With an eye towards attracting younger votes, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is putting portions of the presumptive Democratic nominee’s speech last week on the death of George Floyd and the bigger issue of racial injustice into a new digital ad that it will run in key general election battleground states.
“The history of this nation teaches us that in some of our darkest moments of despair, we’ve made some of our greatest progress,” the former vice president says in the spot. “The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments followed the Civil War, the greatest economic growth in world history grew out of the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Act of 1954 and the Voting Rights Act of ’65 came in the track of Bull Conner’s vicious dogs.”
And Biden emphasizes that in order to produce results, “it’s going to take more than talk. We’ve had talk before. We’ve had protests before. We’ve got to now vow to make this at least an era of action and reverse the systemic racism with long-overdue concrete changes.”
The 46-year-old Floyd – who was black — died after a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on the handcuffed Floyd’s throat for nearly nine minutes. The now-fired officer — Derek Chauvin – has been charged with second-degree murder and had his first court appearance on Monday.
Floyd’s death and the resulting peaceful protests — as well as violent clashes and rioting in cities across the country — quickly pushed longstanding concerns over police brutality against minorities and the broader issue of the country’s history of systemic racism firmly back into the national spotlight.
Biden’s speech last week – which he delivered at city hall in Philadelphia – was carried live by the major national cable news networks.
The former vice president’s campaign says the new spot will run statewide on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The campaign wouldn’t reveal the ad-buy behind the spots.
The spot includes a portion of Biden’s speech where he indirectly jabs at President Trump as he emphasizes that the presidency is about “the duty to care, to care for all of us, not just those who vote for us, but all of us. Not just our donors, but all of us.”
While Biden has repeatedly sympathized with the protesters and their goals, including pushing for police reforms and wider efforts to end systemic racism, the president and his reelection campaign have focused more on highlighting Trump’s law-and-order approach to the unrest.
A new Washington Post/George Mason University national poll released on Tuesday indicates that large majorities support the protests sparked by Floyd’s death – and that the president receives negative marks for his handling of the demonstrations.
The ad’s release comes one day after Biden traveled to Texas meet with Floyd’s family and on the same day that Floyd’s funeral is being held.
The Biden campaign noted that the new digital spot will “target a diverse range of young Americans — a key constituency we are focused on turning out in November.”
And the campaign spotlighted that it’s “continuing to ramp up its efforts to engage young Americans ahead of November.”
The campaign has pumped up its online ad spending in recent weeks, with more than $5 million dollars spent on Facebook ads this week alone.
Senior Biden campaign officials – in a call with political reporters last month – emphasized that appealing to younger and more diverse voters was a top priority going forward. The 77-year old former vice president struggled to resonate with such voters during the race for Democratic presidential nomination.
Fox News’ Madeleine Rivera and Allie Raffa contributed to this report.