ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Seeking to build on early momentum in his 2020 presidential bid, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday (May 18) condemned "anger" within his own Democratic Party and pledged to work to unify the country in the wake of Donald Trump's presidency.
At a rally in downtown Philadelphia, Biden, as he has done throughout the beginning stages of his campaign, made Trump his central target, blasting him as "the divider-in-chief." But he also chided other Democratic presidential candidates in the field, suggesting that anger toward Trump within his party was not enough to win next year's presidential election.
His message, Biden said, was expressly aimed at Democratic, Republican and independent voters alike.
About 6,000 people attended the rally, which had, by design, the feel of a general-election event.
With his poll numbers currently swamping the rest of the Democratic field, Biden has often acted as if his current opponent is Trump and not the other 23 Democrats vying for the party's nomination.
Democratic nominating contests begin next February, giving the dynamics of the race plenty of time to shift.
But Biden, 76, has opened up a more than 20-point lead over his nearest rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, in several public opinion polls.
Biden, a U.S. senator for 30 years and a two-term vice president under Barack Obama, has argued he is best positioned to take on Trump next year.
Attendees at the event said they agreed.
"He mentioned so many times we cannot keep fighting, we have to fix things, " said Susana Vangjeli of Philadelphia.
"Fighting is not going to do it.
Fixing it, is going to do it," she said.
Biden has established his campaign headquarters in Philadelphia, illustrating the importance of Pennsylvania to Democratic hopes next year.
Trump narrowly won the state over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump will hold an event of his own on Monday in northeast Pennsylvania.