President Biden has been meeting with top advisers at the White House residence this autumn to prepare for a potential 2024 re-election campaign, Fox News has confirmed.
The meetings, which include senior White House advisers Anita Dunn, Mike Donilon and Jen O’Malley Dillon — who all held top roles in Biden’s successful 2020 presidential campaign — as well as White House chief of staff Ron Klain and first lady Jill Biden, started in September, according to the Washington Post, which was first to report the news on Wednesday morning.
The preparations for a possible presidential campaign come as Biden has yet to make any final decisions on whether he’ll seek a second term in the White House.
“I have not made that formal decision, but it’s my intention. My intention to run again. And we have time to make that decision,” the president said two weeks ago in an interview on MSNBC.
President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally for gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings at Florida Memorial University, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Miami Gardens. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Biden noted that once a formal decision is made, a “whole series of regulations kick in, and I have to treat myself as a candidate from that moment on.” And he added that the first lady supports a re-election bid, sharing that “my wife thinks that we’re doing something very important and that I shouldn’t walk away from it.”
The conversations at the White House regarding 2024 come at the same time the president has turned up the volume on his efforts to help Democrats hold onto their razor-thin House and Senate majorities in the midterm elections. Biden – who’s seen his approval ratings rebound in recent months but still remain in negative territory – has played the role of fundraiser-in-chief, raising big bucks for the Democratic Party, and has gingerly made an imprint on the campaign trail.
Sources with knowledge of the situation say that while 2024 discussions have begun, the president and his advisers are squarely focused on the midterms and making the case for Democrats.
“It’s certainly smart to begin the critical planning and do it in a way that doesn’t take attention off of what is the primary goal right now, which is to elect Democrats up and down the ballot across the country,” a Democratic strategist in Biden’s wider political orbit — who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely — told Fox News. “It makes sense to do it in kind of low-key way while the midterms are front and center.”
Pointing to the likelihood of a 2024 White House bid by former President Donald Trump, who appears to be moving closer to making a post-midterms announcement, sources say Biden’s top advisers are preparing regardless of what Trump announces. And they point out that the president remains the only candidate in either party to have ever defeated Trump in an election.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally on Oct. 8, 2022, in Minden, Nevada. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The sources add that top advisers have discussed the best practices regarding presidential re-election with alumni of former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — both of whom successfully won second terms.
Most of the early heavy 2024 lifting will be handled by the Democratic National Committee. The national party committee traditionally serves as a political arm of the president when a Democrat occupies the White House. A Democratic source confirmed to Fox News that the DNC for over a year has been preparing for a potential Biden re-election campaign by beefing up its data operation, investing in key battleground states, and beginning research on potential 2024 Republican presidential contenders.
Biden, who turns 80 later this month, has said numerous times that if he remains healthy, he intends to run for re-election. But some Democrats are not so sure, and there’s been plenty of chatter and speculation for nearly two years regarding whether the president will run in 2024. Biden made history in 2020 when he became the oldest person ever elected president. If he campaigns for re-election in 2024 and wins, Biden would be 82 at his second inaugural and 86 at the end of his second term.
While there have been calls for a generational change at the top of the Democratic Party, currently no major party figure has discussed challenging the president for the 2024 nomination should Biden seek a second term.
President Joe Biden is joined on stage by gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings at Florida Memorial University, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Miami Gardens. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
But a handful of high-profile Democrats that political pundits view as potential presidential contenders should Biden decide not to run for re-election have trekked over the past year to New Hampshire, the state that for a century has held the first primary in the White House race.
A veteran Democratic consultant noted, “There are individuals who are thinking of running should he [Biden} decide not to run, so it’s good politics… that you lend a hand, make friends, keep your relationships alive, and if the president decides not to run, you’re in a good spot. And if he decides to run, you’re still in a good spot for four years down the road.”
Brooke Singman is a Fox News Digital politics reporter. You can reach her at Brooke.Singman@Fox.com or @BrookeSingman on Twitter.