Revolutionary War for George Washington's Continental Army.

He framed the upcoming election as a critical moment for the preservation of democratic values and highlighted what he described as the contrast between his administration and the actions and rhetoric of former President Trump, particularly concerning the Capitol riot. He accused Trump of bringing a mob to Capitol Hill and failing to stop the violence, labeling it an "insurrection" and one of the worst derelictions of duty in American history.