WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — In the biggest speech of his nearly 50 years in public life, Joe Biden spelled out his vision for the presidency on Thursday when he accepts the Democratic nomination to challenge Donald Trump in the November election.
Biden’s speech on the fourth and final night of the Democratic National Convention was a high point in a long political career for the former U.S. senator and vice president, who fared poorly in two previous runs for the White House in 1988 and 2008.
Biden became a U.S. senator from Delaware in 1973, and rose to become an influential chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Senate Foreign Relations committees before becoming Obama’s vice president.
Biden’s remarks concluded a nominating convention that was held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the party’s biggest names, rising stars and even prominent Republicans lining up via video to support him.
President Donald Trump will accept the Republican nomination for a second White House term at his own convention next week.
Democrats have worked to expand Biden’s support during the convention, particularly by showcasing prominent Republican supporters such as former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Ohio Governor John Kasich.
The acceptance speech was expected to give Biden his biggest audience since he was largely sidelined from the campaign trail by the coronavirus in March.
He spoke directly to camera in a mostly empty event center in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, not in front of a crowd of convention delegates, adding to the unusual nature of a convention conducted remotely through live and pre-recorded video feeds.
A close ally of Biden’s, U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, said he expected the speech to offer a unifying theme about the country and not to focus on Trump.
“He recognizes this isn’t about Donald Trump, it’s not about Joe Biden, it’s about us, and it’s about who’s going to move us forward in a way that reminds us of the best in America, not the worst,” Coons said.
Convention speakers included Biden’s 2020 primary rival, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, along with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, both of whom were on Biden’s short list of possible running mates.
Trump has campaigned cross-country to offer counter-programming to the Democrats, a break with tradition in which candidates limit their activities during their opponents’ conventions.
The president will hold a campaign event on Thursday near Biden’s birthplace of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Reuters contributed to this report.